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Boating Green
Little Things Mean a Lot

Boating Green


Back in the day I remember standing unsteadily in the stern of our ten-foot cedar strip Pal dinghy, filling the gas tank on the two horsepower Viking outboard from a two-gallon gas can.  Inevitably I’d stumble and spill a little gas into the lake and admire the rainbow colours it made on the surface of the water. 


We’ve learned a lot since then, including how important it is to protect our WaterWays from such things as spilled gasoline.  Back then there were more rowboats and canoes than motorboats.  There were a couple of dispros and larger inboards… and I remember the day the neighbours down the way got a boat with a 35 that we could ski behind.  Today boats are like water spiders darting back and forth and instead of a 35 boats mount paired 75 horsepower engines… or larger. 


Times and circumstances have changed so now it is even more important to take every step to protect the environment and let a lot of little things combine to make a big difference.


Where do you start… with the simple things (some of which are pretty obvious)?


Don’t fill gas cans or fuel tanks to the brim.  Fuel will likely be cooler than the air in the summer time, so if you allow for some expansion, you’ll be less likely to get excess dribbles.


Use of install a device to prevent overflow when filling inboard fuel tanks.  Some gas docks will have them but you should have one of your own.  It’s a device that sits on the vent to catch any excess.  Some whistle as the tank fills so you can tell when it’s reaching the top. 


Keep engines tuned.  If your boat’s exhaust smells like gas or has a strong odor, odds are your engine needs tuning.  Not only are you wasting fuel; you’re polluting the air and water.


Choose the right propeller.  If your prop is not the right diameter or pitch your engine is probably working too hard.  Manufacturers will recommend the right size prop for your engine and hull.


Go the right speed.  With your throttles “balls to the wall” you may get where you’re going a little sooner but you’ll burn up a lot more fuel on the way.  If you go too slowly, you’ll push a lot of water along with the hull.  Get up on plane and find the speed where the boat is comfortable; where it can stay on plane.  If you have trim tabs, make sure they’re properly adjusted and if you don’t have them, you might consider getting some installed because they can improve the boat’s performance.


Put a sock in your bilge.  Hydrocarbon socks from most boat stores will absorb any hydrocarbons, such as oil, that dribbles into your bilges from the engines.   It keeps the discharge freer of contaminants.  Dispose of the bilge sock appropriately.


Keep garbage and waste in your boat and dispose of appropriately when you return to port. 


Monofilament line can be very destructive.  For one thing, it can break the seal around props and cause water to leak into the oil undetected.  That’s one reason why so many marinas don’t allow fishing from the docks.  Recycle your fishing line.


Use environmentally responsible products for cleaning and polishing your boat, and washing dishes and such on board.  Also be wary of any discharge or spills. 






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