Negative Impacts of Boating

Boating and motor boats have contributed to many different detrimental effects on the aquatic life of our oceans, lakes, and ponds. There is much that boating does to negatively effect the environment today and throughout history. As travel with boats has developed throughout history there has been many negative environmental impacts of traveling across the water.

As people have used boats for both transport of goods and people, much has been carried along with those boats unintentionally. Boating across the ocean has contributed historically to the introduction of many invasive species. Also, in fresh water, the movement of one body of water to the next has introduced many different invasive species. Here in my home state of New Hampshire an aquatic invasive that has plagued the freshwater ecosystems here is Milfoil. The Milfiol plant destroys these fresh water ecosystems by reproducing at extreme rates; which in turn helps them out compete other plants in the ecosystem for both nutrients and sunlight, killing native biodiversity.Other than the spread of invasive species boating has caused many other issues for aquatic ecosystems. Putting boats into bodies of water has caused the accumulation of toxic materials to the living organisms of these ecosystems.

  • Oil/ Gas
  • Plastics
  • Trash liter
  • Paint chips (Historically containing lead)
  • Metals
  • Other debris

As more and more people put boats in the water the contaminants inputted to these ecosystems only accumulate to higher levels. The hazardous materials inputted to aquatic systems are very difficult to extract and are very dangerous to the life of aquatic organisms. As these materials enter the ecosystem eventually they enter the organisms that live here. The toxic materials that enter organism bodies cause a phenomena known as “bioaccumulation”; this means that the toxic chemicals ingested by organism are not digested or passed through their body. They stay within the tissues of that organism and build up asĀ  ore of that chemical is ingested. As a predator eats this organisms it gains the chemicals that were accumulated in the prey. An example of this in a food that many eat weekly is tuna. The mercury concentration in the oceans is rising and as tuna ingest more mercury than ever before, we too are gaining higher mercury concentrations in ourselves.

Adidas has begun to make efforts to cleaning up waste in our oceans and has created the “parley initiative”.

Its undoubtedly true that boating has had more than 1 negative impact to the different aquatic ecosystems around the world. Much can be done to prevent some of these issues for happening, for example prevent leaks in boat fuels and other chemicals to the water, don’t liter into the oceans, and clean your boat before launching it into another body of water. Overall staying conscious of the materials you bring aboard with you will help prevent the input of hazardous materials into aquatic ecosystems.

(For more information on different boating pollutants and their environemntal impacts visitĀ http://ucanr.edu/sites/coast/files/59476.pdf)