Harbors and marinas often become natural attractors of plants and wildlife. Breakwaters, shorelines, pilings and floating docks provide excellent habitat for shellfish, aquatic vegetation, young fish stocks and marine mammals.
Actions taken by boaters in the operation and care of their vessels can greatly lessen negative impacts to the marine environment found within or near a marina. Many things that boaters can do to lessen their environmental impact don’t take much extra effort and will often save owners some money.
Actions Boaters Can Take to Protect the Marine Environment
Here are a few eco-friendly suggestions for boat operations. Marina managers, harbormasters and boatyards can offer many additional clean boating hints.
• Minimize in-water boat storage.
• Storage and maintenance activities that occur away from the water pose less risk of marine pollution.
• Design and construct marine infrastructure to avoid shading and maximize the amount of sunlight that can reach submerged aquatic vegetation. A healthy marine ecosystem depends of adequate levels of light.
• Operate boats only within defined harbor channels and avoid disturbing shallow areas. Prop wash can damage aquatic plant life and raise sediment levels in the water column.
• Observe no-wake rules to minimize shoreline erosion. Wakes can damage plants, erode soils and damage moored vessels.
• Keep plastics and other solid wastes securely stowed onboard and dispose of this material in approved shore side reception facilities. Trash, especially plastics and fishing lines, routinely kills and injures marine wildlife.
• Properly manage onboard marine sanitation devices (MSD) and avoid discharging human wastes into a mooring basin or marina. Marinas typically have compromised water circulation patterns and waste discharges negatively impact available oxygen levels required for a healthy aquatic habitat.
• Thoroughly clean boats before transporting them overland to another body of water. Invasive plant and animal species can easily hitchhike onboard a trailered boat.
• Conduct heavy boat maintenance and hull cleaning out of the water and preferably in an upland facility designed especially for this purpose.
• Use environmentally friendly products. One example is Pure Oceans, a biodegradable two-stroke outboard motor oil.