Environmental Handbook for Towed Water Sports
responsible water skiing and boating implies respect and care for the natural
environment, both on and off the water. To
become an environmentally responsible water skier and boater means first being
aware of how your actions affect the environment, and second, taking steps to
prevent such impacts.
cases a simple change of old habits is the biggest step an individual needs to
take to make a difference. Here are
a few examples:
biodegradable boat cleaner instead of one containing toxic compounds
Switch your engine
lubricant to a biodegradable brand
Stay as far away
from the shoreline as possible when water skiing
club/marina operators there are comprehensive environmental management
strategies available, if desired. One
of these models is the internationally recognized ISO 14000 series of
environmental management standards. Other
sources include your local environmental groups or environmental consultants who
specialize in Environmental Management Systems (EMS).
I MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
Water skiers and boaters play an
important role in protecting the environment, both as members of their
club/marina and as individual consumers. Simple steps can be taken now and in
the future to safeguard the environment.
This section provides a range of
suggested steps and best practices for each of the following areas:
Green Practices –
Boat Maintenance ·
CODE of Practice:
Your club/marina may already have in
place Code(s) of Conduct which specify acceptable boating behavior as well as
the responsibilities that go with being a member.
Some clubs/marinas may also have specific Codes of Conduct for noise
control as well as a general Code of Practice to cover all other aspects.
If your club/marina has such a Code in
place you should be familiar with all its restrictions and guidelines including
those pertaining to the environment. If
no such Code exists, or it does not address environmental issues, then the
following pages provide recommended best practices that could be part of any
club/marina’s Codes (for an overview of Codes of Practice see Appendix C).
GREEN Practices To Live By –
The following are
some of the more simple habits individuals can adopt:
· Conserve energy when and where possible:
turn off lights if leaving a room
use water conservatively at all times
· Minimize all wastes or garbage brought into club/marina
· Always try to Reduce, Re-Use and Recycle whenever possible (see Waste Management below)
· Seek alternative, environmentally safe cleaning products
· Minimize use of paper when possible i.e. use rags instead of paper towels, double side photocopies, canvas bags instead of paper bags etc.
· Carpool whenever possible for travel to the club/marina to conserve fuel and prevent air pollution
· Ride a bicycle or take public transportation to get to the club/marina whenever possible
· If you drive a vehicle do so with the environment in mind - make sure your car engine and tires are in proper working order, and avoid excessive trips to and from the club/marina
A simple spill at
a re-fueling station in itself is not a serious threat to the environment.
But when added to hundreds of other spills occurring over a season the
effects can be detrimental to some marine and land ecosystems.
By adopting some simple and safe practices this unnecessary impact can be
GENERAL Fueling Tips:
Carry a spare fuel tank instead of jerry cans or other containers -- this allows you to exchange tanks rather than refilling the tanks while on the water and risking a spill
Use a gasoline container that you can handle and pour easily
Use a funnel or spout with an automatic stop device to prevent overfilling
Fill up your tank before a trip and NOT just before mooring at the dock -- a full tank of gas can expand and overflow in the hot sun
Check your boat for any leaks of gasoline or oil – follow club/marina
Codes of Conduct, or Emergency Response Protocol, for cleaning up spills safely
Install a fuel/air separator on tank vents where appropriate
Transport and store gasoline out of direct sunlight in a cool dry place
Always use caution when pumping gasoline and mixing it with oil
Follow the manufacturers recommended engine maintenance schedule
Be a wise shopper – make a list of alternate cleaners and products, and purchase them at the start of the boating season.
BEFORE Starting to Refuel a Boat:
Ensure that emergency absorbent materials are available including lots
Do not distract the person filling the tank
Ensure that the boat is securely moored to the dock
Estimate the amount of fuel to be pumped
Locate the air vent and install a special overflow container with
suction pads, if available
Ensure that there is an absorbent donut in place around the filler on
deck. Always have a rag on hand.
This rag should be placed in a vented container once used.
Ask the owner to switch off all of the boat’s electrical circuits
Ask the owner to close all ports and deck hatches
Turn off engines
Ensure that there is no smoking or open flames in the area of the
Ask the owner to ensure that no persons remain on the boat
Use a funnel to prevent spillage if appropriate
Do not clip the nozzle handle open but hold it during the refueling
Do not walk away from the boat
Do not overfill. If possible, feel the air vent for increasing pressure
as the level nears the top of the tank
Advise the customer against ‘topping up’. Explain that fuel expands
and that the tank may overflow if filled to the brim
Keep an eye on the air vent. If
there is a distinct increase in the airflow the tank is nearing full and
fuelling should be stopped. A
‘feel’ for a full tank can be quickly developed.
