Atlantic Yacht Basin has always put an emphasis on safety. As a hurricane storage facility, they have helped many boat owners safely endure storms and repair damaged boats. NOAA recently talked with Spencer Hull, Treasurer and Director of Market Development for Atlantic Yacht Basin, Inc. for a feature in their People of Weather-Ready Nation. Spencer was able to share his thoughts on how we can all become safer and more weather-ready boaters.Check out the article here:
Electric boats have been around for over 120 years. They were popular in the late 1800’s and into the early 1900’s but lost popularity when people began to switch to internal combustion engines. Electric boat manufacturers are still around, but they aren’t popular choices. Electric vehicles have consistently been a difficult market to crack. The market is unpredictable and the first thing to go during economic downturns is often environmentally friendly products that tend to cost more than their less green counterparts.
The boating industry is not one that is usually aligned with the term eco friendly. Pollution, invasive species and littering are all issues we’ve come to accept as being part of the industry. There have been many attempts at popularizing electric boats over the years, but none have been particularly successful. Companies like Duffy Electric Boats have been around for decades but aren’t household names. The Duffy tops out at about 5 miles per hour, which limits the recreational uses for the boat. This has been a common theme for electric boats in the past, accentuating the need of an electric boat that can “do it all”.
Trying to establish an electric boat that is versatile, powerful and sustainable is a challenge. However, Andy Rebele is stepping up to the plate. He has been working for years to create an electric boat that appeals to a larger audience. Through his startup, Pure Watercraft, he is hoping to make boating clean and quiet. The company is dedicated to creating boats that are on par with what Tesla is doing in the automotive industry. They are working to maintain the power of the boat while using an electric engine. Rebele is rethinking the entire boat, not just the engine, and looking for solutions to some of the most basic problems associated with boating.
Noise and smell are some of the more unpleasant parts of boating. Combustion engines are loud and produce exhaust that can be nauseating when sitting close to the engine. The gas fumes and noise are both problems that boaters have had to put up with for decades. Electric boat engines are by nature quieter and obviously there are no fumes, creating a much more pleasant user experience. Pure Watercraft is taking things a step further by placing added importance on the weight of the engine, keeping it light to improve performance. The batteries are kept cool using a phase change material to boost their longevity. Both concepts mimic what Elon Musk has done with Tesla’s cars. By using the Pure Watercraft engine, boaters are reducing emissions and fossil fuel reliance without losing the performance of their vehicle. They are also decreasing noise pollution on the waterways, which is not only beneficial in an environmental sense, but can improve fishing.
According to CleanTech Alliance “with Pure Watercraft, customers can eliminate power train maintenance, charge batteries at the dock, and reduce motor noise to nearly zero. Daily boaters can save more than 50% over a 20 year period”. Those are huge savings that come with switching to Pure Watercraft’s electric engine. With that kind of incentive it makes it an ideal choice for boaters. Not only are they saving money, but helping the environment as well. This sort of cost savings make the company less susceptible to profit losses during financial downturns, which has been a constant problem in the electric vehicle market.
Congress issued the Clean Boating act in 2008 as an amendment to the Clean Water Act. The Clean Boating Act tries to combat the issues associated with discharges from recreational boats and regulate procedures to reduce the pollution. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency boating can cause high toxicity in the water; increased pollutant concentrations in aquatic organisms and sediments; increased erosion rates; increased nutrients, leading to an increase in algae and a decrease in oxygen (eutrophication); and high levels of pathogens. A large amount of the pollution is caused by poorly maintained boats that leak fluids into the waterways. By eliminating the fluids in the engine itself, not only do electric boats have reduced maintenance costs, but there are also no fluid leaks.
For years, the concept of green boating has been limited due to a lack of options, Pure Watercraft has created a viable option without losing the integrity or functionality of the boat. This could be the future of the electric boat market, leaving the option open for others to mimic the strategy Musk and Rebele have laid out.
Recent studies have shown that a chemical in most sunscreens is causing harm to coral across the world. The chemical oxybenzone has been shown to be a factor in coral bleaching even in low concentrations. Coral bleaching causes discoloration to the coral and ultimately leads to its death. Without coral, fish populations suffer from the deterioration of their habitat and shorelines are more susceptible to storms. Coral bleaching is caused by a variety of things, but the latest discovery is the amount of oxybenzone present in the water especially around tourist areas.
Oxybenzone is a chemical present in many sunscreens and is one of the most effective ingredients for protecting skin from the sun. Unfortunately, as it washes off and is reapplied throughout a day at the beach it is causing harm to the coral reefs. Luckily there are some ways that we can reduce the stress we are putting on coral reefs.
Oxybenzone free sunscreen-
There are sunscreens available that don’t contain oxybenzone. You may have to search a little harder for them or order them online. Don’t be fooled by products that may claim to bee “reef friendly” as they aren’t regulated and may still contain harmful ingredients.
