Environmentally friendly bottom paint

Getting ready to put a fresh coat of bottom paint on? Have you considered using environmentally friendly bottom paint?  While this might seem like a study in contradictions, there are many companies that offer environmentally friendly bottom paints that keep the fish alive and the bottom of your boat clean.

Traditional antifouling paints use copper as the biocide to control fouling. The Port of San Diego has done extensive research into copper bottom paints, and have found that the copper in the paint is a biocide that leaches into the water, causing contamination that is harmful to marine life, including fish and sea lions.

In the world of environmentally friendly bottom paints you essentially have two options. Alternative biocide hull paints that use zinc or other chemicals to act as the biocide instead of copper, and Non-biocide hull paints that contain no polluting chemicals. They protect the boat hull by creating a slick surface or hard protective layer.

From Port of San Diego: Jerry Jerome, salesman for HullSpped High Performance Coatings, paints a Hornblower hull at Knight & Carver for the paint testing. (Courtesy: Dale Frost)

The EPA provided funding for the Port of San Diego to conduct a study, which evaluated a variety of alternative hull paints. The study concluded that alternative hull paints are environmentally friendly, work well and can save money over the long-term because they last longer than copper hull paints. See the results here. They also created a great document to help you decide which type of bottom paint is best for you entitled How to Select an Alternative Hull Paint, which includes consideration for racing sailboats.

For more information on the different brands that offer environmentally friendly options, click here for an article from Windcheck magazine.

As part of our Clean Regattas program we encourage sailing organizations to switch over to environmentally friendly bottom paints. Tell us: Do you use an environmentally friendly bottom paint?


Sailors for the Sea Japan

Last week Sailors for the Sea Japan and Sailors for the Sea US had their first meeting on US soil. The two groups met to discuss using Sailors for the Sea programs abroad. This meeting was in preparation for Sailors for the Sea Japan’s first annual members meeting to be held on April 25th. For this exciting inaugural event, members will meet at the National Diet of Japan. Pictured below left to right Sailors for the Sea Japan board members Bunta Inoue, Minako Iue, and Sailors for the Sea USA board chair David Rockefeller, Jr. and Program Specialist, Hilary Wiech. 


Sailors for the Sea is proud to share the news that Velocitek has chosen to support Sailors for the Sea with a contribution as part of their commitment to 1% for the Planet.

Velocitek has been a member of the environmental organization 1% for the Planet since 2006. 1% for the Planet is a coalition of businesses financially committed to helping the environment.  Each year, members donate 1% of their gross revenue to an approved environmental non-profit.

In honor of Earth Day, Velocitek chose to support Sailors For the Sea and our Clean Regattas program. We are honored to receive this support from the business side of the sailing community.

Join Velocitek this Earth Day by supporting Sailors for the Sea. You can support ocean conservation by participating in Clean Regattas, teaching with Rainy Day Kits, and making a donation.

Happy Earth Day!

Today marks the 42nd anniversary of Earth Day. As boaters, we tend to prefer the water, and the goods news is that it makes up 70% of the Earth’s surface.  Marine life and vital coastal habitats are straining under the increasing pressure of global use. The ocean, which was once considered inexhaustible and resilient, is, in fact, finite and fragile. The goal of Earth Day 2012 is to inspire a billion acts of green. Watch the video below to learn more about this movement.
We invite you to mix your act of green with some blue, and learn what you can do to protect your favorite body of water by engaging with Sailors for the Sea programs:
– Volunteer to be a Clean Regatta liaison
– Educate others with Rainy Day Kits
– Read an Ocean Watch Essay
Donate and support ocean conservaiton

What to do with all that shrink wrap?

Spring has sprung here in New England, and while there is still a chill in the water that keeps most of us on land for another month, many are getting their boats ready for the first day on the water!

With this in mind we wanted to share the the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation and the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association (RIMTA) instructions for proper recycling of Marine Shrink Wrap.

RITMA notes: “This effort was started by RIMTA was one of the first in the Country to begin a recycling program for shrink-wrap. This Program has saved RIMTA member marinas, thousands of dollars in landfill tipping fees as well as saving the environment for the future generations. Since the inception over 500,000 pounds of shrink-wrap was recycled.”

The instructions pictured below, should be helpful for any state. However each states program is slightly different. The easiest way to find your is to google your state and marine shrink wrap recycling. Many of these programs are often run through NOAA. If you are having trouble find a resource in your state comment below and we will do our best to help! Another great pamphlet about recycling shrink is available online from Ohio State Sea Grant (PDF).

Also worth noting – a reusable cover can be another great way to protect your boat, and can save money over time.

Highlights from ACWS Naples

Naples is not known for it’s cleanliness, but it’s still been a surprise for us to see the degree to which plastic and waste here is simply left on the streets and blown into the bay. The America’s Cup Healthy Ocean Project forum held here yesterday highlighted some of these local problems, while also emphasizing the importance of solutions like Clean Regattas and Marine Protected Areas:

Carl Gustaf Lundin, IUCN’s Head of Global Marine and Polar Programme, discusses the importance of Clean Regattas during the ACWS Naples Healthy Ocean Forum (apologies for the poor video quality).

But the America’s Cup organizers have done their best to leave the event site better than they found it, cleaning over 1000 gallons of trash from the shore next to the race compound, including large items like tires and refrigerators.

