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Ocean Currents

News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy

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To the Point (and Nonpoint): Understanding Sewage Pollution and Stormwater Runoff

Posted On June 3, 2015 by

Photo: Corduroy LeFevre

As a boater or marina operator, you have probably experienced first-hand the effects of pollutants. Although you may make every feasible effort to prevent pollutants from entering your local waters, not all sources are easy to pinpoint. Here is a quick refresher of some of the most common types and sources of contaminants.

Most pollution can be categorized as “point” or “nonpoint” discharges. Point sources of pollution – such as outfall pipes – introduce pollution into the environment at a specific site or point. They are generally the easiest to identify, monitor and regulate.

By contrast, nonpoint source pollution comes from a plethora of diffuse sources and is unconstrained in movement. Nonpoint source pollution is caused by water (typically rainfall or snowmelt) moving over and through the ground. Sources include storm drains and runoff from parking lots, roadways or agricultural land.

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When It Comes to Oil and Fuel Spills, Prevention is the Best Solution

Posted On May 5, 2015 by

Boats in a marina. Credit / iStockphoto

On April 20, 2010, an explosion rocked the Deepwater Horizon oil rig off the coast of Louisiana, killing 11 workers and releasing an estimated 210 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico – making Deepwater Horizon the largest marine oil spill in U.S. history. Five years later, scientists are still studying and assessing the short- and long-term effects of the BP oil disaster on the Gulf’s residents, wildlife and environment.

While almost everyone is familiar with the effects of large disasters such as Deepwater Horizon and the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, many are not as familiar with the effects of smaller, more common spills. Every year Americans spill, throw away or dump out more than 30 times the oil that was spilled in the Exxon Valdez disaster. A single quart of oil can create a two-acre oil slick on the water’s surface – approximately the size of three football fields!

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Good Boating Practices Start with Good Mate

Posted On April 8, 2015 by

Spring has sprung – an indicator for millions of water lovers that boating season is fast approaching. While you’re dusting off your vessel for its return to the water, now is also a good time to brush up on good boating practices.

As a boater or marina operator, you’ve seen first hand how a wonderful boating experience can quickly take a bad turn when ocean trash damages a boat or the environment. You know how mishandling a boat can harm ecosystems, wildlife and water quality. Improper, irresponsible or neglectful vessel maintenance and poor refueling, repair and storage habits all present environmental risks. Reducing these risks not only helps preserve clean water and protect the animals that live in it, but also keeps boaters and their families safe – and could even save money.

Fortunately, Ocean Conservancy – working in collaboration with the U.S. Coast Guard, Coast Guard Auxiliary and Brunswick Public Foundation– created Good Mate, a public outreach program aimed at reducing and eliminating marine pollution and environmental degradation. It offers simple, easy-to-follow guidelines for green boating that the boating community can use and share.

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Keep Boating Practices Shipshape with Good Mate

Posted On March 20, 2014 by

As much of the country shakes off the cold of winter, newly budding trees, blooming flowers and balmy temperatures all signal spring’s imminent arrival. The warmer weather also means that boating season is right around the corner.

Just in time, Ocean Conservancy has released its updated Good Mate Manual for green boating. So, while you’re getting your vessel shipshape for its return to the water, take a moment to ensure that your boating practices are in good order as well.

Boaters and marinas are in unique positions to stop trash and other pollution from entering the water. The Good Mate program offers informative and useful tips to help these important user groups be leaders in water protection.

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Boating Tips to Keep it Green While in the Blue

Posted On March 22, 2013 by

Boats in a marina. Credit / iStockphoto

With boating season around the corner, it’s hard to not get excited for all the fun and excitement you’ll have on the water this year! While boating can be loads of fun, it’s important to remember that you’re playing in someone else’s backyard. Ocean Conservancy and Good Mate have come up with a green boating guide that you can use as a reference point to make sure that you do your part to help keep our oceans (and the organisms that live in them) healthy.

Green boating is something that both boaters and marinas can take part in, which is why we’ve created two separate guides. They cover everything you need to know in order to make your boating ventures more ocean-friendly, including information on how to properly handle your trash, reduce oil pollution, maintain equipment safely, interact with wildlife, and how to prevent water contamination. Need some green boating literature to keep handy on your boat too? No problem, we’ve got you covered there too with a printable brochure.

Check out the guides and let us know if you have any other green boating tips or suggestions!