Features

May 2009 Issue

Eco-friendly Boat Maintenance

Green marine products and practices for maintaining boat engines, bilges, and boat interiors.

Practical Sailor’s May 2008 issue looked at green practices in marine maintenance outside the hull. This spring, we look at eco-friendly products and techniques for the boat interior. We focus on areas belowdecks where we can reduce our impact on the environment. Proper disposal of petrol fluids used in most inboard engines—fuel, lubricant oil, and transmission fluid—is paramount. Preventing engine fluid spills by using careful filling techniques is key, as are careful preparation for a possible spill and proper cleanup should a spill occur. The best products we found for preventing oil spills and cleaning up oil spills include 3M Sorbent Pads and MDR Oilzorb Engine Pads; Jabsco Oil-Changing System; and the Vetus Bilge Water/Oil Separator. We recommend RydLyme Marine and Barnacle Buster for a green descaling of a boat’s heat exchanger. Eco-friendly bilge cleaners that we recommend include CRC Industries’ Big Bully Natural Orange Bilge Cleaner, Clean Water Solutions’ Microbial Powder, Star brite’s Sea Safe Biodegradable Bilge Cleaner, and Star brite’s Super Orange Bilge Cleaner. Eco-friendly soaps and detergents recommended for green cleaning include Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds and some cleaners in the Simple Green, Spray Nine, and Thetford Marine lines. And, don’t forget plain old blue Windex.

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