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Waterway Clean Up : How Boaters Can Protect Our Coastal Waters


Big, beautiful, and blue—are all words that come to mind when thinking about our oceans. But more than just a picturesque beach vacation, oceans are an incredibly valuable component of our planet. As boaters, we get the opportunity to enjoy one of the most special and secluded parts of our world, but without our help this beautiful world can be lost for future generations. Today we’re going to go over what we all can to be conscientious boaters, keep our waterways clean and healthy, and spread awareness about the importance of waterway clean up for generations to come. 






 

 

Why is it a Problem?


Worldwide, hundreds of marine species have been negatively impacted by marine debris, which can harm or kill an animal when it is ingested or they become entangled, and can threaten the habitats they depend on. Reports say that around one million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed every due to plastic ingestion. Unfortunately, several marine species are on the verge of extinction because of such a type of ocean pollution. Marine debris can also interfere with navigation safety and potentially pose a threat to human health.


Even if you live hundreds of miles from the coast, the plastic you throw away could make its way into the sea. Once the plastic is in the ocean, it decomposes very slowly, breaking into tiny pieces known as micro-plastics, which can enter the marine food chain and become incredibly damaging to sea life.


What is ‘Green’ or ‘Sustainable Boating’?


Accordingly to the EPA, sustainability refers to creating and maintaining conditions where humans and nature can co-exist to support present and future generations. In other words, sustainable boating, often referred to as clean or green boating, supports boating as a recreational activity and helps maintain our waterways for future generations to come. The harsh reality is, unless we, as recreational boaters, commit to being part of the solution, then we are liable to be seen as part of the problem.


What Can You Do? Host a Waterway Clean Up!


Maybe you are a hands-on type of person and really want to make a difference! A great way to remove the litter that pollutes our waterways is to dispose of it properly. Gather some family members and friends and pick up litter along your local waterway, stream or shoreline, or even along city roads and roadways! 


Every piece of trash you remove is one step closer to a healthy and happy ecosystem. Next time you go for Gulfstream Boat Club cruise, be sure to bring the proper bags to dispose of any trash you mind find along your way! Here are a few more helpful tips to stay safe during your waterway clean up. 


Tips to Stay Safe During a Waterway Clean Up


  • Be cautious and aware of sensitive habitat areas. (i.e. wildlife, nest, etc.).

  • Do not lift anything too heavy – when in doubt, don’t try!

  • If you happen upon hazardous materials, contact the state’s Department of Environmental Management, Pollution Control or like agency IMMEDIATELY.

  • Drums or containers may contain toxic waste.

  • Needles and other biohazard waste are dangerous.

  • Handle these items with caution: broken glass, aerosol cans, gas cans and other containers with chemical residues or traces of volatile materials.

  • Never handle found live ammunition or explosives – immediately alert the authorities if these items are discovered during your cleanup.

  • Wear all safety gear if handling hazardous materials such as glass and metal containers.


Don’t Trash Our Treasure - What You Can Do Everyday


The plastic and trash problem in our waterways is complex and cannot be solved unless plastics are banned. However, the situation can improve if we limit single-use plastic and follow the rule of the three R’s, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Here are a few more things we can do every day to keep our water ways clean!


👍 Never throw trash into the water. If you see trash, take the time to remove it and properly dispose or recycle it. 

👍 Use reusable water bottles, snack and lunch containers when packing boat snacks.

👍 Give space to all wildlife you encounter on the water and on land.

👍 Choose reef-friendly sunscreens and skincare products.

👍 Always check your local fishing rules and be mindful of the impacts of overfishing.

👍 Deploy your anchor correctly to avoid dragging and destroying sea floor habitats.


Organizations to Support




 


Start a Waterway Clean Up with Gulfstream Boat Club


Keeping our waterways clean, safe, and beautiful enables us to be a part of keeping our waters alive.  By making more conscious decisions and altering choices in our lives, we can impact the ecosystem in a big way. 

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