Sustainable boat life

You who enjoy a life at sea, surely want to continue to savor a life on board with clean waters and healthy fish.

For this to be possible, you as a boat owner need to take care of the environment and the waters. Be extra careful when you are in water protection areas and in shallow bays.

Here is what you can do:

Keep the boat bottom free from marine growth

  • Do not use boat bottom paint, or antifouling, containing biocides to prevent marine growth. Biocide paints are prohibited in lakes and in Bottniska viken (the Gulf of Bothnia).
  • Find out if your boat is painted with toxic paint. This can be done by making a so called XRF-analysis or a chemical analysis from a scraped off paint sample.
  • Immediately remove old bottom paint containing the poisonous biocide TBT (tributyltin). Since 1989 it is forbidden to use this on recreational - and sport boats.

Use alternative methods such as:

  • Boat wash.
  • Clean the boat when it is in the water, special brushes are available.
  • Use powerturf.
  • Store small boats on land when not in use.
  • Hoist up on land and hand wash.
  • Lift the boat into port.
  • Sign up for Havstulpanvarning (barnacle warning) through Skärgårdsstiftelsen (the Archipelago Foundation).

Maintenance with protection for you and the environment

  • Protect your own health while sanding, scraping and blasting. The sanding dust is hazardous. Use protective gear such as masks, goggles and gloves.
  • Protect the ground when painting, changing oil and working with sanitation. Cover the whole boat while sanding, scraping and blasting. Use a sanding machine connected to a vacuum cleaner with good filtration.
  • Don´t wash your boat at the storage place if it is painted with biocide paint, or if you use environmentally harmful washing chemicals. But if you have removed the biocides from your boat and painted it with a hard, non toxic paint, you can wash the boat at the storage facility.

Use engines and energy with care

  • Choose alkylate gasoline or EcoDiesel. This is especially important when you drive in shallow waters.
  • Choose the most environmentally friendly engine possible when buying a new engine, such as an electric engine or a modern 4-stroke engine.
  • Optimize the boat and its propeller for best efficiency. Balance the cargo in the boat.
  • Keep a lower speed for lower fuel consumption and less emissions. The faster you drive, the greater the emissions.
  • Load electronics with solar cells instead of a power station.

Choose the right boat supplies

  • Change old hawsers and ropes that are beginning to wear down. Boating gear can release micro plastics that then spread in the environment.
  • Use the right kind of tarp. For instance, there is an ecofriendly kind which is thick and contains no heavy metals or toxic phthalates. Thin tarps are easily broken by the wind and spread in nature. Single use, disposable tarps made of shrink plastics are wasting resources and can also contribute to littering.
  • Ask in the store before buying new cushions, covers, and other textiles. They can contain both fluoride and flame retardants which are hazardous both for your health and the environment.

Keep the chemicals safe

  • Keep chemical products out of reach for children.
  • Store chemical products in their original packaging to reduce risk of confusion. This way you also have the right information handy if there would be an accident.
  • Choose eco branded products. Many chemical products are used for boats, such as detergents, waxes, and lubricants, so the risk is high that toxins are released into nature.
  • Use ignition paper instead of lighter fluid when starting a barbecue.
  • Collect the spills of paint, oils, glycols, and such, and turn it in to a toxic waste recycling facility. This includes paintbrushes and rags, and contaminated waste water.
  • Collect the glycol after winter storage. Glycol is very poisonous, both for humans and for the environment.

Choose the right kind of boat

  • Choose a boat that is good for the environment. Sailboats and rowboats are most environmentally friendly, and are run by renewable energy – wind and muscle power. A hull made of recycled aluminum is an ecofriendly choice.
  • If you are to buy a motorboat, choose one that is as environmentally friendly as possible. A small boat is better for the environment, and it is cheaper, both to buy and to maintain. A new 4-stroke engine is better than a 2-stroke engine.
  • Check out the second-hand market before buying a new boat. Find out if the boat is painted with toxic boat bottom paint.

Consider nature, beware of the seabed and do not spread alien species.

Boat traffic and anchoring lead to turbidity and erosion of sediments that can damage the bottom environment. Underwater noise from boat engines disturbs fish and mammals.

Shallow soft bottoms are an important environment for various vascular plants and crown algae, which in turn are important for many different fish species and crustaceans. These environments are extra sensitive.

  • Drive carefully in shallow areas.
  • If possible, moor at buoys instead of adding anchors.
  • Remember the basic rules in allemansrätten (the right of public access): Don´t disturb, don´t destroy. The right of public access is unique and need to be safeguarded.
  • Find out what applies in the specific area that you are visiting. In nature reserves there are general rules, and each nature reserve also has its own unique rules. The nature reserves of Grimsta, Sätra, Nacka, Rågsved, and Årsta can be reached by boat. Also the lake Flaten and Årsta holmar are nature reserves.
  • Be extra careful in the Archipelago special protection areas.

Reduce the spread of alien species

Mälaren is affected by the invasive species sea gold which grows so densely that it shadows the bottom and outcompetes other plants and animals. Sea gold is easily spread with the help of humans, every small part of the plant that floats away takes easily root elsewhere.

  • Do not go boating or canoeing in sea gold. Plant parts can get stuck in the boat and spread to new places.
  • Do not swim in sea gold. You can loosen plant parts that are spreading.
  • Consult with the County Administrative Board or the municipality before you fight sea gold yourself.
  • Report findings of invasive species.

Don´t litter

  • Barbeque only in designated areas or with your own small barbeque grill. Don´t use a single use grill - it generates unnecessary garbage.
  • Throw your waste in an appointed area. Sort out your waste also when you are on vacation. The possibilities for waste handling in the Archipelago is limited, so take the opportunity to discard your waste when returning to the mainland.
  • Avoid non-recyclables such as plastic cups and paper plates.
  • Don´t abandon a worn out boat - this is prohibited. Find out the rules around boat scrapping.

Washing up

  • Use eco labeled products when you do the dishes and wash yourself at sea.
  • Avoid detergents and hygiene products all together in shallow bays.
  • Don´t use dandruff shampoo with Zinkpyrition if you wash your hair in a lake or at sea, or in a shower not connected to a purification facility. Zinkpyrition is very toxic  for water organisms.
  • Choose an eco-friendly sunscreen. Sunscreens can contain substances that are toxic for your health and for water organisms.

On-board toilets

  • Choose a smart and manageable on-board toilet. A two chamber composting toilet needs to be emptied less often.
  • Pick eco-labeled products if you use sanitary fluids for the on-board toilet.
  • Empty the on-board toilet at a designated station. It is prohibited to empty toilets in lakes and seas, as it contributes to over-fertilization.
  • Don´t urinate in the water. Urine contributes to over-fertilization.
  • Leave no toilet paper or excrements in nature.
  • Use proper toilets when on land.