Environmentally friendly boating

Environmentally friendly boating

Going boating is a wonderful way to get close to nature. Boats and all of the chemicals needed to clean and maintain them can harm the environment however, so here are some more natural ways to keep that boat ship-shape.

Aquatic life needs clean water to survive, but adding toxic boating products to the water will upset this balance and pollute the water. What is needed then is some earth-friendly boat maintenance, and it’s easier to do than you think. Here are some tips which can help ease the cost and pollution involved with maintaining your boat. Earth Easy outlines what you can do to reduce your impact.

  • keep a supply of oil-absorbant rags on board for spill cleanup of oil and fuel.
  • properly dispose of used oil and filters – facilities are available to handle these elements.
  • keep used solvents separate from used oil – never mix wastes, or pour hazardous wastes down drains, on the ground or into surface waters.
  • wax your boat – a good coat of wax on a fiberglass hull prevents surface dirt from becoming engrained. This will reduce the need for detergents when you wash your boat. Pollen, dust, spores, or salt occur naturally and will do no harm when they are washed into the water.
  • use non-toxic cleaners – many cleaning products contain phosphates and other chemicals that are toxic to aquatic ecosystems. For fiberglass stains – make a paste of baking soda and water. Use a sponge or soft cloth and gently rub the mix into the stain. This paste can also be used to clean onboard showers and heads. Use lemon or lime juice as a final wipe-down.
  • windows and mirrors – mix vinegar, lemon juice and warm water. Fill a spray bottle with the solution. Spray it on your windows and wipe with paper towels or newspapers.
  • chrome – use apple cider vinegar on a soft cotton cloth to rub it clean. Then, use a fresh cloth with a dab of baby oil to restore it to a bright shine.
  • brass – Worcestershire sauce, vinegar and salt solution works wonderfully.
  • copper fittings – make a paste of either lemon or lime juice and salt. Rub gently to clean.
  • stainless steel – clean with a cloth dampened with undiluted white vinegar.
  • aluminum – using a soft cloth, clean with a solution of cream of tartar and water.
  • plastic surfaces – use a mixture of one part white vinegar and two parts warm water.
  • decks – use a mixture of one part white vinegar and eight parts warm water.
  • interior woods – can be cleaned by using olive oil or almond oil. The oil will provide natural moisturizers for the wood and add shine at the same time. Don’t use these oils on exterior surfaces, however, since they don’t hold up in direct sun.

With a little prep you can use natural ingredients to clean your boat inside and out. Happy sailing!

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