Remove the overflow container from the air vent and, if necessary, pour
the contents back into the fuel tank
Replace the filler cap and tighten securely
Return the fuel nozzle to its holder, turning the nozzle upwards to
avoid dripping gas between the boat and the holder
Avoid leaving fuel lines loose on the dock
Clean up all small spills IMMEDIATELY and place the used absorbent
material in a sealed container for proper disposal
Politely remind the owner to turn on the blower for five minutes before
starting the engine
FILLING Portable Fuel Tanks
Do not fill a portable tank while it is onboard a boat or in the back of
a vehicle. Place the tank on an
impermeable pad with catchment and absorbent material ready.
Do not fill anything other than approved portable fuel tanks
Do not fill portable fuel tanks beyond their stated capacity. Remember
that fuel expands in the heat of summer.
Ensure that the filler cap is properly secured before the tank is
replaced on board.
Observe the practices for filling inboard fuel tanks where applicable
FUELING PWCs and Small Outboard Motors with Built-in Tanks:
Ensure the craft is tied securely before starting to refuel
Do not fill the tank onboard a small craft that may rock around. If
necessary move the craft to calmer water beside or behind the gas dock.
If practical, before refueling, place motor/PWC ashore over an
impermeable pad with catchment and absorbent material.
Some club/marinas install floating drive-on PWC docks for this purpose
Do not overfill the tank. Always
leave room for the fuel to expand.
Ensure that the filler cap is properly secured before replacing an
outboard motor on the boat.
Observe the practices for filling inboard fuel tanks where applicable.
BOAT and ENGINE MAINTENANCE
Boat maintenance can cover a range of activities including washing, painting and mechanical repairs. These activities often require the use of chemicals, cleaners or petroleum based products which can end up released into the environment.
undertakes the work assumes the responsibility to do the job in an
environmentally responsible manner. When
they do not it is the environment and the club/marina that suffers in the long
following practices should be made known to everyone who is working on a boat on
club/marina property. All boaters,
skiers and club/marina staff should not only be familiar with these clean
practices but make them part of his/her wise boating habits:
and engine maintenance activities most often include:
· Woodworking · Fiberglass repair
· Metal working · Washing and polishing
· Surface preparation · Painting and coating
Work on mechanical and hydraulic systems
type of impacts associated with these activities include the release of:
Metals, metal-containing compounds from paint chips direct or indirectly into the water
Acids and alkalis directly or indirectly into the water
Solvents direct or indirectly into the water
Soaps, cleaners and nutrients directly into the water
Air emissions including particulates and ozone depleting substances like hydrocarbons
Generation of hazardous and non-hazardous wastes including used oil, coolant, gasoline and grease, dead batteries, unused cleaners and solvents, and oily rags
following practices should be posted in an easy to read site in your
club/marina’s boat work area:
Always try to keep the hull clean to reduce friction and conserve fuel
All exterior hull work done on site by boat owners or outside contractors should have the approval of the management
Purchase alternate cleaners and products that do not harm the environment and purchase them at the start of the boating season (see Appendix E, Tables 1,2,3)
All hull work should be done in the designated area
Waste should be segregated and disposed on in accordance with the waste the club/marina’s waste management guidelines
Minimize waste by opening only enough product needed to complete the task at hand.
Always ensure that dust and particles are collected and do not blow away. To achieve this members should be encouraged to:
place the boat over a hard non-porous surface such as a concrete pad
place tarpaulins beneath the boat if working over a porous surface
use a vacuum regularly to collect dust and particles
use dustless vacuum sanders
always wear personal protective gear
AVOID working over water
Use abrasive processes or heat guns to strip off old paint wherever possible
AVOID the use of solvents for stripping paint
Keep your engine well tuned
Make sure the right propeller is being used
Make sure that all mechanical work is done in designated area where spills can be contained
Always make sure to use the proper oil mix for the motor
DO dispose of used oils, greases and antifreeze, used oil filters, old fuel and other waste in accordance with the club/marina’s waste management practices
DO keep your engines clean to minimize chance of discharges
Reuse and recycle all waste materials whenever possible
DO NOT work on the gas side of air-conditioning systems unless facilities are available to contain and collect the refrigerant and a certified technician performs the work.
