Jun 16 2021 All Articles

Sustainable, greener boating in New Zealand

Sustainable, greener boating in New Zealand

We recycle our plastics, paper, glass and cans, and perhaps you too feed your food scraps to the worm farm or compost bin. It’s not so surprising then, that these sustainable, environmentally friendly practices we support would extend to include our boating life. It becomes a responsible mindset.

Recognising this is the case, various websites have put forth best practice information and tips for more sustainable, greener boating in New Zealand. Most of this is focused on keeping our waters clean. Of course, boaters see first-hand many of the issues our oceans face, including plastic pollution and oil spills. For green boating tips presented here we went to discoverboating.com; sailorsforthesea.org; yachtingnz.org.nz; and getmyboat.nz.

The get my boat website recognises that, of course, the definition of green boating can vary from person to person, and in practice.

“It can mean purchasing cleaning and sealing materials that are less harmful to the environment, boating in a way to protect wildlife, or even choosing a boat and/or propulsion method that consumes fewer resources. All of these are great ways to contribute to keeping our waters clean, healthy, and ready for future generations of boaters”.

The sustainable boating movement appears to be growing in momentum. Take Yachting New Zealand’s stance, for example. This organisation has identified a number of initiatives to help make a difference. These range from leading an annual beach clean-up day and developing a clean club standard, to investigating the use of battery-powered coach boats and ensuring all Yachting New Zealand events eliminate single-use plastics. 

“Yachties and boaties have a natural affinity with the environment and it’s why Yachting New Zealand has launched a wide-ranging environmental strategy we hope will prompt real change within the sport,” the organisation’s website says. Click here to see Yachting New Zealand’s sustainability strategy. The strategy’s “what we are going to do” lists are impressive – this is an organisation leading by example.

So, where to start? Clean boating tips that you should always keep in mind while out on the water are as follows, according to discoverboating.com

  • Prevent oily discharge. If you have an inboard or stern drive boat, secure an oil-absorbent pad or pillow in your bilge and under your engine where drips may occur.  When changing your boat’s oil ensure none escapes into the water
  • Keep your engine well-tuned, maintained, and inspected. A well-tuned and maintained engine will maximise fuel efficiency and therefore reduce your carbon footprint. Check parts of your boat’s propulsion system for leaks
  • When fuelling, stop the drops. Prevent fuel spills by filling fuel tanks slowly and using absorbent pads or rags to catch drips and spills. Don’t "top off" or overflow your fuel tank. Leave the tank 10 percent empty to allow fuel to expand as it warms. In the case of fuel spills, notify the marina management for immediate assistance. In the case of a significant spill call or contact the Coast Guard
  • Slow down and wake responsibly. This tip also has your carbon footprint in mind. The most efficient cruise is where your boat gets the highest miles per gallon and will generally be around two thirds or so of wide-open throttle
  • Minimise maintenance in the water. Save maintenance projects for when the boat’s on dry land. If that’s not possible minimise your impact by containing the waste; and using tarps and vacuum sanders to collect all drips, dust, and debris for proper disposal. Remember to use non-toxic, phosphate-free boat soaps for cleaning your boat
  • Reduce toxic discharges from bottom paints. Minimise the discharge of heavy metals found in soft-sloughing antifouling paints by using the proper bottom paint
  • Dispose of trash and hazardous waste properly and manage sewage waste properly too.
  • Stop the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species. Clean, drain and dry your boat. 

The sailors for the sea website offers the opportunity to join the Green Boater community to learn how to restore the health of our waterways. This site’s green boating advice covers all aspects under the following headings: pollution prevention (black water, greywater, and more); eco-friendly products; reducing your impact (including biodiesel and renewable energy); wildlife and habitat protection; boat maintenance; greening your galley and thinking about sustainable seafood. If you’re serious about making changes for the better, this site – and the others mentioned above – are excellent ports of call. 

Looking for the right cover on the water in New Zealand in 2021?

No matter what your plans are on the water in 2021, Mariner Insurance is here to support you. We have been offering Kiwis specialist marine insurance in New Zealand for over a decade with cover for all types of boats and watercraft. Just talk to us about what you’re doing on the water, and we can tailor one of our insurance policies to fit.