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Summer Boating the Eco-Friendly Way

It’s almost summer time in Ohio, which means it’s nearly time to spend full weekends on your boat—if you’re not doing so already. While you may know the best way to stay tan, you may not know how to stay green while you are out boating this summer. As the general public is becoming more conscious of the environment around them, care has to be used when out on the water to not pollute, litter or disturb the natural habitat in and around the body of water. Below are a few green summer boating tips to help you keep your environmental footprint to an absolute minimum, yet still enjoy yourself while you are out on the lake.

Keep Your Engine in Tip-Top Shape

Have your engine checked before you first take the boat out at the beginning of the season and once or twice during the year. This will help to not only ensure that it is running properly, but will help to prevent oily discharges from the bilge, a potential source of pollution. Place a towel or something that will absorb the oil in your bilge and right below the engine where any leaking may happen in the future, Discover Boating suggests. This will indicate if any oil is dripping from the engine when it is out of the water, letting you know when someone should come out to fix it.

Bring Zip-Close Bags on Boats

Any waste you create while out on a boat — from cans to bottles to wrappers for food — should be placed into a zip-close bag and stowed in a carrier or particular compartment of vessel. Leaving these items loose can cause them to blow out of the boat while in motion. On Lake Erie, which is known for having incredibly strong winds that whip across the water, this is especially important — littering can cause an Ohio boating license to be revoked. Different states have different rules concerning littering of course, but to truly stay green out on the water, you’ll want to keep every bit of waste inside the boat for proper disposal when returning to shore.

Lorain sunset

Photo of sailboat and Lorain Lighthouse on Lake Erie by Rona Proudfoot via Flickr

Consider Dry Storage

Dry storage may be slightly less convenient and more expensive for some boat owners, but it will help the environment immensely. Storing your boat out of the water will help reduce the toxic discharge of factory paint. Boats that remain in the water must be cleaned regularly and will consequently cause the paint to flake off or discharge polluting toxins. However, the boat won’t need much cleaning with dry storage, preventing any pollution from occurring. If you can’t afford or don’t want to deal with dry storage, consider repainting the bottom of the boat using a nontoxic antifouling paint so that when the cleaning does occur, less pollution is released into the water.