That’s why a BC environmental group has been working with boaters for 14 years to help keep local waters clean for generations to come. The Georgia Strait Alliance (GSA) will have a booth again at this year’s Vancouver International Boat Show to help recreational boaters prevent pollution and help sustain local waterways. The boat show runs from January 22 to 26, 2014 at BC Place.The non-profit organization has distributed more than 90,000 copies of its “Guide to Green Boating” and thousands more copies have been downloaded from its website. The booklet outlines environmental practices for boaters such as where to dispose of harmful substances and safe cleaning agents.GSA also runs an eco-rating program for BC marinas and boat facilities where they are independently audited to certify them as meeting a broad range of strong ecological standards. Nine marinas have received the “Clean Marine BC” rating so far and 12 others are considering the audit.
The Executive Director of the Georgia Strait Alliance, Christianne Wilhelmson, says it’s all part of the environmental group’s greater mandate.
“We want to protect Georgia Strait and promote it as a sustainable place for British Columbians to work, live and play,” says Wilhelmson, “Boaters share those values and are very interested in knowing how to be more environmentally responsible on the water.”
The program has been recognized twice by the Canadian Safe Boating Council for playing an important role in keeping coastal waters healthy by working with boaters to show them simple and inexpensive measures to prevent harm to the environment.
Wilhelmson says environmental awareness is very strong in the boating community. “We’ve come a long way from the days when holding tanks were flushed directly into the Strait,” she says, “boaters today are as concerned about the environment as anyone and welcome ways to protect it.”