7 eco sailing tips for more environmentally friendly and sustainable boating

Mar 18, 2021 BY Luke Rees

Do you love the sailing and boating of all kinds? Unfortunately, exploring the ocean can be very destructive for the very environment we all love. So we’ve pulled together 7 eco sailing tips for more environmentally friendly and sustainable boating to help reduce your impact.

7 eco sailing tips pixabay royalty free image

Why environmentally friendly sailing?

The planet is currently in a state of disrepair. And while the coronavirus pandemic may have stolen the headlines over the last year, climate change is a pressing issue in dire need of addressing.

Polar ice caps are substantially smaller than they used to be. Atmospheric carbon dioxide is at an all-time high and the sea levels are steadily rising year on year.

In other words, if we don’t do something about it soon, we may have left it too late. In theory, higher sea levels and warmer temperatures would seem good for boat sports. But the increased storms, coral bleaching and mass ecological destruction that come with this mean the oceans we love are under threat.

More Sustainable Boating

So, how exactly can you help? And is there anything you can do to work towards being more eco-friendly and sustainable while out on the water?

Yes there is! There’s plenty you can do to help and you shouldn’t wait until you have to. You can start making changes straight away with these eco sailing tips!

top tips for yacht hire sailing cape kaliakra Bulgaria Royalty free image by pxfuel

And don’t restrict your eco push to more environmentally friendly and sustainable boating. There are plenty of things you can do in everyday life to reduce your environmental impact. Also follow these eco-friendly adventure tips to ensure your outdoor activities are as green as possible. But how can we reduce our impact on the water?

7 eco sailing tips

Highlighted below are some of the best tips for more environmentally friendly and sustainable boating. They will hopefully help to encourage you to play your part in protecting the oceans and improving the planet we all have to share.

Upgrade Your Propulsion System

Cars are well known for pumping out harmful chemicals into the atmosphere. But the systems that boats – even those mainly sailed under wind power – use aren’t a whole lot better. You only have to look back to Mauritius or Deepwater Horizon oil spill to understand why.

As such, taking the time to refine and upgrade your boat’s existing system could significantly decrease its associated environmental impact. In fact, improper engine maintenance is one of the major causes of oil and gas pollution in the first place.

But rather than sticking to the old gas-based motor systems, why not instead think about upgrading to a more environmentally friendly option? Perhaps look into getting an electrically-controlled propulsion motor instead.

top tips for yacht hire sunrise sailing Kefalonia, Greece Royalty free image by Pixabay

These systems are not only smoother, quieter and offer improved manoeuvrability but they are also a lot less damaging on the environment. They require minimal maintenance and, due to a decreased number of moving parts involved, are easier to repair.

What’s more, following the change in government regulations demanding the conversion to sustainable propulsion, it might be better to do it sooner rather than later. Otherwise, the overall costs involved could drastically increase with an increased level of demand later on.

Utilise Renewable Energy

While on the topic of upgrading to an electric motor you should also look at your power source. You can take your level of sustainability a whole lot further by powering it with a form of renewable energy.

Whether it be wind or solar, these sources of power mean you won’t need to purchase expensive fuel all the time. Plus of course you won’t be churning out harmful pollutants into both the sea and atmosphere each time you need to use the motor.

Furthermore, electrically-powered boats are silent compared to traditional motors. Meaning you will avoid contributing to noise pollution so you can get closer to wildlife and have a more peaceful ride. If you make boating more sustainable through quieter renewable power your sailing holidays will become a whole lot more enjoyable and relaxing.

7 eco sailing tips for more environmentally friendly and sustainable boating pixabay royalty free image

Avoid Spilling Pollutants

It doesn’t matter what type of boating you are into, you should know full well about how dangerous oil and other pollutants are to the marine environment.

Not only are they extremely harmful to aquatic fauna and flora, but they are also notoriously difficult to clean up and can significantly impact bird populations. As such, it’s important to make a conscious effort to act as carefully as possible when working with these chemicals, to avoid unintentionally spilling them.

In order to do this most effectively, follow the eco sailing tips below:

  • Avoid fuelling your boat while moving on the water. Instead, try to do it when you are docked.
  • Avoid overfilling your gasoline tank. This could both make you waste money and potentially cause an accidental overflow.
  • Make sure to check there are no spills, fractures or cracks in any of your tanks or jerry cans before setting off.

