It�s that time of year again! Boat owners up and down the country will be bringing their motor boats out of hibernation and inspecting their hulls in preparation for the new season. Many boaters may be considering scrubbing off the old anti-foul and re-applying � cue �Collect, Protect, Dispose!�
The Green Blue is dedicating this week (16-20 March) to promoting anti-fouling best practice with their campaign, �Collect, Protect, Dispose.� Across the week, the environmental awareness programme will be sharing handy tips on both their social media pages and website detailing how you can make your anti-fouling as sustainable as possible.
Anti-fouling paints are, by their nature, a hazardous chemical mixture that is applied to prevent the build-up of marine organisms on the hull of a boat. Many anti-foul paints contain quantities of copper or zinc which, although helps preserve the hull from unwanted growth, can also poison and contaminate the surrounding marine life and their habitats.
Motor boat owners can play a vital role in minimising the risk to marine life from being inadvertently affected by anti-foul, particularly during the maintenance stage of the process. It is hoped that the �Collect, Protect, Dispose� campaign will raise awareness that remnants, such as copper scrapings and paint dust, travelling into the local sea during maintenance can be easily avoided if simple actions are taken by the boat owner.
There are of course, many benefits of applying anti-foul paint and some of them are environmental. A hull which has been kept clean by anti-foul reduces the drag on a boat, enabling it to move easier in the water and therefore making it more responsive when manoeuvring. A clean propeller that can rotate with ease is also far more effective than one that is clogged with algae. This decrease in drag then in turn improves the fuel efficiency of any motor boat.
Another environmental benefit of anti-foul paint is that it can reduce the spread of non-native invasive marine species from one area to another � a biodiversity issue which can cause major disruption to our ecosystem. Well maintained anti-foul coating also preserves the hull and increases the longevity of the vessel.
It is hoped that the �Collect, Protect, Dispose� campaign will raise awareness to all boaters of the simple steps that can be taken to reduce the impact of anti-fouling on the environment. An example of one of these steps is asking boaters to lay down a tarpaulin or groundsheet before starting work on their boat. This simple and inexpensive act can make a huge difference to the local wildlife. Not only does the tarpaulin protect the surface directly under the boat from paint spills but it also acts an effective instrument to collect and dispose of loose debris and scrapings from the boat.
During the �Collect, Protect, Dispose� week The Green Blue will be sharing many top tips and facts on anti-fouling best practice. They will also be asking for your recommendations and anti-fouling experiences � good or bad! To get involved with the campaign or to learn more about anti-fouling best practice follow The Green Blue on Facebook: @TheGreenBlue Twitter: @TheGreenBlue or visit thegreenblue.org.uk. Don�t forget to use the hashtag #CollectProtectDispose
The Green Blue is the joint environment initiative created by British Marine and the Royal Yachting Association to encourage a more sustainable recreational boating sector.
To find out more about The Green Blue visit www.thegreenblue.org.uk