April is here, and it is finally feeling like spring throughout much of the country. The air and water temperatures are warming up as the days continue to get longer. April is also a good time to do something nice for your local park or waterway as this month is Keep America Beautiful Month and Earth Day is celebrated on April 22. If you’re looking for something to do to help keep our waterways clean, check out these five suggestions from the Sea Tow Foundation.
- Carry drinks in reusable bottles and pack snacks in washable containers to eliminate trash. Plastic bottles and bags are one of the main sources of trash in the water and many marine animals often confuse them for food and get entrapped or suffocate.
- Pick up litter or debris as you find it in the waterway and along the banks or beaches. You can even sign up for a river or beach cleanup with a local organization in your area, such as a school, college or civic group.
- Clean your boat before trailering it to another body of water to prevent the spread of invasive plant and animal species. Most marinas have an area near the boat ramp where boaters can use a hose to wash off their boats, but a sponge and bucket will work just as well before you drive away.
- When doing maintenance on your boat, dispose of oil, gasoline and other chemicals in a responsible manner and never pour them down a drain or into the water. Your local government officials should be able to tell you where to take these chemicals so that they don’t wind up in a landfill or in the drinking supply.
- Inspect the entire boat before each trip and keep it clean using biodegradable cleansers. If you notice any engine or bilge leaks, get them addressed immediately before your boat has a problem or you are fined for violating the Federal Water Pollution Act.
For more information and additional tips, visit www.boatingsafety.com.
What are your family’s tips for keeping the waterways you love and use clean? Please share them in the comments below.