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How Boating Effects Our Environment

Insider : maritza

When you go out to enjoy a fun relaxing day of boating, typically you don't think about the effects it could have on the environment. Did you know several studies have identified dozens of unintentional and unexpected hazards to the environment associated with boating? Continue reading this article brought to you by BoatSelect to find out how!


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  • Studies have shown boats did have a noticeable impact in heavily trafficked waterways
  • Boats have actually helped with the growth of algae and kick up sediments
  • However not all is positive. Deposits left from boats can change the water's chemistry 
  • Changing in the chemistry includes and increase in  zinc, copper or making an environment overly alkaline or acidic, which decreases water quality for both animals and humans. 



  • Manatee population decreased after mortorized boats began touring their habitats in Florida
  • Manatees are considered the sloths of tropical water meaning they won't be able to move out of the way of a exceedingly speedy watercraft in time.
  • Collisions with hulls or scrapes by propellers can do fatal harm
  • Chemicals used to clean, protect, and run watercraft tend to rub off and go into the water
  • When this happens, the contaminated water weakens or kills the wildlife
  • Toxins from detergents, paints, petroleum products, batteries, and metals also affects aquatic animals and plants. 
  • Such effects include cancer, mutations, birth defects, and death.



  • Boaters often face more dangers than land-based drivers due to lack of public education on boat safety
  • Insufficient floatation devices, restraints, or sobriety, can lead to terrible accidents, injuries, and deaths.
  • Many boaters use freshwater waterways that are also tapped for drinking water or used as spots for catching fish, shellfish, and other foods
  • The toxins that endanger aquatic life that I explained above are also effecting humans
  • Eating the seafood or drinking the water from these contaminated waterways can lead to serious health problems.
  • Toxins such as tributyltin (TBT) in anti-fouling paints can be absorbed through the skin or eyes affecting whoever is just swimming in these waters. 



  • If you have an older model boat, consider donating your vessel and upgrading to a newer model
  • Newer makes and models tend to be more fuel-efficient and less prone to leaks and degradation that endanger underwater ecosystems
  • Be sure to keep rags on board to clean up oil and fuel spills as soon as they occur
  • Properly dispose of any used oil and filters
  • You can find the closest facility near you online or by calling 1-800-CLEANUP
  • Fill portable fuel tanks on shore
  • Be sure to never overfill and they are tightly secured when not in use
  • Keep your boat waxed 
  • Waxing prevents off the build up from surface dirt
  • Less dirt means less harsh detergents when washing
  • Use soft sponges and freshwater applied to topsides to clean boat
  • Try to use natural and non-toxic cleaning solutions

 It's easy to forget about the damages boats can cause when you are out on the water enjoying the day with friends and family. With these tips you can now enjoy your time and save the environment while doing it. If you would like to read more boating articles click here. Thank you for reading and have a wonderful day!

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