Ten Tips for Clean and Green Boating - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 17 Old 03-02-2010 Thread Starter
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Ten Tips for Clean and Green Boating

Prevent oily discharges from the bilge. Keep your engine well tuned to prevent fuel and oil leaks. Secure an oil absorbent pad or pillow in your bilge and under your engine where drips may occur. Check the pads often, do not let them clog the bilge pump, and dispose of them as hazardous waste at a marina or local hazardous waste collection center.

Spill-proof your oil changes. For oil changes, use an oil change pump to transfer oil to a spill-proof container. Wrap a plastic bag or absorbent pad around the oil filter to prevent oil from spilling into the bilge.
When fueling, stop the drops! Prevent fuel spills by filling fuel tanks slowly and using absorbent pads or rags to catch drips and spills. Donít "top off" or overflow your fuel tank. Leave the tank 10% empty to allow fuel to expand as it warms.
Do not add soap. Never use soap to disperse fuel and oil spills. It increases harm to the environment, and it is illegal.
Minimize boat cleaning and maintenance in the water. If possible, save maintenance projects for the boatyard. When performing work on the water minimize your impact by containing waste. Use tarps and vacuum sanders to collect all drips and debris for proper disposal.
Reduce toxic discharges from bottom paints. Minimize the discharge of heavy metals found in soft-sloughing antifouling paints by using a less toxic, or nontoxic antifouling paint. Use only non-abrasive underwater hull cleaning techniques to prevent excessive paint discharge. Remember, dry storage reduces the need for antifouling paints and saves money.
Dispose of hazardous waste properly. Dispose of paints, batteries, antifreeze, cleaning products, oil, oil filters and other hazardous wastes at a hazardous waste collection facility or event.
Plan A-head! Manage sewage wastes properly. Never discharge sewage within 3 miles of shore. Use harbor pump-out stations and shore-side facilities. If you donít have an installed toilet, use a port-a-potty and empty it at a harbor dump station or bathroom.
Stow it, donít throw it! 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 plastic, glass, metal, and paper.
Reduce Greywater discharges. Use a phosphate-free biodegradable soap to minimize the impacts of greywater on the marine environment. Also minimize discharge by doing dishes and showers on shore whenever possible.
Content courtesy of www.earth911.com
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post #2 of 17 Old 03-02-2010
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Smile Absorbents for Marine Use

What a great article on how to reduce the environmental impact of boating! I love sailing but I don't have access to one right now. I spend a lot of time on my father-in-law's 23ft fishing boat. We use oil only (white) absorbent pads to clean up the messy grease that accumulates under the power steering and that very occasionally leaks from the 2-stroke outboard. We also leave an oil only absorbent pillow in the aft bilge from the oil and grime that can accumulate. They work great! You can get really good prices at Pacific Environmental, even on small orders.

Great prices on absorbents and spill kits at
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post #3 of 17 Old 03-02-2010
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If you are a California boater, ask your hull cleaner if they are a member of the California Professional Divers Association. If they are not, they should be. The CPDA certifies its member companies and their divers in the only State-recognized set of Best Management Practices for in-water hull cleaning. Divers that are CPDA BMP-certified are the best educated, best informed, most proactive hull cleaners in the state, regarding reducing in-water hull cleaning's impact on the environment.
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post #4 of 17 Old 03-05-2010
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here's another one: it is dirtier to start/stop the motor frequently than to let it run for a couple of minutes. Some people seem to want to kill the motor instead of just letting it idle, under the false pretense that they save fuel. But in the end you probably burn more fuel and you certainly add more wear and tear to the motor.

Within reason, of course. Idling for 15 minutes isn't better than one on/off cycle.
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post #5 of 17 Old 03-17-2010
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I have a question about this statement...
Do not add soap. Never use soap to disperse fuel and oil spills. It increases harm to the environment, and it is illegal.


"dawn" dish washing liquid is not harmful to animals , fish etc and is used to clean animals, stones dirt etc after a major oil spill?
While i have " pig pads" on my boat and a spill kit, and use a vac pump to change oil.. i still keep Dawn on the lower area just to keep it clean.
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post #6 of 17 Old 03-18-2010
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The reason you DO NOT put detergent on an oil or fuel spill is that the detergent atttaches to the oil and then sinks, bringing the oil to the bottom, where it stays for a long time, affecting the flora and fauna on the seabed. If you merely let the spill float at the surface (hopefully in a contained area) it will evaporate in the atmosphere, doing much less harm.
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post #7 of 17 Old 03-18-2010
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soap or other dispersal agents don't really get rid of the oil/fuel, they just break it up into smaller particles
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post #8 of 17 Old 03-18-2010
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oil/diesel isn't likely to evaporate any time soon... gas might
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post #9 of 17 Old 03-18-2010
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Wrong. Any of those will evaporate from the surface LONG before it stops harming the environment if brought to the bottom by detergent.
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post #10 of 17 Old 03-18-2010
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Interesting. I did not know that.

Oil takes a long time to evaporate in warm conditions- I have a drum that is not sealed, sitting in my garage for nearly 3 months.... still quite full of oil

I have no concept of how long it might take to stop harming the environment if dissolved w/ soap.... so I'm not disputing your claim.

Either way, I think that we can both agree that the key is to keep it out of the water in the first place!
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