Invest In A Composting Toilet

Depending on the length of the trip you’re planning on embarking on, it’s important to consider every potential eventuality. And that includes how to correctly dispose of your human waste.

buying the best marine VHF radios for water sports sailing image by Pixabay

As you should know already, throwing untreated sewage into the water within three miles of the shore is a criminal offence. And, further out where it’s not illegal, you still shouldn’t do it anyway!

Instead, you should think about investing in a composting toilet. These devices work by transforming human waste into a form of compost.

The anaerobic action of bacteria removes harmful polluting microorganisms from the sewage. Once this process has been complete, the compost can then be used as a fertiliser. It can support the growth of trees, crops and plants, offering a highly sustainable way of using your poo to help the planet.

Dispose Of Rubbish Correctly

Human waste is one thing, but actual rubbish is another problem. Landfill sites all across the planet are overflowing and causing methane pollution. So first and foremost we all need to reduce our total level of waste. Reuse, recycle and make better decisions about what we buy and the packaging that comes with it.

And when it comes to being out on the sea, make sure you dispose of all your refuse correctly. It’s absolutely fine to have a few beers or bottles of wine while enjoying the tranquillity of the ocean. But rather than tossing your rubbish overboard, take the empty bottles back with you and recycle them properly.

More environmentally friendly and sustainable boating pixabay royalty free image

While it may sound incredibly simple, sea-based littering is a real problem. There is already an unprecedented amount of plastic in the oceans. So one of the top eco sailing tips is for boat users everywhere to stop contributing to the problem, whether intentionally or not.

Clean Your Boat Sustainably

The products you use to clean your boat could actually be a significant source of pollution as they find their way into the water and atmosphere around you. So when it comes to cleaning your boat before or after your trip, try to do so with greener products.

There are plenty of eco-friendly alternatives to choose from. The days of having to rely on unsustainably sourced soaps or marine damaging detergents should be a thing of the past.

Alternatively, try and avoid using any products at all! Simply using freshwater, a couple of sponges and plenty of elbow grease, you can quickly get your boat shining again.

Eco-Friendly Boat Protection

One of the best eco sailing tips is to protect your vessel using products that are safe for the marine environment. If you seriously want more environmentally friendly and sustainable boating then carefully consider which lubricants and protectants you use.

Lanoguard makes a range of products that provide better protection and lubrication for marine equipment while being more eco-friendly. Made from lanolin and other natural products Lanoguard products are marine safe, easy to apply and very long lasting. They defend against rust, corrosion and electrolysis and provide water proofing.

More Sustainable Sailing

There is an onus on all of us as individuals to do our bit to protect the planet. Whether that be during everyday life, while at work or out on a boat trip. The eco sailing tips listed above are fairly easy to do. It will cost a little more, particularly updating your propulsion, but more environmentally friendly and sustainable boating should be your goal.

If you love the ocean, lakes or waterways of this world then surely you’d like to protect them? Don’t leave it to others to improve the environment do everything you can to help. Then you can tell future generations that you did your part.

Please note this article has Amazon affiliate marketing links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Please check out our other sailing articles for more useful ideas.


Adventure Cruising, Sailing, Yacht Charter
eco, Environmentally Friendly, Green
Top 10s

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Related Articles


NW Italy trekking holiday: 4 best treks in Aosta Valley

The highest peaks of the Alps are a big draw for hikers. Most people head to France to experience them, but you can also take in its splendour on a NW Italy trekking...

Activities: Trekking
Destinations: Alps Aosta Valley Courmayeur +
Read Article

Review of H1 Pro Lifa base layers: Helly Hansen seamless thermals

I have been testing outdoor gear for many years and this is the first time I have produced a his and hers article. My wife and I never buy the same gear, but by...

Destinations: N/A
Read Article

Review of ibis Styles NEC: Convenient Birmingham Airport Hotel

Are you looking for a convenient Birmingham Airport Hotel for an early departure, or late arrival, flight? Or perhaps you want accommodation near the NEC for an...

Activities: Multi Activity
Destinations: Birmingham England Europe +
Read Article

Newsletter sign up