The Ohio Sea Grant Program urges boaters traveling the state’s waterways take the Ohio Clean Boater Pledge.
Best Boater Practices are the first steps to a successful Clean Marinas Program in Ohio. Next time you’re boating, make the following a habit:
Fuel and engine maintenance
• When filling your boat’s gas tank, avoid spilling or overflowing gasoline into the water. Don’t top off your tank.
• Keep your boat’s engine well tuned. Make sure your motor doesn’t leak gas or oil into the water. Don’t drain engine fluids into the water.
• Remove oil from your bilge water before discharge; an oil absorbent bilge cushion can help in this effort.
• Flush winterizing agents and antifreeze from the engine prior to launch each season and dispose of properly. Do not use ethylene glycol antifreeze in your boat; use only propylene glycol winterizing agents.
Boat painting and cleaning
• Use environmentally friendly products on your boat, such as non-phosphate detergents, biodegradable products, and a scrub brush.
• Use legal bottom paints; avoid toxic TBT paints. Treat bottom paint chips as hazardous waste.
• Properly dispose of hazardous products. Avoid the use of wood preserver, paint thinners, etc. on or near water.
• Secure trash in a garbage receptacle on board and dispose of it properly on shore. If disposing at a marina, follow their recycling rules.
• Do not discharge human waste directly into the water. If you have an installed or portable toilet, use the nearest pump-out or dump station. If not, buy a toilet.
• Minimize disposable plastic products brought on board and do not dispose of plastics in the water. Plastic products in the water can be harmful to aquatic birds and animals, tangle boat props, clog intakes and litter beaches.
• Never discard fishing line overboard.
• Never throw cigarette butts overboard.
• Never dispose of fish waste in the water. Fish waste may be disposed of as sanitary or solid waste.
• Proceed slowly in shallow areas to avoid stirring up sediment.
• Do not transfer bait fish from one body of water to another. Biological pollution of non-native species is a serious problem.
• Remove zebra and quagga mussels, aquatic plants and other aquatic nuisance species from your boat before transporting by washing down your boat and flushing cooling water lines.
The Ohio Clean Boater Program is a proactive partnership designed to encourage marinas and boaters to use simple, innovative solutions to keep Ohio's coastal and inland waterway resources clean. Learn more about Best Boating Practices at www.ohiocleanboater.osu.edu.