Michigan leads the nation in the boating business with more than one million registered boats--forty percent of Michigan residents are boaters. Those who appreciate and recognize the privilege of using waterways must work together to safeguard the environment and protect environmental resources for now and future generations.
What are the possible environmental impacts?
- Toxic agents, such as metals, pesticides, biocides, and antifouling agents associated with marine paints, accumulate in sediment, marine plants, and animals and are persistent in the marine environments.
- Effects are long term, even in small amounts, and can be dangerous to human health. Antifreeze sinks in water and settles in the sediment. Even in low doses, ethylene glycol is hazardous to humans, animals, and marine life.
- Oil and gas dissolve slowly in water and accumulate on particles in marine sediment. When disturbed, the sediment will release these contaminants, which are toxic to marine plants and animals. Some ingredients are carcinogenic and can cause mutations and birth defects.
- Most cleaning products, including household detergents and soaps, act as dispersants, contain mercury, and accumulate in sediment. They are toxic to marine plants and animals, impair breathing in fish, reduce oxygen in the water, and produce foam on water surfaces.
You can help our marine life by avoiding using these products. The Eco-Friendly Boater can participate in protecting our environment by practicing many pollution prevention and waste reduction actions. Tips include:
- Using environmentally-friendly boat paints.
- Eliminating in-water hull cleaning.
- Using phosphate-free, biodegradable cleaning agents.
- Avoiding topping off gasoline tanks to prevent gasoline from entering surface waters when refueling.
- Cleaning all mud and plant debris from the boat, trailer, propeller, live well, and anchors before leaving the boat launch, to prevent the spread of exotic species that cause severe habitat alteration and degradation.