Working through its industry partners and government, The Green Blue Project has promulgated its Environmental Code of Practice to advise marine related businesses, sailing clubs, and training centers on the interaction of environmental regulations and good business management. Key contributors to the document are the British Marine Federation (BMF), Royal Yacht Association (RYA), and United Kingdom Environmental Agencies.
Environmental Management Systems (EMS)
The Environmental Code of Practice is founded on the premise that boating’s use of the coastal waterfront and inland waters must be sustainable, that is development of boating needs in the present do not compromise use of natural resources by others in the future. Use of an Environmental Management System (EMS) by a marine related entity ensures that the organization complies with national environmental policies.
The starting point for implementation of a EMS is the development of an Environmental Policy Statement that outlines company recognition of environmental issues and actions to be taken in mitigating these concerns. There are at least two immediate benefits of adopting a policy statement; the first is active communication of an organization’s commitment to the environment, and secondly, a positive means of inadvertently violating environmental regulations.
Code sponsors make the case that utilizing the standard make good business sense. Arguments include prevention or reduction of future legislation through self-governance, direct operational savings through good management practices, improvements to organizational reputation, and preserving the boating environment for future users and customers. The Environmental Code of Practice identifies some key boating issues with the environment and offers practical solutions to mitigate them.
Key Boating Environmental Issues and Their Solutions
- Resource Efficiency – Resources in a business can take on a number of forms. Efficient use of energy, paper and water, reducing and managing solid wastes, preventing pollution from sources like anti-fouling paint, and transportation use can save money and help the environment
- Waste Management – Marine activities generate solid and liquid wastes. Much of the handling of these operational byproducts determines whether they can be recycled or ultimately become hazardous wastes. Reducing wastes and recycling wastes helps protect the environment and reduce costs for landfill disposal
- Managing Oils, Fuels, and Hazardous Materials – Releases of fuel and oil have a direct and negative impact on the marine environment. There are Best Management Practices (BMP) available for fuel storage and dispensing that greatly reduce the risk of harmful spills. Practices associated with boat washdown, cleaning and maintenance also reduce environmental impacts and lower the levels of hazardous wastes entering marine ecosystems
- Pontoons, Pilings and Moorings, and Slipways – Design and construction of vessel moorings effects their useable lifespan and their impact on the environment. There are design standards in place that can help lessen mooring facility maintenance and mitigate installation of new moorings
- Habitat and Water Management – Boat and mooring facility management can cause negative effects on the marine ecosystem. There are many means that industry can take like avoiding sensitive habitats and controlling nuisance weeds that can improve habitat
- Flood Risk Management – Moorings along inland waters are subject to flooding and owners can take measures like clearing culverts, preventing obstructions to water flow, and removing debris that can mitigate the risk of flooding
- Sewage and Waste Water Management – Sewage affects the natural demand for oxygen and can cause harmful algae blooms. Decomposing algae creates dead zones where other aquatic wildlife cannot survive. Proper treatment and disposal of waster water is necessary to protect marine ecosystems
Boating industry organizations should consider formulating an Environmental Policy Statement and communicating it to their customers and employees. The Green Blue Environmental Code of Practice is a perfect place to begin this important effort.