Back in 1970 on the first Earth Day, going out boating often meant tolerating polluted waterways. We’ve come a long way since then. Largely gone are the foul-smelling air and unswimmable waters, remnants of a prior age. How can boat owners keep the momentum going? The BoatUS Foundation offers five simple Earth Day tips for boaters to follow all summer long.
- Take time to prepare your boat’s shrinkwrap for recycling by removing vents, strapping, or zippers. Only the plastic film can be recycled. Many shrinkwrap recycling programs today are offered at the local level, so if your marina does not recycle, ask your county government. Some boaters have found that by carefully removing the wrap it can be reused for a second season.
- If you trailer your boat to different waterways each summer, leave the uninvited aquatic hitchhikers at home by following “Clean, Drain, Dry,” ensuring your boat, trailer, and motor are cleaned thoroughly (including any tackle or watersports gear) and allowed to dry completely before splashing in a different body of water.
- The earth may be 71 percent water, but it’s no place for trash. Always have a trash receptacle aboard, and when underway ensure nothing goes overboard. (A waste can with a closable lid helps.) A second receptacle for recyclables also helps honor Earth Day and make cleanup easier at the end of the boating day.
- Prevent a spill by refueling your boat with care. Always have an absorbent pad, fuel nozzle absorbent “donut,” or “bib” (to soak up back splashes) when you pump. Actively listen to fuel being dispensed into the fuel nozzle receptacle. Slow down the dispensing pump as fuel reaches the top of the tank – usually when you start to hear bubbling or gurgling noises rising from the fuel filler tube. Refuel portable tanks ashore.
- Help keep discarded fishing line and soft baits out of the water by building a fishing line recycling bin and placing it in your community. To learn how, go to BoatUS.org/Monofilament.