With each New Year, resolutions are made. Some are met and some fall through. This year let’s make a resolution among us boaters to keep our water ways clean. We’ve all mentioned this in passing or some have read countless blogs on it before, one probably from a previous blog here, but taking part in it is clearly more productive than just reading about it! Let’s all do our part in making our water ways waste free and safe for us all to enjoy. Here are the basics in clean boating.
Prevent fuel spills by filling fuel tanks slowly and using absorbent rags to catch drips or spills. Don’t “top off” your fuel tank. Leave the tank 10% empty to allow fuel to expand as it gets warmer. Maintaining proper fueling procedures are important in keeping oil and gas out of our waterways. Accidental or not, under Federal law (the Oil Pollution Act and the Clean Water Act), it is illegal to discharge any amount of fuel, oil or other petroleum product into the waters of the United States. If there is any oil or fuel spill that leaves sheen on the water, one must report to the U.S. Coast Guard National Response Center by calling 1-800-424-8802.
We all know that recycling paper, cans and bottles is a good idea, but that’s not where it stops. A number of marine specific products can also be recycled. Fishing line is one of the most dangerous wastes in our water ways that harm our marine life. Keep your trash on board. Never throw cigarette butts, fishing line, or any other garbage into the ocean. Take advantage of shore-side facilities to recycle.
Changing engine oil, and checking fluid levels are the best way to keep your boat running smoothly. Even well maintained engines will show signs of age. Leaks from steering cables, drips from the last oil change, or fuel from leaky fittings can all find their way into the bilge.
When tied up to a dock, use onshore facilities. Encourage guests to take advantage of the onshore restrooms before you set out for a day trip. Make sure to regularly maintain your MSD and the attached plumbing and install the best hose you can afford to reduce odors. Don’t be afraid to talk about the issue. Talk to your friends and fellow boaters about how to pump out. Always obey the law and keep untreated sewage out of all coastal and inland waters.
We hope these tips help with your adventures out on the water. Some of these notes may seem like common sense but you would be surprised how easily they are forgotten.