Change oil before winter storage to eliminate residual acids and moisture in crankcase
Add a fuel stabilizer to fuel tanks before onset of winter to avoid deterioration of fuel and the needless dumping of stale fuel in the spring
Avoid ethylene glycol anti-freeze as it is highly toxic. Use a low toxic, propylene glycol-type antifreeze specially designed for marine engines.
Make sure batteries are filled with distilled water and are fully charged. Recycle old ones.
sure suitable containment is in place including absorbent material and separate
containers for all fluids, rags etc.
Afloat – isolate the bilge pump from the
Ensure that absorbent materials are in place around the work area when working on hydraulic equipment on deck.
all spills immediately and follow all applicable protocols for spills.
Do not wash away spills and do not mix wastes. Use a wash tank for cleaning parts.
Clean work area thoroughly and deposit wastes in designated containers
END of Season
Follow the manufacturers recommended engine
Prepare boat engines properly for winter storage. Make sure that:
batteries are clean, do not leak, and are stored properly
a low-toxic propylene glycol brand of antifreeze is used
used antifreeze is recycled and stored properly for reuse for the next season
tanks are left close to full to reduce condensation and corrosion (room must be left for expansion when temperatures warm up)
a fuel stabilizer is added to tank before
winter arrives – this prevents deterioration of fuel quality and harmful
dumping of old fuel come spring
If you purchase a new engine make sure it at least meets the US EPA’s 2006 standards for hydrocarbon emissions (see Appendix B for details)
Plan Ahead – make a list of environmentally safe cleaners and products you need to replenish or purchase, and put the list in an easy-to-find place ready for next season’s preparations
Polishing, and Painting Your Boat:
are many ways to clean a boat without harming the environment.
One of the best tools at hand is ‘elbow-grease’ instead of harsh
detergents and cleaners. Another is
to make sure to purchase products that are environmentally benign and non-toxic
whenever possible (see Appendix E for alternative products).
are some suggested best practices for cleaning, polishing and painting:
Use portable high-pressure power water sprayer whenever possible
DO NOT use high-pressure washers on the slip where paint particles can be washed back into the water
Use only pure soaps and environmentally-acceptable cleaners for hull washing
Use cleaners and polishes that have minimal environmental impact i.e.:
AVOID using bleach, detergents and soaps that contain chlorine, phosphates, inorganic salts and metals
substitute water-based cleaners in place of those that are solvent based
use environmentally-safe alternatives whenever
Reduce solvent use by first cleaning area with water, keep containers closed when not in use, reuse used solvents for the first rinse of the spray gun
Reduce paint use by adjusting spray nozzle to minimize over spray, and use a gravity spray gun instead of a suction cup gun
Change filters in the paint work shop ventilation system regularly as this reduces emissions and improves dust extraction
launch, the boat should be given a thorough cleaning, in an area where run-off
will not go into the waterway.
a good coat of BOAT WAX should be
applied and polished on as this will help prevent surface dirt from becoming
engrained in the hull. Re-waxing
periodically will keep the boat in excellent condition.
when STORING the boat, give it a
thorough cleaning and add a final coat of wax for the season.
This will protect the hull and help avoid the use of harsh chemicals come
the next boating season. When
covering the boat, use an all-weather tarp.
They last longer and are less damaging to the environment than
antifouling paints are more environmentally safe than the ablative and the
non-ablative (sloughing) brands. However, all commercial anti-fouling paints are
made using heavy metals (tin and copper) which are toxic to certain species
above natural levels.
Instead of using an anti-fouling paint use a regular hull paint and a coat of slick non-toxic, bottom wax.
Do not use paints containing tributyl tin (TBT) except where required and permitted for painting aluminum hulls and aluminum stern drive legs
Always use the least toxic anti-fouling paint that is compatible with the water conditions (salt or fresh) and the required surface finish
If anti-fouling paints are used, frequent hull scrubbing should be avoided as excessive amounts of chemicals are released
Use water-based and high-solids paints in preference to solvent-based paints
Boating smart is
not only safe but it also helps the environment and all those living near the
body of water. Operating a boat
wisely can lead to fuel savings and in turn less air and water pollution, and it
can reduce noise levels which benefits cottagers, birds and wildlife.
