A wildlife awareness message from The Green Blue


Boaters reminded to watch marine creatures responsibly

The Green Blue, the joint environment initiative between the RYA and British Marine, has marked Boating Wildlife Awareness Week with tips for recreational boaters on how to minimise disturbance to coastal wildlife.

All types of watercraft have the potential to cause disturbance in the marine environment, so The Green Blue offers boaters three simple steps to keep disturbance to a minimum:

  • See: Can you spot something in the distance, or is an inquisitive creature coming to get a closer look at you?
  • Evaluate: How many are there, how far away, are they moving towards or away from you, are there any mothers and young?
  • Act: Think about your speed, be steady, predictable, quiet and cautious.

Campaign Manager for The Green Blue, Kate Fortnam, says: �There is a wealth of wildlife for you to see and enjoy throughout the British Isles and off our extensive coastline, but a lot of these animals are vulnerable to disturbance if not approached in a responsible way that respects them and the habitats we all rely on to survive.

�We share the waters we use for our recreation with a wide range of birds, fish and cetaceans but the presence of boats should not necessarily have to mean disturbance to the local wildlife.

�It�s perfectly safe and lawful to view marine wildlife by adopting a few simple measures � acting responsibly and cautiously to minimise the risk of disturbance is always the safest course of action.

�If craft are handled with sensitivity there can be minimal or zero disturbance. Zoning of sensitive areas, speed restrictions, awareness of seasonal and geographical sensitivities, and education can all be used to mitigate the impact of boat use on wildlife.�

The following are a few of The Green Blue�s top tips for watching wildlife:

  • Try to keep 100 metres distance from wildlife when viewing.
  • If you do spot wildlife, slow down and talk quietly.
  • Only stay for 15 minutes to view before moving on.

Kate adds: �Whether you live inland or on the coast, we are all connected in some way to the ocean. Take the time to think about how the ocean affects you, and how you affect the ocean, and then organise or participate in activities that celebrate our ocean.

�By taking care of your backyard and helping in your community, you�re acting as a caretaker of our environment. Making small modifications to your everyday habits will make a difference, and involving your family, friends, and community will benefit our blue planet even more!�

For information on how to enjoy the wildlife you see while out boating and steps you can take to minimise your impact on it, see The Green Wildlife Guide for Boaters, or look on The Green Blue website. The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has also written guidance about marine wildlife disturbance.

In addition, by following The Green Blue guidance on related topics such as waste management, oil spill management and boat cleaning and maintenance, boat users can further reduce their impact on wildlife.

Follow @TheGreenBlue on social media.