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    Sunday, July 26, 2009

    What is Green Boating? Part II (Navigating Green Marketing in the Marine Industry)

    What is green boating? Is there such a thing as a green boat? To what degree does something have to be beneficial or less harmful to the environment to be considered green? Is a sailboat considered inherently green? Is a hybrid superyacht green? A wooden canoe made from salvaged timber, a kayak made from recycled plastic? Are environmentally preferable boating practices aboard a vessel enough to claim to be an eco-cruise? Is green boating an unattainable goal or a set of principles and actions we take with the best of intentions- 'to do no harm'?

    For centuries sailors ascribed to sustainable practices to survive long period of time at sea. Albeit sailors of yore had no mitigation for sewage treatment; they were able to survive for months at a time aboard ships using natural products, and navigating by only wind power, brawn, and intellect. Sailors had to be in tune with ocean currents, atmospheric conditions, and celestial bodies to navigate their way. Modern technology has supplanted much of our understanding and intimate relationship with the sea. As societies ascribe to a new consciousness that recognizes human impact on the environment, boaters are searching for alternative solutions to improve their environmental performance.

    Efficiency of systems aboard boats have always been considered to extract the furthest range and power from a vessel. As the clean tech/green tech revolution captures the attention of the marketplace, the marine industry and boat manufacturers have been ahead of the curve. The marine industry has not needed to wait for cues from the government to forge ahead with the clean-tech economy and green innovations. Sailors, boat builders, and manufacturers have for years been pressing the envelope of what is possible in sustainable designs, alternative locomotion, best management practices, and stewardship of our environment.

    Most products designed and built for ships have taken sustainability in mind from the first step of the design process long before being 'green' came into fashion. Products for the marine industry had to be rugged, durable, withstand the elements of the sea, and perform reliably. While the marketplace spins out cheap products for our disposable culture, most sailors understand the need for quality products that can last a lifetime.

    Many consider it greenwashing to tout environmental benefits of products that are already prerequisites required by regulatory laws. Non-profits were once the only ones who would stand against those making unsubstantiated and or misleading environmental marketing claims. Now governments are increasingly responding to deceptive environmental claims with serious penalties.

    Products or companies that use environmental marketing claims in the U.S. are subject to guidelines set by the Federal Trade Commission. Assertions of environmentally preferable traits or attributes may be subject to substantiation, and can create potential liabilities for those making the claims or selling the products. Green claims should provide substantive benefit to the environment, but compared to what, to doing nothing, to alternatives, or substitutes? Where is the balance struck between touting environmentally preferable products or services and just adding to the glut and confusion of the marketplace. Firms must weigh the benefits of environmental marketing with potential liabilities from such claims.

    Firms ascribing to such claims may also be held to higher standards of ethical scrutiny and evaluation. Those who make green product claims should be prepared to have all or their business practices and processes examined to determine if they are in line with their environmental policy or marketing claims. Corporate social responsibility is not independent of manufacturing, packaging, or marketing an environmentally preferable product or service. Those who ascribe to higher standards of ethicism on the environmental are often held accountable to ensure all of their business transactions take place in a socially acceptable and environmentally preferable manner.

    GREEN BOATING is dedicated to identifying and sharing knowledge which will help the marine industry protect the environment and stimulate sustainable innovations and designs. As we witness the greenwashing in the marketplace and the abuse of the good intentions boaters who wish to curb their impacts, we must be wary of those who seek to make a quick dollar from our good nature.

    Have you seen examples of Green Washing in the marine industry?

    Thursday, April 16, 2009

    Solar Splash 2009

    SOLAR SPLASH 2009 will be held this year in Fayetteville, Arkansas from June 27-31.

    SOLAR SPLASH is the World Championship of intercollegiate Solar/Electric boating. Officially called the "international intercollegiate solar/electric boat regatta," the event takes place over five days. Technical Inspections on the first day, are followed by five on-the-water competitive events held over the remaining days. Points are earned in 7 categories starting with Technical reports that are submitted before teams arrive at the competition. On-site competitions categories include Visual Displays and Workmanship. On-the-water events begin with a Sprint and a Maneuverability qualifier. This is followed by an event called the Solar Slalom, which is a combination of speed and maneuverability. The final days are spent in the Sprint and Endurance events.

    The first SOLAR SPLASH in 1994 was held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and hosted by Marquette University. In 2000 the event moved to New Orleans to drum up interest from more southern teams, and then to Buffalo, New York, from 2001-2005. Solar Splash will be held in Fayetteville, Arkansas on beautiful Lake Fayetteville from 2006-2010.

    SOLAR SPLASH is a practical educational experience, which helps to develop teamwork and inter-disciplinary skills. An entry can typically be pulled together in one school year at a cost of about $5,000.

