As passionate sailors, we want to ensure we’re looking after the beautiful destinations, oceans, wildlife and communities that Australia has to offer, while also minimising our footprint.
We all have an important part to play in ensuring a sustainable future for our planet’s ocean and there are steps you can take to help ensure our oceans can enjoyed for generations to come.
1. Sails up, sail green! Minimise the motor
Sailing is the most sustainable (and exciting!) way to travel, so if the prevailing conditions are suitable, hoist the mainsail and unfurl the jib!
2. Anchor with care
Anchoring without care can damage plants and other marine life on the seafloor. Ensure you anchor in water deep enough to avoid grounding your vessel with tide change. If possible, anchor in sand or mud and avoid delicate ecosystems.
3. Give sea life space
Spotting wildlife when cruising is one of the most enjoyable things to experience when sailing. If you approach wildlife while under motor, slow down. Try to maintain a distance of around 1km from wildlife in and on the water or on cliffs, beaches and rocky outcrops where wildlife might be feeding, resting or breeding.
4. Leave only footprints
Do your bit by picking up any litter when you see it and ensure you responsively dispose of your rubbish, taking time to leave no trace.
5. Throw nothing overboard
It goes without saying that no waste should be thrown overboard. Throwing things overboard, such as rubbish or plastics, is illegal under international and Australian law. Instead, try to remove larger pieces of plastic that you might come across in the water.
6. Minimise your plastic
As consumers, the less plastic we consume, the less these products are found to be economically viable to produce. Whenever possible, choose cardboard or paper products that can be recycled or composted and avoid disposable cutlery or plastic straws. Opt for a reusable bottle or mug and become a strong advocate by spreading the word. For every change you make, challenge and encourage someone else to do the same!
7. Use eco-friendly and fair-trade products
From the Great Barrier Reef to Rottnest Island, Australia's destinations are home to spectacular coral reefs ideal for snorkelling and diving. Standard sunscreens and cosmetics often use ingredients which can be harmful to coral reefs and marine life, so look out for eco-friendly alternatives that specify they are "reef safe".
8. Use facilities on land wherever possible
Ensure you have a holding tank onboard and use it when this is not possible. Use eco-friendly toilet cleaners and recycled toilet paper.
9. Shower quickly and ashore where possible
To save water and minimise pollution.
10. Empty tanks far from land
Each country has different rules about this so make sure you check before you set sail. Depending on where you moor up for the night you may be able to use a pump out facilities at the marina or port, otherwise discharge back waters while underway in deep water.
Original Article: Sunsail