September 21, 2020
Sailing and Caring for Marine Wildlife and the Environment
Being a conscious sailor is not just about saving fuels, or avoiding dumping of toxic wastes into the sea. It is also about caring for nature and the life around you while embarking on the sea tour.
Let’s find out here, how we can be friendly to the marine wildlife and environment while sailing:
Respect the Privacy of Aquatic Life
When the vessels sail with high speed in rough sea states, they produce raging waves underneath, and above.
The waves are not only troublesome for the boaters close by, but also the aquatic lives that are disturbed due to the erosion of shorelines and turbulent water caused due to the boat speed. The areas that are rich in aquatic life if used heavily by sailors, then it can severely destroy the marine life that includes all plants, animals, coral gardens, coral breeding zones, etc. Make sure you are careful while sailing on such areas with rich marine life that is near the shorelines, beaches and mangroves, especially while leaving the dock or passing by it.
Be Sensitive in Shallow Water
Boat propellers while departing from the docks usually propel very hard, disturbing the sediment underneath that badly damages the marine plants and animals, also the clearness of the water. It has been found that over 50,000 acres of South Florida seagrass beds have been critically damaged by the boat propellers. These seagrasses are the places where many sea fishes hide and breed. It also provides food for the turtles, manatees and several other sea animals. Once the seagrasses are gone, these areas become prone to damages due to storm and waves, disturbing these areas more.
Be Careful While Anchoring
While anchoring, when you are about to throw the anchor, make sure you have found patches of sand. You might accidentally anchor on coral reefs, and marine plant lives. Also, ensure you anchor chain do not fall or drag over corals, or they do not end up damaging the shorelines. If you could manage to protect these places with rich marine lives, nature and the sea lives will appreciate you. If you are not aware of the right anchoring zones, then check the anchoring zone charts for the right places. Never throw your anchors on areas that are marked as protected areas or marine reserves.
Use Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products
When you spend a considerable amount of time in your boat or yacht, you will take meals, change clothes, wash your utensils, or take a shower, and even use the toilet, etc. While you do your cleaning and washing, the water goes into the drain and then into the sea, polluting the sea environment and affecting the plants and animals there. So, make sure you do not use any harsh chemical while washing and cleaning that could be harmful to the aquatic life. Use plant-based, environmentally-friendly detergents, soaps and cleaners while onboard. Carry products that are free of harsh chemicals, dyes, parabens, phthalates, phosphates, and fragrances. You can also use baking soda, and vinegar, helpful in getting rid of salts and stains and are not harmful to the surfaces and the sea life.
Do Not Disturb the Aquatic Life
When you are in the middle of the sea, it is very natural for you to spot whales, turtles, dolphins, and many other sea animals. Many of them might try to quietly come close to the boat surface. Do not chase and disturb them to capture their movements in your camera or see them closely or even touch them. You might accidentally cause injury to those innocent animals. Avoid interfering in their space and give them stress.
Do Not Throw Wastes into Seawater
While sailing, you might be carrying many one-time use items, something you can easily avoid. One-time use items are generally dumped after use. Humans beings have already dumped tonnes of wastes in the oceans, which has severely affected the sea animals and plants there. You need to be careful when you make the list of items you plan to carry while sailing. Avoid anything that is not biodegradable or eco-friendly. Also, make sure you do not throw everything you use into the sea like your paper plates, or whatever you feel. If you throw everything into the sea, the sea animals might consume them and get hurt or killed. Prefer to carry garbage bags for this purpose. Put all your wastes in that, and when you deboard, you can put that into the garbage bin after deboarding.