    Special thanks to Jeff Morehouse, Organizer of Solar Splash 2009 for providing information and photos. For more info on the SOLAR SPLASH visit their website at

    Monday, April 6, 2009

    What is GREEN BOATING?: Part I

    What is GREEN BOATING? When I began the GREEN BOATING venture in 2007 I believed that there were opportunities to begin to address the environmental impacts of the marine industry. Boaters are not just passengers on our waterways but stewards of our marine environment. As those afforded the greatest benefit of these bodies of water that kiss our cheek when our bow casts its spray, we must understand the need to protect the balance of these ecosystems. For many centuries man has thought of the oceans and lakes as vast resources and sinks, where we could submerge our careless actions. As we begin to analyze and understand the data that scientists are observing from our oceans and waterways it is increasingly clear that we must confront our personal behavior and begin to mitigate our impacts if we are to preserve the beauty of our life on the water. There are many actions a boater may take, and products or innovations which can be adopted, but the biggest step one can take is to change the way you think. We must consider the impact each of our intended actions will have and determine if there are ways in which we can mitigate these effects. It is the supreme challenge of our generation, and perhaps our race.

    The mission of GREEN BOATING is to create an open source for information on environmentally preferable boating designs, products, and practices for the marine industry. GREEN BOATING is dedicated to identifying and sharing knowledge which will help protect the marine environment.

    If you would like to find out more about GREEN BOATING please contact me at

    Monday, March 30, 2009

    EPA Proposes Tougher Emission Standards for Large Maritime Vessels

    The United States announced today its intention of instituting emission control standards for container ships, bulk carriers, and cruise ships in an attempt to mitigate expected environmental impacts from increased maritime shipping in the coming years. The US proposed a 230 mile buffer zone around the nation's coastline in an effort to improve air quality. For more information go to EPA Oceangoing Vessels Emissions Control Area Proposal

    Friday, March 20, 2009

    List of 13 Things to Curb Your Environmental Impact When Boating

    These USA EPA Boating Pollution Prevention Tips can help to curb environmental impacts when boating. Please boat responsibly.

    Limit engine operation at full throttle.
    Eliminate unnecessary idling.
    Avoid spilling gasoline.
    Use a gasoline container you can handle easily and hold securely.
    Pour slowly and smoothly.
    Use a funnel or a spout with an automatic stop device to prevent overfilling the gas tank.
    Close the vent on portable gas tanks when the engine is not in use or when the tank is stored.
    Transport and store gasoline out of direct sunlight in a cool, dry place.
    Use caution when pumping gasoline into a container at the gas station.
    Carefully measure the proper amounts of gasoline and oil when refueling.
    Follow the manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedule.
    Prepare engines properly for winter storage.
    Buy new, cleaner marine engines.

    Hmm...I like that last one, its time to innovate.
    What are some of your tips?

    For more information go to EPA Pollution Protection Tips

    Tuesday, March 10, 2009

    Vessel Cleaning and Maintenance Tips from USA's National Park Service's Green Marina Initiative

    Clean Carefully
    ✓Wash your boat frequently with a sponge or nonabrasive pad and plain water. This approach is very effective at removing salt. Additional “elbow-grease” may be required to remove stains.
    ✓When detergents are necessary, use those that are phosphate-free, biodegradable, and non-toxic. Use soaps and detergents sparingly, because even non-toxic products can be harmful to wildlife. For example, detergents destroy the natural oils on fish gills, limiting their ability to extract dissolved oxygen from the water.
    ✓Wax your boat, if appropriate. A good coat of wax prevents surface dirt from becoming ingrained.
    ✓Clean teak with a mild soap and abrasive pads or bronze wool. This method is safe for the environment and better for the boat than the solvents found in standard teak cleaners, which tend to damage both wood
    and seam compounds.
    ✓Avoid detergents that contain ammonia, sodium hypochlorite, chlorinated solvents, petroleum distillates, or lye.
    ✓Try some of the alternative cleaning products listed on the reverse side of this page.

    Maintain Mindfully
    ✓Collect all paint chips, dust, and residue. Dispose of in trash.
    ✓Share leftover paint and varnish rather than storing it or throwing it out.
    ✓Leave empty paint cans open to dry out before disposing of them.
    ✓Use less toxic propylene glycol antifreeze instead of ethylene glycol.
    ✓Select a bottom paint developed for the mid-Atlantic region and apply the proper amount. Do not overapply.

    Recycle Regularly
    ✓Recycle used oil, oil filters, and antifreeze.
    ✓Bring used solvents and waste gasoline to collection points on local hazardous-waste collection days.
    ✓Ask your marina manager for locations of recycling centers and information about hazardous waste collection days.

    Click here for the full US NPS Green Marina Guidebook

    Saturday, March 7, 2009

    Find Green Boating on Facebook

    The Green Boating Facebook Group is growing strong show your support by joining.

    Click on the Green Boating icon below to visit our group.

    ...and make sure you look for our Facebook page...
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    Monday, January 26, 2009

    Green Boating Twitter Feeds

    I will be switching to twitter feeds to update news on Green Boating. This should make everybody's life a lot easier. Fingers crossed. Check out the feed here:

    Green Ship Technology Conference 2009 in Hamburg Germany

    Green Ship Technology Conference 2009 in Hamburg Germany, March 24 & 25.