As boaters we all have a vested interest in protecting the environment where we spend our leisure time and The Green Blue is dedicated to ensuring you get the best possible advice on how to do that.
Demand for support, advice and resources from The Green Blue has never been stronger, with a heightened interest from the recreational boating community in how we can be part of the solution to minimise our plastic pollution and other impacts boating may have on our environment.
The Green Blue has been working closely with the UK recreational boating sector over the last year, helping them adopt and facilitate environmental best practice to minimise any impacts on our inland and coastal waters, habitats and wildlife – with a particular focus on our Marine Protected Areas and preventing the spread of harmful Invasive Non-Native Species.
So as we begin the New Year, what else can we do to #GoGreenFor2019? For starters, there is The Green Blue’s new video guide for marina operators on what is involved in developing a site biosecurity plan. We can also follow these simple top tips to help safeguard the waters and habitats we enjoy and rely on for the future.
- Reduce energy consumption
Think about the carbon footprint of the type of fuel you use for propulsion, heating and power. Consider alternatives like biodiesel or biogas if possible, but ensure these are sustainably sourced and produced. Be aware of how much fuel you are using, and how you use your generator. Try to cook or cool food and drink in more energy-efficient ways. Install low energy lighting and a more efficient engine to reduce your energy use.
- Stop the spill
Reduce the amount of oil and fuel entering the marine environment from your boat by following The Green Blue’s best practice advice. Take care to avoid spills when refuelling. If you do spill, never use detergents to clean it up as this will exacerbate the problem. Detergents break down oil into smaller particles, which are then more readily available to fish and aquatic life. They can strip the oils from gills making breathing difficult. What is more, the phosphates in detergents can cause algal blooms which in turn lead to a loss of oxygen and death of aquatic life.
Recycle as much waste on board as possible. With the increasing amount of mixed recycling facilities now available, you need only two bins on board. Ask your marina to provide recycling facilities and point out that recycled waste can be up to 50 per cent cheaper to dispose of than waste going to landfill. Think about recycling old equipment such as sails, rope, electronic kit and oilskins at boat jumbles, Freecycle or on eBay rather than throwing it away.
- Ditch the disposables
Plastics that end up as ocean debris contribute to habitat destruction and entangle and kill tens of thousands of marine animals each year. To limit your impact, stamp out single-use plastics by using refillable water bottles and reusable bags, buy products with less packaging to reduce the carbon footprint, always choose products without microbeads and ditch the disposables – remove all plastic cups and straws. Consider more eco-friendly alternatives such as cutlery and rubbish bags made from com-starch, which can be composted.
- Take care when antifouling
When carrying out antifouling work, always take care to prevent antifoul going into the water. If a pressure-washer is used to remove fouling, it is highly likely that the water run-off will be contaminated with paint and this could enter the marina water if it is not contained. A permanent bund, tarpaulin or heavy rope lain across the hard standing can be used to collect much of the paint residue. Once the hull is clean, this waste can be collected and disposed of in an appropriate way.
The Green Blue is the joint environment initiative of the RYA and British Marine that help boat users, boating businesses, clubs and training centres to reduce their impact on coastal and inland waters to keep them in great shape for now and the future. The Green Blue raises awareness, supports practical projects, runs bespoke outreach activities and offers easy to follow advice to make boating in the UK as sustainable as possible. www.thegreenblue.org.uk