Tips to Boat By:
Always try to conserve fuel
Limit engine operation at full throttle and minimize engine accelerations
Distribute the boat weight evenly and do not overload
Adopt practices to keep noise levels to a minimum
Plane quickly at take-off, then throttle back to cruising speed immediately
Avoid boating and skiing too close to shorelines to minimize erosion and the destruction of vegetation, and to prevent the contamination of the intake valve
Avoid, where possible, boating and skiing close to shorelines that may have nesting areas and other wildlife (check your club/marina’s Code of Conduct or with operator)
Make fewer turns so you can reduce motor load and conserve fuel
Eliminate unnecessary idling
Avoid shallow waters (less than 1.5 metres depth) where possible
Clean all debris off your boat and trailer when going from one water body to another
Always remove water from the compartment bilge and storage areas
management applies to almost all activities associated with boating as most, if
not all, generate waste to some degree. It
is up to each and every boater and water skier to do their part to keep water
skiing a clean and respected sport activity.
Waste consists of
any unwanted products and materials, either hazardous or non-hazardous, and can
be defined as:
By-products resulting from processing, manufacturing and/or consumptive activities which cannot, for whatever reason at the time, be recycled or reused and must be landfilled, incinerated or otherwise disposed.
basically three classes of wastes; solid, liquid and gas. Each of these can be further categorized as either
non-hazardous or hazardous. Non-hazardous
solid wastes typically make up the majority of the waste stream and are often
the easiest to prevent or reduce.
Taking steps to reduce waste means:
A reduction in the use of raw resources, like paper and fuel oil.
Cost savings from reduced waste disposal for your club/marina
Conservation of valuable resources like trees
Reduced pollution levels in water and air
Improved image of boating and water skiing to public
Less visual pollution
Reduced risk of injury to birds, wildlife and children
The best approach to live by to prevent all types of wastes is the "4Rs":
Rethink Reduce Reuse Recycle
The first R, Rethink, is all about doing things in a new way. It is a reminder to always think of new ways to reduce waste, to seek new, less harmful methods or products, and to continually ask ourselves how to prevent waste from being created in the first place.
The best way to avoid waste is to
it right at the source. Here are 9
simple rules to reduce:
1. Purchase supplies in bulk
2. Purchase materials in re-usable containers
3. Encourage retailers to use minimal packaging
4. Minimize your packaging needs when planning your day on the water
5. Use reusable containers wherever possible
6. Adopt “clean” working practices at all times
7. Avoid buying or using anything described as being “disposable”
8. Use products described as “long-life” (i.e. solar powered) whenever possible
9. Seek out alternative, environmentally friendly products where possible
Products and materials can often have
several uses and should be Reused as
often as possible. This approach
requires one to think of alternatives for an item such as converting old
clothing into boat rags, using old food or product containers for storage bins,
composting food wastes for garden fertilizer.
Find out what types of waste
materials (such as plastics or newsprint) are recycled at your club/marina.
Use reusable containers to sort the waste on your boat.
Avoid contaminating the club/marina’s recycling containers by carefully placing your recyclable items in the correct container.
TIPS to Waste-Free Boating:
DO NOT take packaging and other waste onboard
DO NOT pour waste liquids into any solid waste containers
DO NOT put waste directly into the dumpster without first checking with the club/marina operators to find out what type of waste should go where
DO find out if club/marina operators have services to collect all liquid wastes from boats. This is important for preventing contamination of valuable recyclables.
All persons who use a club/marina should be aware that some materials
are considered dangerous and/or
hazardous. Such materials must be
handled very carefully, kept segregated from other waste, and disposed of
according to strict protocols usually dictated by the appropriate government or
as Hazardous Waste?
A hazardous waste is usually labeled as hazardous in print on the
package and by universally recognized symbols, such as a skull with an ‘X’
or a caution sign. Hazardous wastes
are often poisonous and can cause serious or fatal reactions if ingested.
Other ways to determine if a material is hazardous include:
Examine the Material
Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) supplied with the material.
MSDS describe the physical and chemical nature of the substance and the
methods for proper handling, storage and disposal.
Check with the
club/marina staff responsible for handling hazardous materials
Contact the retailer
or manufacturer of the product
Contact the local
government office responsible for the environment and waste management issues.
