Environmental rules for your sailing holiday is an incredible sport to engage in, and traveling by boat allows you to be hugged by clear waters, scenic landscapes, and breath-taking natural environments. A lot of people choose to sail to feel that raw connection with nature and the water, to experience the diversity of the wildlife and to get away from it all.
All of these wonderful feelings are sharply juxtaposed with a massive global problem – water pollution. If you disembark on any island today and walk along its shores and beaches, you’ll find the sight of trash washed ashore from the ocean a saddening one.
The clear waters have been ruined, boats have been having a negative impact on the waters, and plastic pollution has become the largest threat to face our oceans.
That all doesn’t mean that you can’t go on a sailing trip without being eaten by feelings of guilt. In fact, it’s quite easy to turn your trip into an environmentally friendly one.
Environmental Rules for Your Sailing Holiday
Everyday, more and more travelers and sailors come to the realization that their actions are negatively impacting the oceans and their journeys. This all led to constant efforts to try and prevent the damage, specifically by spills and plastic, and introducing new environmentally friendly methods.
The good news here is that you can make a difference. You can help prevent the threats facing our oceans, and you can be a direct positive impact! We are here to let you know exactly how you can do that.
Get rid of single use plastic
Plastic pollution is without a doubt one of the largest threats to the ocean. The fact that they do not erode, they never breakdown and they stay in their same form, harming all types of marine life, means that you need to be extra careful!
While packing for your cruise, forget all about single use plastic. Do you know those plastic cups, plates and forks? Ditch them! Bring with you re-usable plates, water cups, and flatware.
Get re-usable water bottles
Most yachts don’t have sanitary tap water to drink and the use of water bottles ends up becoming a necessity. Therefore, instead of using plastic water bottles, use reusable ones and fill them up according to your own pace. There are excellent stainless steel water bottles available.
It’s never a pretty sight to see an empty plastic water bottle floating around the water, a never-dying toxin ready to ruin the oceans as we know them.
Research the wildlife
Before going on a sailing trip, you’ll probably have researched the place you’re going and the type of marine life you’ll encounter.
Make sure you know the most prominent animals and coral reefs and what specifically annoys/disrupts them and avoid that.
It will also be a great opportunity to educate yourself and your kids about the benefits of learning more about wildlife, all while keeping the ocean and its inhabitants safe. It will also help you learn about places where it’s dangerous to take your boat to.
Stop idling your engine
Of course, you want to charge your phone, your sister wants to charge her camera, the refrigerator needs to run, your laptop is plugged in… etc. I really do understand our constant need for being connected with electricity and technology.
However, the best part about sailing is finding this perfect little spot in the middle of nowhere in the sea, turning off your engines, and letting the boat float aimlessly around as you enjoy the serenity and the slow rocking.
That would also be an incredible option if you were going on a holiday where dozens of sailboats are practically next to each other, so you can even end up making friends.
You have to be rational with your use of the electricity, and you need to give your engine a break – for the environment. What you can do is either use renewable energy, or throw out an anchor.
A lot of the cleaning sprays used for boats use toxic ingredients that harm the environment and the ocean. Thus the more regularly you rinse your boat and keep it clean, the less likely you will have to use those detergents with their toxic ingredients. You won’t have to use a lot of soap that will interfere with the boat’s wax and harm the environment.
If you have to use soap, however, check for the EPA Design for the Environment logo.
Save fuel as much as you can
Try to save fuel as much as possible. You can do this by avoiding driving at excessive speeds. It’s better to drive slowly, enjoy the scenery, conserve fuel and save the wildlife!
Not only is it advisable to reduce your speed, but it’s also extremely important to navigate very slowly and carefully around the marine life that you may encounter so as not to disrupt their peace.
Use a funnel
A lot of boats end up leaking, and you have to try your best to avoid the leakage that comes with having a boat. Here are a few things you can do:
- Use a funnel or safety fill nozzle.
- Have a spill kit with you.
- Always check on fuel lines and transmissions before starting your trip.
- Have a mechanic inspect the boat.
- Always make sure the water around you is clear.
Use eco-friendly products
The more eco-friendly products you’ll have with you on board, the better. Think natural soaps, natural shampoos, natural moisturizers, and much more. If you think it’s not worth splurging on those products, think of the fact that every single product you will use will literally end up in the sea.
Every night, you will have to choose a place to settle in and decide where to throw your anchor. A lot of sailors mistakenly drop their anchors without looking, thus disrupting the wildlife below and causing damage.
Instead of using anchors, take a mooring. If you absolutely must use an anchor, make sure you set it in the sand not in the reefs. You can check that by using snorkels and a handy flashlight.
Buy new sunscreen
If you are not going to be splurging on all those environmentally friendly products, then at least make sure your sunscreen does not include Oxybenzone. This ingredient is common in most sunscreens and is harmful to the coral reefs.
Wearing safer sunscreen is important due to the fact that you will be wearing it pretty much the entirety of the time. Choose sunblock with zinc oxide.
Keep your eye out on flying plastic
What if you do end up having plastic on your boat with you (which you probably will)? Well, the least you can do about having harmful plastic on the boat is keeping a steady eye on it. Be certain none of it blows into the water. Gather your recyclables in one place, and find a recycle bin when you dock.
Environmentally friendly bottom paint
Do you have your own boat? If it yours, repaint the bottom of your boat with environmentally friendly paint due to the fact that the paint usually used is toxic to the animals.
Reduce food waste
Do not throw any food into the ocean! Make sure your food leftovers are sealed in glass jars to dispose of when you dock.
Adopting all of these steps will help you have an environmentally friendly trip, will reduce your environmental footprint, and will make you feel a lot less guilty about embarking on this trip. You’ll be the change you want to see in the world. Additionally, you may inspire others to make positive changes too.