Because we turn off our motors as often as we can, most sailors think of our sport as pretty environmentally friendly. I would agree in principle, but challenge everyone to do more.
Sailing events from your local beer can races to full on national regattas have impact. Single use plastics, engine exhaust, fouled bilge water, black water discharge, food waste…it all adds up and our actions directly affect the oceans and waterways we love. In fact, the UK Marine Special Areas Conservation Project has identified sailing as potentially more hazardous than other forms of boating because we tend to sail year round, rather than seasonally (because we’re glutton for punishment?)
So what can you do?
As a proponent of Sail MORE, I believe that we all have an obligation to leave our recreation areas cleaner than when we arrived. We can also make efforts at a personal and at a organizational level to eliminate the sources of waste and environmental impacts. For example, planning to use reusable water bottles rather than single use water bottles can be a personal decision. Your sailing organization can support that by having bottle refill stations available during a regatta or other event. If we change our tack now by thinking differently about our impact, we can preserve this earth for generations to come.
So how are YOU going to reduce your impact?