As boaters we all have an innate love and respect for the beautiful places of the world, especially those with a lot of water. So it would only make sense that we all look for ways to reduce the impact that our activities have on our favorite environments. Here are a few considerations to help lower your personal impact the next time you take to the water.
Eco Friendly Cleaning Products
You can start before you even leave the dock by using eco-friendly or homemade cleaning products for your catamaran. There are several on the market, or you can often substitute with some ingredients you already have around your house. For instance you can make a paste of baking soda to remove many stains from fiberglass, or make a mildew remover from lemon juice and salt!
Sail More, Burn Less Fuel
How we run our boats on the water can have a big impact. For sailors, put the sails up early and sail as much as possible. Less time running means less fuel burned and fewer oil changes. Even in light airs try to challenge yourself to keep the sails up and moving as long as possible. And don’t forget to motor-sail if you have to go to windward. Not only will this help smooth the motion of the catamaran, but you will pick up some boat speed allowing you to back off the RPMs and burn less fuel.
One Engine at a Time
For the power boaters among us, well, hopefully you’ll be boating in an already very efficient Leopard power cat. But pulling back on the throttles and even just running one engine at a time can all add up to reduced hours and fuel burn when making a passage. Remember that reducing power 10% from full throttle can save up to 20% in fuel bills!
Reef Safe Sunscreen
If your plans involve getting in the water in a tropical location (and they should!), choose a sunscreen that is reef safe, i.e. without the dangerous to coral additive oxybenzone. When snorkeling or scuba diving be sure and practice good techniques so you aren’t touching the coral, and please never stand on a reef, even if it looks like a rock!
Other Eco Options
Other items to consider to become a greener boater include taking your boat off the grid (or close to it) with the installation of solar panels and a sizeable house battery bank, following local discharge rules and using some common sense about it (don’t empty your holding tank in the anchorage or by the reef), and of course scope out your anchorage to make sure you aren’t damaging a sensitive reef or seagrass bed.
With a little forethought and some common sense we can all have an impact on helping to preserve the beautiful planet on which we get to cruise.