Clean Boating Tips

Contain Trash
  • Do not let trash get thrown or blown overboard.
  • If trash blows overboard, retrieve it.
  • Pack food in reusable containers.
  • Buy products without plastic or excessive packaging. Plastic is deadly to fish and birds.
  • Do not toss cigarette butts overboard; they are made of plastic (cellulose acetate).
  • Purchase refreshments in recyclable containers.
  • Recycle cans, glass, plastic, newspaper, antifreeze, oil, and lead batteries.
  • Bring used monofilament fishing line to recycling bins at your marina or tackle shop.
Fuel Cautiously
  • Remember, fuel expands as it warms up.
  • Fill your tank just before leaving on a trip.
  • If you do fill your tank upon your return to port, fill it to only 90% capacity.
  • Use oil absorbent material to catch drips from the fuel intake and the vent overflow.
  • Fill portable fuel tanks ashore.
  • Add a fuel stabilizer to your tank if engine is used infrequently.
Control Oil in the Bilge
  • Keep your engine well-tuned: no leaking seals, gaskets, or hoses.
  • Place oil absorbent material or bio-remediating bilge boom in the bilge.
  • Place an oil absorbent pad under the engine.
  • Replace oil absorbent materials at least once a year.
  • Check fuel lines for damage; replace with alcohol resistant hoses.
  • Secure fuel hoses to prevent chafing and leaks.
  • Never discharge bilge water with a sheen. It is illegal.
Properly Dispose of Oil Absorbent Materials
  • Recycle used oil absorbent materials whenever possible.
  • Check with your marina owner or manager for proper disposal instructions.
  • If these options are not available, please contact your local household hazardous waste collection center.
Clean Gently
  • Wash your boat frequently with a sponge and plain water.
  • Use detergents sparingly.
  • Use phosphate-free, bio-degradable and non-toxic cleaners.
  • Wax your boat. A good coat of wax prevents surface dirt from becoming ingrained.
  • Clean wood with a mild soap powder and a nylon brush.
  • Conserve water. Put a spray nozzle on your hose.
Maintain Your Vessel Wisely
  • Collect all paint chips, dust, and residue. Dispose of properly in accordance with your marinas policy.
  • Share leftover paint and varnish.
  • Bring used solvents and waste gas to local hazardous waste collection sites.
  • Use less toxic propylene glycol antifreeze.
  • Keep your engine clean so you can spot leaks.
  • Slip a plastic bag over used oil filters.
  • Consider alternatives to toxic bottom paints.
  • Never discharge raw sewage in U.S. territorial waters.
  • Use restrooms on shore.
  • Under way, use an approved Marine Sanitation Device (MSD).
  • Discharge Type I or Type II MSDs over deep water. Avoid swimming areas, marinas, anchorages, and oyster bars.
  • Establish a regular maintenance schedule for your MSD, based on manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Pump out and rinse holding tanks regularly.
  • Use enzyme-based products to control odor and reduce solids in holding tanks.
  • Avoid holding tank products that contain quaternary ammonium compounds (QAC) and formaldehyde.
Dispose of Fish Waste Properly
  • Do not throw fish waste into marina waters.
  • Discard waste over deep water or in the trash.
  • Or, save the waste and use as chum or bait.
Protect Sensitive Habitat
  • Proceed slowly in shallow areas.
  • Do not disturb wildlife.
  • Avoid contact with submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV).
  • Watch your wake. It can lead to shoreline erosion.
Be a Responsible Boater
  • Learn about environmentally safe products and practices.
  • Share the information with other boaters.
  • Obey laws governing speeding, littering, and discharge.
  • Encourage boating facilities to provide trash cans, recycling bins, and pump out stations.
  • Support marinas that are environmentally responsible.