WISE Handling Practices for Hazardous Materials:
Confirm with club/marina operators the procedure for handling hazardous wastes i.e. location of storage containers, safe work areas for transferring liquids, lock-up areas, holding drums etc
Handle all hazardous
waste extremely cautiously—have safety gloves, spill rags, and proper
containers readily available
wastes on land and not on boat whenever possible
Have First Aid Kit
in an easy to access location
materials that are contaminated with a hazardous substance in tightly closed
containers of a compatible material (refer to manufacturers instructions or MSDS
chemicals separated according to their classes
wastes in separate containers that are clearly labeled with their contents prior
to being disposed of in a proper manner
hazardous materials stored on boat – dispose of as soon as possible
Ensure that the
storage location for hazardous materials is out of high traffic areas and can be
secured from children and public at
As a consumer you have the power to
influence and set trends by the choices you make at the cash register.
Collectively, consumers wield an even greater influence over governments
and in turn manufacturers.
The recent introduction of hydrocarbon
emission regulations by the United States Environmental Protection Agency acts
as proof in point (see Appendix B for details). After years of lobbying by the public and environmental
groups demanding better air quality, the
US government took action to address the pollution issues with off-road
vehicles, including recreational marine engines.
These 1998 regulations have forced
manufacturers to produce more efficient marine engines (as high as 40 percent
less fuel consumed), reduce hydrocarbon emissions (by as much as 90 percent),
and operate with less noise.
As American manufacturers account for over 50% of all marine engines sold worldwide, significant global reductions in hydrocarbon levels can be expected.
Today, marine engine manufacturers
recognize that consumers and regulators demand cleaner and quieter engines.
As a result older two-stroke engines are being gradually phased out and a
much wider range of four-stroke engines being phased in.
More recently, state-of-the-art cleaner direct fuel-injected (DFI)
two-stroke technology has reached the marketplace in a number of models of
larger engines. Not surprisingly, more consumers are choosing cleaner
four-stroke engines and moving toward the newer DFI two-strokes, and an
increasing number of authorities in different parts of the world are banning the
older models of two-stroke engine.
There is also an increase in the use of
the much cleaner burning propane gas fuel, particularly in the United Kingdom
and throughout Europe, and the use of synthetic lubricants that require a lower
The combined effect of these trends will
mean significant reductions in hydrocarbon emissions worldwide.
They also demonstrate that marine engine manufacturers are taking steps
to significantly reduce emissions, and ultimately enhance the public image of
water skiing and boating.
Today, most major engine manufacturers
are already producing engines that meet or exceed the EPA emission standards.
Therefore, when purchasing a new engine, make sure you choose one that
meets, or preferably exceeds, the USEPA standards. Be a wise consumer and always compare
manufacturers' pollution control features -- there may be significant variances
in quality or grades of efficiency.
Older engines, on the other hand, can produce less emissions through a retrofit with modern pollution control devices. To significantly reduce emission levels it is essential for owners of older marine engines to service their engines regularly, use cleaner burning reformulated fuels and bio-degradable lubricants, and use the correct gasoline-to-oil ratios.
Whether you have an old, retrofitted
marine engine or a brand new one you will not only incur significant fuel savings, but you
will be playing an important part in pollution prevention.
ECO-WISE Consumer Tips:
Do Your Homework:
When shopping for a new engine ask
plenty of questions. Now that the
move towards cleaner and quieter engines is underway, innovations will continue
to be made to pollution and noise control features.
Some of the best sources of information on what is new in engines
local club/marina operators and staff
marine engine dealers
marine engine sales representatives
local marine engine repair shop mechanics
boating magazines and journals
Internet web sites for boats, engines, magazines etc.
Use leaner fuel mixtures to reduce
inefficient burning. This can be done on existing engines without totally
redesigning the engine.
Use simple direct fuel injection on
existing engines. This modification
simply means that the fuel is injected into the cylinder after closure of the
exhaust port, thereby almost eliminating unburned fuel emissions.
Purchase the most advanced two-stroke design
such as the direct fuel injection systems.
5. Upgrade the advanced two-stroke design engine with a catalytic converter once this technology is readily available to consumers.
6. Install noise reduction devices, such as mufflers and engine box insulation, wherever possible on old engines. Make sure the operating level falls within your club/marina’s Code of Practice for Noise.
Finally, remember to always live by the 4Rs—Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Support your club/marina in the implementation of its Codes of Conduct at all times. By taking small steps and actions we can all make big differences for the betterment of the environment and the sport of water skiing.
- Part A
- Part A
Water Skiing, Boating and the Environment - Part B
Recommended Best Practices for Club/Marina Operators - Part D