Eco-Friendly Boating: How to Go Green on the Water

Those who love to boat enjoy the serene nature of our lakes and waterways. However, many boaters don’t stop to think about how their boating can affect this fragile ecosystem. Aquatic life such as sea birds, shellfish, and fish require the proper nutrients and clean water to survive, and many boaters unknowingly cause harm to the very aspects of nature they love.

It’s estimated that 30% of fuel and oil used in boats actually ends up in the water. In fact, the hydrocarbon and oil polluting North American waters from boaters is more than 15 times that of the Exxon Valdez oil spill! Though these are sobering statistics, it’s important to know that you can reduce your negative impact with a few simple tips.

Wash in a water-friendly way

Water enthusiasts love to keep their pontoon boats looking great, but washing can actually cause water pollution. Make sure you use non-toxic cleaning products that are free of phosphates and other chemical that are toxic to the ecosystem. Try a natural cleaner like vinegar that works just as well and is safe for the environment. You should also wash above the water surface area only and use a sponge to gently remove dirt and growth instead of scrubbing as this can release clouds of heavy metals.

Report leaks or spills

You should always be careful when filling fuel or oil tanks to reduce the chance of spilling. However, if you do happen to experience a spill or leak, it’s vital that you report it immediately—even if you aren’t the one who was responsible. The Environmental Protection Agency requires you to report spills and leaks and you can do so by calling the National Response Center, which is staffed 24 hours a day.

Stop the spread of invasive species

Non-native plants and animals that enter new areas can easily spread and cause untold damage to the habitats of those that are native to the area. Many of these species attach themselves to boat props, hulls, and motors and can also be carried in bilge or ballast water. If you take your boat from one recreational area to another, you can unknowingly transport these dangerous intruders.

Those who enjoy spending time on the water have an obligation to keep it safe and clean. By using the proper cleaning techniques, reporting any spills or leaks, and preventing invasive species from spreading, you can be a responsible boater and ensure our nation’s lakes and waterways will stay enjoyable for years to come. If you would like to talk with a professional about buying your own pontoon boat, please visit our website.