Environmentally Friendly Boating

Helping reduce marine debris and litter

Green Boating While enjoyable, the nature of recreational boating makes it a potential source for the most damaging types of water pollution: oil and fuel, sewage, chemicals, solid waste and debris.

Boaters can inadvertently introduce all of these harmful pollutants into the environment through their everyday activities. Much can be done by individual citizens to help protect coastal water quality and as a boat owner, you can play a major role in improving water quality.

The first step is to understand the potential impact of boating activities. One of the largest impacts that people, including boaters have on the marine environment is the introduction and prevalence of marine debris.

Marine debris is anything that inadvertently ends up in the marine environment. It get there directly or indirectly, intentionally or unintentionally, disposed of or abandoned. No matter how it got there, it will have an impact on the environment. Living around the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary has it's benefits, but also its responsibilities. Great conservation efforts happen locally around the Monterey Bay through a variety of organizations. Read on for more resources about how you can enjoy the environment as well as protect it.

Happy boating!

Most common types of marine debris
Plastics - As society has developed new uses for plastics, the variety and quantity of plastic items found in the marine environment has increased dramatically. These products range from common domestic material (bags, cups, bottles, balloons) to industrial products (strapping bands, plastic sheeting, hard hats, resin pellets) to lost or discarded fishing gear (nets, buoys, traps, lines).

Glass, Metal, Styrofoam, and Rubber - These materials are similar to plastic in that they are used for a wide range of products. While they can be worn away - broken down into smaller and smaller fragments, they generally do not biodegrade entirely. As these materials are used commonly in our society, their occurrence as marine debris is overwhelming.

Derelict Fishing Gear - Derelict fishing gear (DFG) refers to nets, lines, crab/shrimp pots, and other recreational or commercial fishing equipment that has been lost, abandoned, or discarded in the marine environment. Modern gear is generally made of synthetic materials and metal, and lost gear can persist for a very long time.
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Do your part

Marine Debris is EVERYONE'S problem

Tip 1: Secure loads in your vehicles. If you are transporting loose material in a truck or trailer, ensure that it is secured properly, especially the back end.
Tip 2: Report Litter. If you see vehicles or commercial vehicles (including Garbage trucks) with litter coming out of their vehicles, get the license plate, location, time and date and call the company.
Tip 3: Stop Litter before it starts. The most effective way to keep litter off the beaches and roadways is to not generate it in the first place. Say no to plastic bags and polystyrene. When at the beach, use the Pack-it-in, Pack-it-out rule and take all your waste with you.
Protect while you play
  • Conserve water. The more water you use the more water you send down the drain to be processed at sewage treatment facilities. This excess water can lead to sewer overflows and raw sewage discharges into streams, rivers and beach areas.
  • Use designated restrooms at beaches. This can help to decrease the amount of human waste that is washed into the ocean. Keep diapered children out of the water and dispose of diapers properly.
  • Properly dispose of pet waste. Bring bags to collect pet waste and throw it away in a trashcan. This helps decrease the amount of waste that is washed into streams, rivers and beaches when it rains.
  • Dispose of trash properly. Place all waste in a trashcan, not on the beach or in the water.
  • Use natural products in your yard. Whenever possible, minimize or eliminate the use of chemical herbicides and pesticides because they pollute the water.
  • Maintain your septic system, including the drain field. Follow manufacturer instructions regarding pumping and maintenance service. This prevents the discharge of raw sewage into storm drains, rivers, streams, and the ocean following heavy rainfall.
  • Properly dispose of boating waste. Empty portable toilet and sewage holding tanks into approved on-shore facilities. Maintain engines to minimize discharges of oil and gasoline.