Boating is a favorite pastime in South Florida. Our sub-tropical climate makes it possible to use our boats year round—even in December! Every day thousands of people use their boats and other marine vehicles for parasailing, waterskiing, jet skiing, and fishing.
Most boaters realize the importance of sharing the waterway with other boaters. Boaters have to be courteous, respectful and practice many safety precautions to avoid harm to themselves and others. But have you ever thought about what boaters must do to protect the water itself, the marine life living in it, or the near-shore and shoreline ecosystems?
Water conservation might seem a distant concern when you are out on a boat. As you slide out of the intercoastal and out into the open water, your cares begin to slip away. However, an enjoyable afternoon in the sun and on the water wouldn’t be much fun with tons of waste and trash floating alongside you, or if the water was so polluted that it couldn’t support marine life and wasn’t safe for swimming.
Even out on open water we have to remain mindful of our impact on this precious resource. Pay particular attention to activities that have the potential to introduce pollutants, or cause physical damage, to sensitive marine habitats and organisms.
The Top Ten List of Eco-Boating Practices from the National Marine Manufacturers Association:
- Observe local and federal marine toilet rules.
- Always pump out on shore if you have a holding tank.
- Use only legal bottom paints.
- Use biodegradable cleaning agents.
- Don’t litter on the water. Bring it home.
- When fueling, don’t top off tanks, and mop up fuel spills.
- Watch your wake and propeller wash.
- Keep motors finely tuned.
- Control bilge water.
- When fishing, practice “catch-and-release” whenever you can. If fishing for food, don’t take more than you can eat.
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