Category: Environmental Protection

Easy Steps to Eco-Friendly Boating

eco-friendly boating


Boating is often linked to an appreciation for the great outdoors. Many boaters and anglers happen to also be avid outdoorsmen and women who understand just how important our environment is to protecting our pastime. Though it’s morally right to protect the plants and animals we share the waterways with, it also helps ensure that our kids and grandkids can enjoy the water just as much as we have. That’s where eco-friendly boating techniques come in.

Though some of the more pessimistic out there may scoff and turn their noses up to anything with the “eco-friendly” label as just some kind of crunchy hippie buzzword without much substance, eco-friendly boating is something everyone can (and should) incorporate as responsible boaters. Here are a few easy ways you can start to protect our waterways for years to come.

Eco-Friendly Boating Tips Worth Remembering

  • Motor Maintenance: Not only will a well-running motor save you money on gas, but it can also help keep you from spilling pollutants into our waterways. Oil and gasoline can be extremely harmful to the ecosystem, so ensuring your motor is tip-top and leak-free before hitting the water is a great idea. 
  • No Littering: One of the most frustrating and completely preventable environmental dangers boaters cause is littering. Tossing cans, plastic and other non-biodegradable materials into the water can harm or kill creatures along the entire food chain. Simply keep a garbage bag onboard and dispose of your trash responsibly, and have a zero-tolerance policy for litterbug boaters and passengers. 
  • Heed the Signs: Do your best to follow cautionary signs posted on your waterway, including low-wake zones and wildlife warnings. Ignoring these signs could destroy important seagrasses, oyster beds or even result in you injuring protected sea life. 
  • Ditch Diesel: Though diesel motors are still the standard for many boat companies, emerging electric or hybrid options could both reduce or eliminate your gas costs while also reducing the risks of pollution.

By keeping your motor tip-top, refusing to litter, watching for cautionary signs and finding an alternative to diesel-powered motors, you could safeguard our waterways for generations of boaters to come. Together, we can protect the plant and animal life that make our waterways so beautiful in the first place, all while still having fun on the water with these eco-friendly boating tips.

What is Red Tide?

what is red tide

You don’t have to be a frequent boater or conservationist to have heard the fear and dread spreading around the words “red tide.” Making headlines across the state of Florida and beyond, the threat of red tide is very real, but do you understand the risks it poses to wildlife and swimmers? Let’s break down some fast facts to make sure you’re staying safe on the water.

What Do I Need to Know About Red Tide?

What is red tide? Red tide is a harmful algae bloom caused by an overabundance of nutrients in the water, allowing the algae to feed and grow.

What causes red tide? Though red tide occurs naturally, some scientists point to runoff from septic tanks and agriculture for further fuelling algae growth.

Why is red tide harmful? Simply put, the red tide algae is harmful due to two major factors: it produces toxins and can decrease oxygen in the water.

What can be negatively affected by red tide? Everything and everyone in or around the affected waters. Fish can be strangled by the lack of oxygen in the water, die due to the toxins produced by the algae or harm the predators that consume them. Shorelines can become littered with dead sea life, leading to less-than-fun beachgoing conditions. Human swimmers risk skin and eye irritation, as well as respiratory issues in red tide conditions. Winds can even blow toxins onto land, affecting those nearby.

Can I fish during a red tide? Fish may be safe to eat (as long as they are filleted and guts are disposed of) but shellfish should be avoided.

Is it safe to boat during a red tide? Yes! However, you will want to check in on the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission’s updated red tide status and steer clear of affected areas (especially if you plan on swimming).

Red tide is bad news for our shorelines and those who call them home. From the ecosystem to the economy, this bloom of microscopic life can spell big problems for Florida. But as we deal with this unfortunately frequent issue, understanding its dangers can help keep your next day at the beach or boating adventure from drifting into murky waters.

For more information on red tide, visit this helpful FAQ from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commision.