Ocean Currents » green boating tips http://blog.oceanconservancy.org News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy Fri, 03 Jul 2015 18:30:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 When It Comes to Oil and Fuel Spills, Prevention is the Best Solution http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/05/05/when-it-comes-to-oil-and-fuel-spills-prevention-is-the-best-solution/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/05/05/when-it-comes-to-oil-and-fuel-spills-prevention-is-the-best-solution/#comments Tue, 05 May 2015 16:55:51 +0000 Allison Schutes http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=10173

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!

Most oil pollution results from accidents and/or carelessness. Fuel oil primarily enters the water during refueling, but oil can also escape during vessel operations. Oil from recreational boats typically comes from dirty ballast water, oil tank washings, bilge water, slops, sludges, fuel residues and waste oil.

Regardless of how they are released, all petroleum products – gasoline, diesel fuel and motor oil – are toxic to people, plants and wildlife. In addition to containing deadly metals, fuel and oil lower water’s oxygen levels, block life-giving sunlight and generally degrade water quality.

That’s why marinas and boaters must play a role in reducing oil and fuel pollution. Any operation involving the handling of oil or fuel should be accomplished in a way that minimizes the possibility of accidental release. Below are some steps boaters and marinas can take to reduce oil and fuel pollution.

Boaters

  • Don’t overfill fuel tanks – fill to only 90 percent capacity to reduce the chance of spills.
  • Use oil absorbent pads in the bilges of all boats with inboard engines.
  • Regularly inspect through-hull fittings often to reduce the risk of sinking.
  • Recycle used oil and filters.

Marinas

  • Routinely inspect storage tanks as required by law.
  • Use automatic nozzle shutoffs to reduce the potential for overfilling fuel tanks.
  • Set up an oil-recycling program to deliver used oil to a designated collection site.
  • Keep spill control equipment readily available.
  • Properly dispose of used oil and fuel-absorbent materials.

NEVER use soaps to disperse a spill – IT IS ILLEGAL

To learn more about how you can help reduce oil and fuel pollution, see Chapter 2 of the Good Mate manual.

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(Re)using the Same Old Lines http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/03/08/reusing-the-same-old-lines/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/03/08/reusing-the-same-old-lines/#comments Sat, 08 Mar 2014 15:30:09 +0000 Sonya Besteiro http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=7690

When nylon was created in 1938, few people realized the impact this new material would have on fishing. By the late 1950s, manufacturers were producing a single strand of monofilament plastic that would quickly become the most popular fishing line.

Unfortunately, the very properties that make monofilament line so beneficial for fishermen – durability, strength, clarity – can make it an environmental hazard.

Birds, fish and mammals are routinely tangled in discarded fishing line, which can injure or kill them. Derelict fishing line also puts people at risk, entangling beachgoers and divers and damaging boats or other equipment.

Proper disposal of old or damaged fishing line is vital to prevent these dangers. North Carolina Big Sweep’s (NC Big Sweep) monofilament fishing line recycling program encourages fishermen, boaters and marinas to recycle fishing line before it enters the environment.

“Recycling gives a second life to monofilament line, reduces problems with litter and earns positive publicity,” explains Judy Bolin, president of NC Big Sweep.

The NC Big Sweep monofilament recycling initiative began as a pilot project in 2004 with funding from the Southeast Atlantic Marine Debris Initiative and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Working with the North Carolina Clean Marina Program – a voluntary program that recognizes environmentally responsible marinas – Bolin serves as a conduit between marinas and monofilament recycling resources.

“The marinas are the ones who commit to recycle the monofilament line,” she says.

To participate, marinas must install special containers for patrons to safely store and discard unwanted fishing line. Marina staff monitor and maintain the containers and record the amount of fishing line being recycled. Bolin provides marina operators with an initial container and contact information for recycling centers.

Southport Marina joined the NC Big Sweep program in 2012. For marina manager Hank Whitley, the decision was easy. “As a certified Clean Marina, we are committed to doing our part to keep our environment clean and litter-free,” he explains.

Southport currently has three recycling containers and has collected a large amount of fishing line. With little to no maintenance and only weekly monitoring required, Whitley is pleased that the stations have been minimally invasive to marina operations.

“There is no logical reason for a marina not to join this program,” he states. “The benefits far outweigh the negatives.”

More than 100 marinas currently participate in the recycling program; Bolin would like to see that number grow. “Ideally, I would love to have all marinas involved,” she says. “For now, I’d like to get funding to add 50 more marinas to the project.”

Monofilament recycling is only one of many good boating practices boaters and marinas can implement. Ocean Conservancy’s Good Mate program provides simple, easy-to-follow guidelines for green boating. Visit www.oceanconservancy.org/goodmate for more information.

 

 

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Boating Tips to Keep it Green While in the Blue http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/03/22/boating-tips-to-keep-it-green-while-in-the-blue/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/03/22/boating-tips-to-keep-it-green-while-in-the-blue/#comments Fri, 22 Mar 2013 20:49:14 +0000 Guest Blogger http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=5245

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!

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