Beach after ACRM and Green Team clean up

Beach next to regatta site prior to clean up

New local environments always present new challenges as the ACWS moves between venues, but it’s been encouraging for us to see that many parts of the Clean Regattas process have become fully incorporated into event’s internal procedures. Be it in Naples or Newport, organizers continue to look for new ways to reduce their impact locally and promote ocean health. Here in Naples, we are working with the AC to test out a new, more comprehensive set of Best Practices. We hope these will provide a more robust, but still achievable, process for our regattas. Some of the measures in place here include:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Conservation Activity at America’s Cup World Series in Naples

Marine protected area - Gaiola Underwater Park, with Mount Vesuvius in the background.

Racing begins today at the America’s Cup World Series in Naples, Italy. (Click here to watch racing)

Sailors for the Sea program lead, Annie Brett is in Naples working with the America’s Cup to implement the Clean Regattas best practices.

On Monday, she participated in the conservation activity at the America’s Cup World Series in Naples, which brought together local students to explore their Marine Protected Area, Gaiola Underwater Park. The park is of great interest, archaeologically and naturally because it juxtaposes ancient remains and biological colonies of animal and plant life flourishing in and around structures that have stood there since roman times.

Students learn about microscopic organisms that live under the sea during the America's Cup World Series in Naples.

The students learned about different organisms, viewed them under microscopes, and learned the importance of having Marine Protected Areas. Students also learned about the importance of recycling to help reduce their impact on the ocean.

New Rainy Day Kits

Sailors for the Sea staff teaching marine science with Rainy Day Kits lesson plan the Dirty Water Challenge.

We are excited to announce two new marine science lesson plans have been published, expanding the Rainy Day Kits for Environmental Education library.

These lesson plans have been contributed by Birch Aquarium/The Scripps Institute of Oceanography and encourage young sailors to develop a passion for protecting and preserving the ocean and local waters.

The Rainy Day Kits lesson plan library now totals eight complete plans:

  • A Story of Sand, (new) contributed by Birch Aquarium/The Scripps Institute of Oceanography – students learn about beaches and the different geologic and physical processes that form sand.
  • Beach Bucket Scavenger Hunt, (new) contributed by Birch Aquarium/The Scripps Institute of Oceanography – a fun hands-on activity that introduces students to beach ecology and the role manmade objects can play in the ecosystem.
  • Bio-Magnification Game, contributed by the Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean – tag-inspired game that demonstrates the concept of bio-magnification as it relates to plastics and how chemicals and plastics can make it onto our dinner plates.
  • Clam Jigsaw, contributed by Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies – students create a cutout model of a clam to investigate the anatomy and physiology of these animals.
  • Density Currents, contributed by the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science – demonstrates the Thermohaline Circulation throughout the world’s oceans and the relative density between cold and warm ocean water.
  • Dirty Water Challenge, contributed by the New England Aquarium – teaches students about their environment in an engaging and practical way. Inquiry and discussion is embedded within the practical-students have to design, plan and then build their own design of water filter. Students are exposed to important concepts from a variety of scientific disciplines, including how the water cycle works, and the principles behind water filtering.
  • Oyster Tag, contributed by Sailors for the Sea – tag-inspired game that demonstrates the effects of pollution on oyster reefs, as well as the effect of oyster reefs on pollution.
  • Who Dirtied the Water?, contributed by the New England Aquarium – interactive story asks students to take on the roles of different historical and modern characters who have had a role in the pollution of a body of water. As the story is read, each character in turn adds a film container full of pollutants to a jar of clean water representing the body of water.

The Sailors for the Sea Rainy Day Kits for Environmental Education are still in development. By summer 2012, this online resource will grow to at least 15 lessons as new plans are added monthly. Download them now at: http://sailorsforthesea.org/Programs-and-Projects/Rainy-Day-Kits.aspx

BVI Spring Regatta gets Gold

We’ve just returned from the BVI, where the BVI Spring Regatta ran Clean Regattas for their fourth year. It’s been a busy few weeks for us in the Caribbean, and we’ve learned a lot about the challenges faced by these islands, but also the many efforts that are being taken to help keep the marine environment pristine. Nowhere have these efforts been more apparent and impressive than in the past couple days at the BVI Spring Regatta. Because of their hard work, the BVI Spring Regatta was the first ever in the Caribbean to earn a Gold Clean Regattas Certification.

Regatta Director Judy Petz receives the Caribbean's first Gold Clean Regattas Certification. L to R: Green VI's Charlotte McDevitt, Cisne Benjamin and Pedro Samuel; Judy Petz; Dan Pingaro and Annie Brett of Sailors for the Sea; BVI Governor Mr Boyd McCleary

One of the highlights of this event was the collaboration between the local non-profit GreenVI and the race organizers. Bottles used at last year’s regatta were recycled by GreenVI and turned into the stunning trophies that were given this year. Like the other Caribbean islands we’ve been working on lately, the BVI have no official recycling program. However, GreenVI’s glass studio has begun this process in the BVI by taking glass bottles used around the island and turning them into pieces of art and landscaping material.

These recycled trophies were just a part of all that the BVI Spring Regatta did on the way to achieving goals. Other best practices included:

  • Distributing reusable water bottles to race participants and placing water stations throughout the venue
  • The Green Rangers, a large and enthusiastic green team made up of local youth, keeping the event site free of debris
  • Working with Green VI to recycle glass and aluminum
  • Placing oil spill kits in all motorized vessels
  • Electronic registration systems and TV screens to display race results
  • Biodegradable cups at the bar
  • Notice to participants emphasizing gray water reduction, conducting maintenance in contained locations, not cleaning hulls in sensitive harbor areas and using shore facilities to prevent blackwater discharge
  • Food vendors collected food waste in buckets to be given to local pigs
  • Non-toxic cleaning products used and promoted to competitors

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We’d like to thank the Regatta Committee, GreenVI and the BVI Tourist Board for all their hard work and hospitality.