Leave only water in your wake

This page provides advice on how to enjoy the experience of boating, while ensuring you help safeguard the quality of the waterway environment.

The NSW boating community is fortunate to enjoy an abundance of beautiful waterways and foreshores. Over time, we’ve come to realise the limits that these environments can tolerate, and how close we are to those limits. We therefore as that each individual follows the best possible environmental practices when using and maintaining boats, on and around the water.

Sensible environmental practices in using and maintaining boats will go a long way towards preserving the aquatic environment for future generations.

Here are some suggestions on how to enjoy the experience of boating, while ensuring you help safeguard the quality of our fragile environment:

  • Make sure your boat and its engines are in good working order. Regularly check seals, gaskets, hoses and connections for leaks and drips
  • Take care when filling your fuel tank to avoid spillage into the water. If you overfill your fuel tank, wipe the spill up with a rag. Do not hose the fuel into the water
  • Install a holding tank (on small craft this could be as simple as using a portable caravan/camping toilet). Dispose of its contents at waste receiving facilities at boat ramps and marinas
  • Limit the amount of water you use in sinks and showers. Use low or non-phosphate soaps
  • Wipe cooking utensils and plates clean with a paper towel before washing-up
  • Take care where you anchor. Avoid seagrass beds as these are important fish habitats
  • Travel at speeds that avoid excessive wash. This may cause bank erosion, disturbance to sensitive river or seabed environments, or annoyance or danger to others
  • Keep your bilges clean in order to prevent pollutants being discharged overboard. Use an absorbent pad in the bilge to clean up oily water and always dispose of the absorbents appropriately
  • Understand and obey the restrictions for engine noise and amplified music that apply to your type of vessel. Consider noise in relation to the time and area in which you’re boating
  • Prevent the spread of exotic aquatic weeds, such as caulerpa taxifolia. Remove all plant fragments from trailers, props, anchors, ropes, chains and fishing tackle. Collect all pieces in a plastic bag, seal it and put the bag in a bin
  • Collect all rubbish on board (including cigarette butts) and properly dispose of it ashore
  • When possible, remove your boat from the water, and clean it, in areas where debris can be properly captured and disposed of
  • When your boat is being scraped or sanded, use a vacuum sander or place a drop sheet underneath to catch paint scrapings. Dust dispose of these carefully
  • When painting your boat’s hull, use the right paint for the job and be sure to carefully follow the application instructions. Check with a marine painting professional to determine if there are alternatives that are more environmentally-friendly.
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