Did you know 80 percent of ocean pollution comes from land? Whether it be through fuel runoff, plastic debris or cigarette butts, it’s all greatly affecting marine life. It’s important to be a conscious boater and make an effort to protect the oceans.  Unfortunately, ocean pollution will continue to affect our environment—but conservation efforts will fight to combat these issues.

As a boater, here are a few things that you can do to help protect and save our oceans:

  1. Keep all your trash on the boat and dispose of it safely when you are back on land.

  2. Did you know the copper paint used on the bottom of your boat is polluting the ocean? Choose a non-toxic paint and try to store your boat dry so there isn’t excessive paint coming off.

  3. Learn proper anchoring techniques to minimize damage done to coral reefs, seagrass and fish beds.

  4. Fuel is extremely toxic to marine life because it disrupts the balance between nutrients,  oxygen and clean water. To reduce this damage it is essential to have some sort of oil absorbent pad in your bilge to prevent oil leaks.

What can you do as a boater to help keep our oceans clean? Read on to find out...

Ocean pollution in our world today

In today's world, garbage is mistaken as seaweed, and green, murky water is now overtaking the area's that have been traditionally clear and bright. The waterways of the world have started getting overcrowded with human waste, and boating has taken a hit as a result. Navigating the world’s waterways should be an exciting challenge and something boating enthusiasts enjoy doing. But now, boaters are facing new challenges. Plastic and other human-waste products are making it difficult for boaters to enjoy the beauty of our seas, and the longevity and performance of boats are also suffering.

As much of a problem as water pollution has become around the world, boaters sometimes forget to consider their impact in conservation efforts. Even one piece of non-biodegradable material tossed from the side of a boat can add up and make our ocean a little less enjoyable.

Conservation efforts by the marine industry

While there are many pollution issues affecting the world’s oceans, there are also companies making real conservation efforts in order to create a positive change and impact. Guy Harvey and Yamaha are two noteworthy organizations leading the charge for change.

Most coastal ocean lovers know Guy Harvey, but not all are aware of the action the company has taken to ensure a better future for the our oceans. Guy Harvey has created both The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF) and the Guy Harvey Research Institute. According to their mission statements, these groups are global leaders in tagging and tracking pelagic fish, which includes sharks and billfish. Additionally, The GHOF conducts scientific research and provides educational programs with a focus on conserving the marine environment. The GHOF hopes that through these programs it will help ensure a naturally balanced ocean ecosystem in the future, that generations can continue to enjoy. Guy Harvey shoppers can also purchase a special edition ‘Protect Our Oceans’ license plate and proceeds from the purchase benefit the research work of GHOF. Water lovers can buy these mahi-mahi decorated license plates at all Florida tax collectors offices or online. Additionally, the GHOF works to fund academic scholarships and create educational curricula in order to create a new generation of ocean conservationists.

Now on to the the consumer looking for the most reliable professional products and accessories, they know to go to Yamaha Marine—however, what they might not know is that not only does the company provide exemplary technology, it also takes conservation efforts very seriously. Yamaha Marine Group has donated to and supports various ocean conservation efforts. The Center for Coastal Studies, which focuses on humpback whale science, conservation and stewardship received an F300 outboard from Yamaha Marine. The center also focuses on right whales, which are one of the world’s most endangered large whales, and is in charge of the Marine Animal Entanglement Response program. This program helps disentangle marine species located along the coast and they help educate responders around the world. According to Yamaha, Yamaha Marine is proud to support the Center for Coastal Studies, as the company values conservation and stewardship of all marine resources. Yamaha Marine’s code of ethics states its dedication to becoming familiar with biology and ecology of waters and species of fish, taking care and not injuring wildlife, treating and handling caught fish with respect, keeping only the fish that is needed, and advocating for fishery protection.

Companies in the boat industry like Guy Harvey and Yamaha ensure that through each conservation effort, future generations will be able to enjoy the ocean and all of its resources for years to come.

To learn more about ocean pollution and what you can do to stay green while boating, read Of Coastal Cleanups and Green Boating.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in April 2018 and updated in March 2019.