Boating and conscientious living don’t have to be mutually exclusive. There are unavoidable contradictions, the fuel burnt will contribute to greenhouse gasses and the material of the boat and supplies used will eventually be waste, but as we have raised our awareness on land, so we can at sea.
The emission issue is being actively addressed by our local community. The state has bought and continues buying low emission engines for many commercial boats that qualify under the Carl Moyer Grants program. Buying modern, efficient engines and keeping them maintained reduces emissions.
There was a full sized electric boat at the 2015 San Diego boat show and it was nice. There are many small electric boats. We can run the generator less, use an inverter or solar or wind. Choosing the “higher good” often comes with a price, less speed, less range and more money, but mother earth, our descendants, fisheries and coral reefs are worth it. Sailboat owners get a nod in the never ending battle with power boaters, but boating footprints encompass much more than engine emissions.
Thankfully more and more companies are able to provide green choices at the retail level and will continue to do so if they are supported. When we buy products for our boats (and homes) consider their impact. Soaps are important, there are so many, boat washing, dish washing, body washing, bilge washing, and it all goes into the ocean. Paint choices are also important and the industry and the San Diego Unified Port District have and are subsidizing environmentally friendly anti-fouling paint.
Reuse, repurpose, recycle. If we keep this in mind when we shop and consume, we can reduce waste. Reusable water bottles, dishes that we wash rather than throw away, cloth instead of paper wipes, rechargeable and/or longer lasting batteries and yes, there is a cost of both time and money. There was a marine surveying company giving away reusable shopping bags at the boat show :>).
Our boating group consciousness has been raised regarding trash in the water. Like the crying American Indian of our youth, the Pacific trash gyre and the tireless efforts of many are keeping our trash contained. Good job boaters, now let’s all go that extra step and keep a recycling container aboard too.
Some actions save money and are good for the environment. We can change settings on refrigeration units, air conditioners and water heaters. We can service systems so they operate efficiently and we can turn them off. Did you know your refrigeration devices should never “ice over”. If you have ice buildup in a refrigeration unit, it likely has a bad seal, compressor or thermostat. “That’s normal” is incorrect.
I am a wood boat lover, but we are a plastic boat community. In Chula Vista fifty foot wooden boats are being cut up daily. While the wood is organic and will eventually deteriorate, it goes to the dump to do so. I tried to repurpose one into a deck and the labor cost was too high, I am looking for suggestions and if you have any you may be able to help the cause and your bank account. There is plenty of source material for “distressed boat wood”. The same company is trying to acquire a fiberglass recycling machine to keep our exhausted fiberglass boats out of the dump, kudos to San Diego Bay Marine.
For the good of all, let’s keep the boating community thinking globally and acting locally.