Boating in the Salish Sea
The Salish Sea is home to an astounding variety of wildlife, and one of the reasons we spend time on the water is to see these amazing creatures. However many species in this region are endangered, and wildlife in general is sensitive to disturbance from recreational boaters. Feeding and other behaviour critical to survival can be disrupted, birds often abandon their nests, anchors can damage sensitive habitat, and whales can be disturbed by engine noise.
With 700,000 recreational boaters plying BC waters, many in the Salish Sea region, there can be significant impacts on the marine environment, especially when we congregate in marinas and anchorages.
Impacts of recreational boating
Our work takes place in the traditional, ancestral and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples, and sometimes beyond those territories. We recognize that recreational boating can cause harm in First Nation territories and impact their rights, and we want to help eliminate that harm. We also want to help maintain the ecological health of the region that supports communities around the Salish Sea.
A variety of pollutants are released by our recreational boating activities, whether we are cruising, moored, at anchor, transporting or maintaining our boats. Lax regulations and a limited number of pump-out facilities along BC’s coastlines means that sewage and greywater are often dumped into the marine environment. Chronic fuel and oil spills from recreational boaters is one of the largest sources of hydrocarbon pollution in BC’s coastal waters. Toxic paint and maintenance products can enter our waters through carelessness and general use of our boats. Excessive wake can damage sensitive habitat, and invasive species can be transported from place to place with our boats.
Neglected boats can become a real hazard, not only to navigation and our safety, but also to the environment, as these derelict vessels release fuel and other toxins into the ocean.
Fortunately, there are solutions!
Georgia Strait Alliance’s Clean Marine BC Clean Boating program is here to help you find the facilities, services and information you need in order eliminate harm to coastal and inland waters, especially within the territories of indigenous peoples, in perpetuity.