Going South? - Sailors for the Sea

Going South?

 February 1, 2017  | By: Oceana

charter boat, sunset, green boating

It’s that time of year when folks are heading south to escape the frigid, winter weather. Maybe you’re planning to charter down in the Caribbean. But before the wind hits your hair, the sun touches your skin and you indulge in a fruity cocktail, here are a few easy steps you can take to ensure that your vacation is friendly to the environment.  

Top 5 Ways to Charter Green:

1. Pack(age) less
In remote areas, waste disposal infrastructure is limited. So as you are provisioning for your trip, try to buy in bulk and remove as much packaging as possible. Instead of buying a case of water, purchase large jugs and fill reusable water bottles. Don’t forget to pack reusable bags for carrying your goods, they will come in handy if you find a delicious fruit stand!

2. Do moor
When choosing where to settle in for the night, first look for available mooring buoys. If none are vacant or you’re in a remote cove, anchor where you can see the bottom, and avoid seagrass beds and coral heads. If it’s hard to tell what’s below, have someone (who’s not in charge of driving) grab a snorkel mask and jump overboard. They can spot for you and make sure the anchor heads for a secure spot and not at risk of damaging important habitat.

3. Buy local
Imported products are a huge contributor to global carbon emissions. Purchasing locally grown and made products lowers your carbon footprint and is also a great way to get to know the local culture and even save money! If you are planning on eating fresh, local seafood, check Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch App to ensure it’s sustainable. In the BVI’s Sunsail offers a farm box full of local produce. No matter whom you are chartering with make sure to ask if this is possible or where you can shop for local fruit and veggies!

4. Come clean
Cleaning product manufacturers are not required to disclose ingredients on their containers and their labels can be misleading due to lack of marketing regulation on words like “natural”, “non-toxic”, “organic” or “biodegradable”. So it’s important to research your soaps and cleaners before you buy them. Check out our Non-Toxic Cleaning Products section of our Green Boating Guide for suggestions.

5. Use your head
Many charter destinations do not have pumpout facilities. When you arrive, check with your charter company on the policy. We recommend that if there are no provisions in place, use your Y-valve and only pump your waste overboard while underway in deep water away from beaches and anchorage sites. No one wants to swim in their own poo!

Bonus: Offset your travel carbon footprint! We recommend using the Ocean Foundation’s Seagrass Grow because you can compensate for your impact with “blue carbon” through the planting of seagrass. By answering a few questions on their website, you can calculate your vacation carbon footprint and donate to offset it.

For more tips on how to boat green, download our full interactive guide!