Wear SPF clothing-
There’s a variety of clothing options available that have built in SPF. Try wearing an SPF shirt and hat when you are out gardening and an SPF bathing suit for swimming. This limits the amount of sunscreen necessary to protect your exposed skin and prevents it from running off into the water system.
Evaluate your products-
There are a few sites that allow you to look up the contents of your beauty products and see how ecologically friendly they are. This is a great opportunity to evaluate all the products you use and see if you can do something to improve marine life.
The opportunity to improve the marine environment is always something boaters should be looking into. Without a healthy ecosystem our ability to enjoy the water deteriorates. Finding alternatives to oxybenzone sunscreen is just one more way we can ensure our oceans are available for people to enjoy for generations to come.
Nowadays, everything and everyone is going ‘green’ in an effort to reduce our effects on this beautiful, blue earth. “71% of the Earth’s surface is water-covered, and oceans hold about 96.5% of all Earth’s water.” Boaters should be particularly concerned about taking action to protect our marine environment. Below are just some of the ways boaters and marine enthusiasts can help to minimize their impact on bodies of water.
This includes maintenance and product updates whenever possible. Regularly monitoring your fluids helps to prevent discharges and leaks, which can spill into the water and contaminate it. Additionally, the type of anti-fouling paint you use may be toxic for the environment. Sloughing bottom paints and copper based paints release toxins and biocides on the environment. Many of these paints have been banned or regulated, and as a result there are several replacements that reduce the impact on the environment. Replacing old parts and energy systems with new ones can decrease the need for oil, reducing the potential for oil spills and greenhouse gas emissions. Solar panels, bio-diesel, LED lights, wind generators, and electrical engines are just some of the modifications one can make to their boats or yachts to become more green and energy efficient.
Part of maintaining your boat is keeping it clean. Cleaners and soaps often times have chemicals, such as triclosan, which has been proven to be bad. Triclosan is bad for the marine environment because it can have effects on algae’s ability to photosynthesize and additionally cause biomagnification to occur. Biomagnification is the process in which a toxin becomes more concentrated as it goes up the food chain, causing havoc on the marine life throughout the process. Eco-friendly products for your boat cleaning needs are easy to find. Check out this boat cleaning supply list for environmentally friendly and biodegradable products.
‘Pack It In, Pack It Out’
This age old adage applies not only to land but to sea. The purpose behind this is to keep the wilderness wild and ‘untouched’. Basically, be kind to the environment and dispose of trash, waste, and hazardous materials properly. Marine debris is not just harmful for aquatic creatures, but also for humans enjoying the open ocean or beaches. Marine debris injures, traps, and chokes marine animals, physically harms beach goers and swimmers, and can get into the internal parts of boats. According to the E.P.A., in 2001, over 140,000 people across the U.S. removed about 3.6 million pounds of debris from more than 7,700 miles of coasts, shorelines, and underwater sites. Recycling, using biodegradable products, and managing waste holding tanks are some of the many actions boaters should take to prevent debris and water from entering our water.
Green Boating is Better Boating
There is no denying that if we want to continue enjoying a yachting and marine lifestyle, we must vigilantly protect our oceans. Not only are we protecting aquatic life, but our own, and the lifespans of our boats. Keep our oceans blue and your boating green.
Different industries impact various communities both positively and negatively. The marine industry and boats have significant impacts on locations with mass amounts of marine sector businesses and activities. According to a 2014 study completed for the Marine Industries Association of South Florida showed that the economic impact in Palm Beach County was almost $2 billion USD. In 2012, recreational saltwater boating contributed $3.5 billion USD to the Northeast’s economy and supported around 27,000 jobs. Many tourist destinations, like Antigua and Barbuda, rely on tourism to help stimulate the economy– and a majority of their tourism revolves around beaches and bodies of water. Clearly, the boating industry is important to the communities around it. But why?
The influence of the marine industry in certain regions is massive. Boats have been a method of both business and leisure since the 1700’s. Not only does boating play a huge part as a method of business transportation, but also as a means of travel. Hundreds of thousands of boats are built, bought, and traded each year for a variety of reasons, and it is clear that the marine industry has a wide reach that is fairly successful. The impacts of boats on surrounding communities is likely due to this long running success.
Whether people are taking a chartered boat tour, visiting with a friend, or just testing the waters, boating brings people places. Tourism has been proven to be beneficial for cities and towns people stop at. Tourists bring money to local businesses, it can help create jobs via a multiplier effect, and can generate extra tax revenues which flows back into local and public services. Tourism also encourages the preservation of traditions, festivals, and natural resources- creating positive social effects.
The boating industry has been adapting to the clean boating movement, especially since a majority of communities and new seafarers are more environmentally conscious. As a result, the marine industry is churning out and creating positive and innovative technologies to combat environmental damage caused by boats, therefore changing the industry. Furthermore, in general, a majority of boaters follow CBA guidelines, aimed at preventing harm to the environment and the spread of non native species.
The boating industry has grown dramatically. The influence the marine industry has on the economy, tourism, and the environment creates a significant impact on communities surrounded by water and aquatic activities. While some of these impacts can be negative, many can be positive impacts.