With Earth Day 2018 quickly approaching, it’s important to remind ourselves as boaters to remain environmentally-aware. Our boats spend hours upon hours in the water (which makes up about 71% of the Earth’s surface), making it exceedingly important to choose eco-friendly options when they are available.
A few small changes on your boat can go a long way for the environment and doesn't have to be expensive. Follow along this guide to help lead you toward a greener boat.
ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SOURCES
Using alternative energy sources is a great way to stay sustainable, whether it be with your car, home or boat. We’ve all heard of electric cars or solar energy panels for your home, and although this may surprise you, there are similar options for your boat. Some include wind generators, solar panels, water generators, or a combination of each.
We all know boats require a ton of maintenance and cleaning should be near the top of any maintenance checklist. Many of the cleaning products you are currently using throughout the year have greener versions available. Look for keywords like non-toxic or water-based when purchasing these products. Some eco-friendly options are Thetford Marine Boat Wash, Concrobium XT Eco-Wash, Meguiar’s Mirror Glaze Boat Gel Wash, and Shurhold’s Yacht Brite Wash.
The first step to stay environmentally-conscious with your engine is to pick the right motor size for your watercraft. If your engine is going to a full throttle to reach an average speed, it is likely too small. If this is the case, you are emitting an excess amount of fuel into the water. On the other side of that, you don’t want an engine that is too big for your watercraft either. Finding a balance and figuring out a suitable engine size for your boat is crucial to your watercraft’s functionality and to the environment. A four-stroke outboard engine is very efficient and will keep the fuel rate relatively low, but make sure to consider the best fit for your boat type.
There are many eco-friendly options for the paint you choose for your boat. Hard bottom paints can stop large amounts of heavy metals from going into the water. Ablative paint, the alternative, ejects high amounts of copper and other heavy metals. Copper is extremely harmful to fish, reducing their ability to reproduce. Sticking with those non-biocide paints, rather than the copper-based paint, is a great way to go green.
Another green maintenance option is changing the way you apply sealant. The most commonly used sealants contain harsh chemicals in their products and are most harmful when wet. Try waterproofing your boat’s surface when the boat is hauled. Another option would be to purchase an eco-friendly sealant, such as Seal Once Marine Waterproofer.
The most impactful way to stay green aboard is through your electrical systems. Pick low-powered items that will reduce the total amount of carbon dioxide emission. Some options include LED lighting, self-powered electronics, and trickle battery chargers.