Vast and beautiful – you would be mistaken if you thought she was untouchable. 71% of our planet is water-covered and the ocean, known as a carbon sink, concentrates about 50 times more carbon than the atmosphere (more than the Amazon rainforest) and absorbs 90% of excess heat in our climate system. (source: ocean-climate.org)
Coral reefs in particular generate half of Earth’s oxygen and absorb nearly one-third of the carbon dioxide generated from burning fossil fuels. (source: REUTERS)
Yet our waters are deteriorating due to pollution and eutrophication – a process which occurs when the environment becomes enriched with nutrients, increasing the amount of plant and algae growth.
As blue-water sailing enthusiasts you have probably already witnessed such degradation… Being sustainable, in the simplest form means to have nature in mind and not leave your footprint wherever you go. Your choice of boat, the way you sail, your habits, your activities and your boat’s maintenance can all have more or less of an impact.
It is our mission at Outremer, as a boat manufacturer, to help raise awareness on what’s going on in our ocean. To this effect, we have partnered with the first foundation in France to be recognised as promoting the public interest and devoted to protecting the ocean, Tara Ocean Foundation to create a checklist of best practices for sustainable sailing.
Why Tara Ocean?
Founded in 2003, the Tara Ocean Foundation develops new and innovative open ocean science which, in the future, will help us predict, anticipate and better understand climate risks and better protect biodiversity.
The foundation’s key actions are to:
- share knowledge and educate young people and the public in general,
- mobilize political decision makers at the highest level,
- help developing countries access and act on this new knowledge.
Checklist of 8 best practices for sustainable sailing
1. Discharge of grey water
• Limitation of oxygen exchange between air and water
• Danger to humans and marine biodiversity
• Erosion of the coastline
• Use vegetable sourced or eco-labelled products (black soap, Marseille soap, sodium bocarbonate, etc.) while limiting their consumption
• Use port infrastructures connected to wastewater treatment plants
2. Discharge of black water
• Health risks for swimmers
• Disruption of ecosystems due to eutrophication of the environment (depletion of oxygen)
• Danger to marine biodiversity
• Dispose of black water more than 3 nautical miles from the coast
• Use vegetable or eco-labelled cleaning products
• Use the port’s sanitary facilities as a priority when the yacht is docked
• Ingestion by wildlife
• Trap for wildlife
• 4R rules
• Practice bulk
• Sort waste before leaving
• Drink the water from the watermaker
Damaging seagrass, grassland underwater
• Anchoring outside protected areas
• Dive before anchoring to make sure you are in a sandy area
• Favour organised anchorages on mooring buoys which preserve flora and fauna
• Clean your chain and anchor when changing anchorages to avoid displacing species to an unsuitable ecosystem
5. Sound Pollution
• Consequences on marine fauna:
• Growth retardation
• Flight of the marine animal and change in migration routes,
• Stress and disorientation
• Limit the use of motor propulsion to cases of real need
• Encourage the use of a rowing tender
• Throwing away without repairing
• The use of antifouling and toxic products, as they degrade, spread toxic substances and thus contaminate marine biodiversity
• Choose equipment manufacturers that promote repair
• Protect your equipment against UV and toulines
• Think about recycling channels for ropes, sails, distress lights
• Favour low tech where it brings comfort and sustainability
• Stressing or injuring wildlife
• Reduce fish stocks and disrupt breeding seasons
• Damage underwater habitats
• Respect the species and sizes of fish
• Respect the protected areas where hunting is prohibited
• Respect the distance of 300 meters from your boat to observe cetaceans
• Turn off your depth sounder and sonar in the observation area
8. Oils (petrol, diesel, motor oil, grease)
Asphyxiate living organisms !
• Less polluting engine
• Anti-overflow funnel for filling fuel tanks
• Beware of leaks (anti-spill funnel for filling outboard tanks)
• Absorbent cloths under the engines
• Choose a mobile pump
Still skeptical as to the impact your sailing might have on the environment? It can’t hurt to try and follow these guidelines if not for our Earth, at least to protect and respect local populations.
Are you a scientific expert or a well-known authority on the subject interested in sharing your experience on our blog? Please get in touch with us by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org