Sailing is an amazing sport, powered by wind and so close to the water – it’s impossible not to feel connected to nature – and that’s why we love it! This wonderful feeling comes in sharp contrast to the fact that whether you sail on a lake, river, bay or the open ocean, your waters are not as healthy as they could be. But the good news is you can make a difference and we are here to let you know how.
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- Come Clean
Cleaning product manufacturers are not required to disclose ingredients on their containers and their labels can be misleading due to lack of marketing regulation on words like “natural”, “non-toxic”, “organic” or “biodegradable”. So it’s important to research your soaps and cleaners before you buy them. Check out our Non-Toxic Cleaning Products section of our Green Boating Guide for suggestions.
- Avoid idling your engine
Charging your batteries, refrigerator or other electrical items by idling is not only bad for the environment, but also for your engine. Consider using dockside power or renewable energy. And if you’re just drifting, throw out anchor, turn off that engine and enjoy the peace and quiet.
- Do moor
When choosing where to settle in for the night, first look for available mooring buoys. Since they are permenant fixtures you don’t have to worry about your anchor causing damage. If none are available, anchor where you can see the bottom, and avoid seagrass beds and coral heads. If it’s hard to tell what’s below, have someone (who’s not in charge of driving) grab a snorkel mask and jump overboard. They can spot for you and make sure the anchor heads for a secure spot and not at risk of damaging important habitat.
- Use your head
While it may make life easier to just pump overboard, do you really want to be swimming in your own waste? We recommend searching online for pumpout stations and mapping them out near your home marina and favorite places to travel.
- Offset your carbon footprint
Purchasing carbon offsets is any easy way to compensate for emissions of carbon dioxide. You can simply keep track of the fuel you use Check out Segrass Grow – they use seagrass to offset carbon emissions and focus their replanting efforts on areas that have been damaged by boat propellers and anchors.
- Skip single-use plastics!
Over 8 million metric tons of plastic enters the ocean every year. Be a part of the solution. If you are packing a picnic lunch, include reusable cups, water bottles, plates, flatware and straws. If you’re picking up at the deli, bring a reusable bag and ask them to wrap the sandwiches in paper instead of a Styrofoam clamshell.
- Get to know your local wildlife.
Before you go out sailing, research animals that may be in the region – knowing what species to look for can help avoid collisions and is a great opportunity to educate kids about marine wildlife and keep your boat and guests safe.
Bonus – wondering why we’re so concerned about the ocean? Check out our Ocean Watch articles, we’ve got great information on every ocean health issues from plastic pollution to ocean acidification and even a lionfish invasion!