Across the country, boats are being removed from winter storage and prepared for boating season. When you clean and prepare your boat remember that what goes on your boat will go in our waterways. Review the tips below to help keep our waterways and environment safe.
1. Examine ingredients – avoid products with ammonia, lye, phosphates, bleach and petroleum distillates. As with foods, be suspicious of ingredients that are hard to pronounce such as methylene chloride and perchloroethylene. Some other products to avoid are those with a skull and crossbones symbol or a poison warning. These aren’t good for you to work around, and they certainly aren’t good for the waterways. After examining the ingredients, check with other boaters to see which safe products work best for them.
2. Check your paint – whether you paint the bottom yourself or have a professional do it, ask for the best available low-toxicity antifouling paint containing the least amount of copper for the type of boating you plan on doing. You can also inquire about toxin-free antifouling products. One company, ePaint supposedly prevents growth without poisoning the environment by generating minute levels of hydrogen peroxide around the hull, which creates an inhospitable surface that deters the settling of hard shell-type larvae.
3. Watch what you trash – many boat related materials and substances aren’t considered common trash. Batteries, oil, oil filters and antifreeze need special handling and careful disposal. Keep each of these items separate and in their original packaging to prevent cross-contamination. It’s best to consult with your marina manager, municipality or a local service station about proper collection and recycling.
Being conscious of what you use on your boat and how you dispose of waste will help protect our waterways from pollution. Although these may seem like minor details, each little step makes a difference and will help preserve our waterways for future generations.