Seven sustainable sailing tips

Sailing requires a certain degree of responsibility. Avoiding use of plastics and respecting flora and fauna are just some of the vital measures for preserving marine ecosystems.

1. Zero waste. Your boat is your home on the water and any waste should stay inside it. Nothing goes into the sea. In addition, it is important to reduce the use of plastic during your voyage, and make sure that you have a rubbish container to hand. If there are smokers on board, they need to be attentive and extremely careful about where they throw away cigarette ends.

2. Use ecological sunscreen. When you are sailing or want to get tanned on the beach, always choose sunscreen products that respect the environment. Eco-friendly sunscreens protect your skin and at the same time, they do not pollute the water. This type of cream, with the guarantee of scientific testing, does not contain oxybenzone, an active chemical that endangers marine fauna and coral reefs, and on the label you will see an official seal showing the ‘Eco’ emblem.

3. Dive as an observer. Diving into the depths of the sea and immersing yourself into its profound, extensive and mysterious universe generates adrenaline, because of the fauna and flora that live there. To benefit the environment, we need to take on the role of a mere observer, without interrupting or disturbing marine life.

4. Be careful of posidonia. It is forbidden to anchor above this plant, which is endemic to the Mediterranean and an unequivocal sign of the quality of the water. Its function is to fix the sediment on the seabed thanks to its mesh of horizontal stalks and rhizomes. It prevents erosion, exerts pressure on the ground and dampens the waves that reach the coast. Technology can be a great help in this case. If the captain does not know where there are posidonia meadows, there are some precise mobile apps that indicate which areas are suitable for anchoring. If you are sailing without a skipper, you should do some research to find out before setting off.

5. Sustainable design. Ecological vessels are also more or less sustainable depending on their design. In this regard, the more aerodynamic the boat is, one can take advantage of gusts of wind, using less fuel.

6. Use ecological boats. Boats are a significant cause of environmental pollution. Maritime transport represents 3% of CO2 emissions, which is why ecological boats are emerging as an overriding need. In this regard, several pioneering models run on alternative energy sources, like solar or wind, to fuel the engines. Greenline Yachts is a manufacturer that designed a hybrid propulsion system comprised of a diesel engine and an electric engine based on lithium batteries. These are complemented with solar panels located on deck. Skysails, on the other hand, is the company that has managed to make efficient ecological vessels using wind power.

7. Bilge cleaning. Bilge liquids are a dangerous waste material for the marine environment. The harbour you moor at should be prepared to take in your waste in a way that is both safe and respectful of the sea. Bilge water is the affluent generated during sailing, repairs or boat maintenance. Generally speaking it comes from seawater and consists of a mixture of oil, detergent and fuel. It accumulates inside the hull, at the bottom of the boat. It is very important not to empty the bilges out during navigation!