Home » Protect Collect Dispose returns 14 – 18 March

Protect Collect Dispose returns 14 – 18 March

Anti-fouling paints are, by their nature, a hazardous chemical mixture that once applied to a boat can keep the boat’s hull clean but can be detrimental to the marine organisms that encounter the boat. Surrounding marine life can also be negatively affected when the paint becomes flaked and chipped.


The Green Blue is dedicating the 14 – 18 March to promoting anti-fouling environmental best practice with the campaign, ‘Protect, Collect, Dispose.’ The campaign was first launched in partnership with the British Coatings Federation, The Yacht Harbour Association and The Green Blue in 2017 and has grown year-on-year.


Across the campaign week, The Green Blue will be sharing handy tips across their social media pages on how you can make your next anti-fouling process as seamless and as sustainable as possible.


We can all start with small changes, when preparing to anti-foul your boat you could ask your local chandlery for the most environmentally friendly paint which is suitable for your boat, and boating environment. Many anti-foul paints contain quantities of copper or zinc which, although helps preserve the hull from unwanted growth, can also poison and contaminate the surrounding marine life and their habitats. Non-biocidal coatings such as silicone, vinyl or ultrasonic technologies are now available and are much less damaging to marine life.


Just by following these simple steps boaters can significantly reduce anti-fouling’s impact on the environment.


The first step is to ‘Protect,’ lay down a tarpaulin or groundsheet before starting work on your boat. This inexpensive act can make a huge difference to the local wildlife. Not only does the tarpaulin protect the surface directly under the boat from paint drips or spills, but it also acts as an effective instrument to collect and dispose of loose debris and scrapings from the boat.


Remember to protect yourself with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and work in a well-ventilated area to prevent inhalation of toxic paint fumes and avoid paint coming into contact with your eyes, mouth, skin and clothing.


This brings us onto the second step of the process, ‘Collect.’ The tarpaulin should make it easier to collect large remnants but using an industrial vacuum-cleaner linked to the paint scraper will minimise the amount of loose paint flakes and dust. Wet sanding will also help to prevent dry dust from escaping into the environment. Any water used when pressure washing the boat should also be collected, this can be achieved using portable bunding or a filtered washdown facility provided by some marinas, boatyards or harbours.


The final step is to efficiently ‘Dispose’ of anti-fouling waste. Always ensure that all hazardous waste such as paint pots, disposable gloves and paint scrapings are disposed of in hazardous waste bins. Don’t forget that Personal Protective Equipment, which should always be worn, may also need disposing of.


There are of course, many benefits of applying anti-foul paint and some of them are environmental. These can include a decrease in drag and less propeller restraint resulting in fuel efficiency, as well as reducing the transfer of invasive species, but if more environmentally friendly alternatives are adopted this will result in a greater overall positive impact to safeguard our waters.


All boat owners can play a vital role in minimising the risk to marine life from being inadvertently affected by anti-foul. You can help by sharing The Green Blue’s posts on social media, and by downloading posters and infographics from The Green Blue website and displaying them at your local club.


To find out more or to get involved with ‘Protect, Collect, Dispose’ follow The Green Blue on Facebook and Twitter: @TheGreenBlue Instagram: @the_green_blue or by visit thegreenblue.org.uk.


You could even share your own best practice photographs, don’t forget to tag The Green Blue on social media and use the tag: #ProtectCollectDispose.


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