Our oceans are beautiful. So what can we as boaters do to help maintain their natural abundance and protect our marine species?
The oceans make up 97% of the living space on earth. So far from being a niche interest, the ocean is fundamental to habitability of planet earth, therefore it deserves to be centre stage.
Who are the Blue Marine Foundation?
The Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE) exists to protect our oceans we do this by creating large-scale marine reserves and restoring biodiversity. BLUE is a UK-based charity, established in 2010 by the team behind the award-winning documentary film The End of the Line, which brought the world’s attention to the crisis of overfishing.
BLUE is helping to protect the seas for future generations and aims to increase awareness through encouraging people to start thinking about the oceans and to start taking action to save our most valuable resource. One Marine want to share with you the Blue Marine Yacht Club Charter and what BLUE recommend boaters do to help protect our planet.
The Blue Marine Yacht Club was launched in 2012 by His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco. It was formed to unite the world’s yachting community in a clear mission to protect our oceans.
The BMYC brings a modern approach to environmental protection. It provides a platform in which members can express their concern for the ocean and desire to protect its future. By members joining, they are helping provide a legacy for the world that their children and grandchildren will look back on with pride.
All revenues raised from membership go directly to support BLUE’s work around the world towards its mission of protecting at least 10% of the world’s ocean by 2020.
One Marine believe all yacht owners can take a leaf from the yacht clubs charter, and if we all follow the guidelines, we can really begin to influence change today.
Anchoring & Mooring
Seagrass captures CO2and provides crucial habitat for marine life. Coral reefs take hundreds of years to grow and harbour extraordinary biodiversity and a poorly laid anchor chain can destroy coral or seagrass in minutes.
- Never anchor on seagrass meadows, coral reefs or other fragile marine habitats.
- Always use moorings where available. Eco-moorings are even better.
- Never anchor in areas where anchoring is prohibited, this information is marked on navigational charts.
- Anchor in designated ‘zones’ if available. If you need to drop anchor on the seabed, do so with the minimum possible impact on sandy/rubble substrate.
In areas where whales and dolphins are spotted, slower motoring (10 knots or less) significantly reduces the risk of mortally wounding the animal if it is struck.
- Drive slowly and carefully to avoid propeller injuries, especially in areas where whales and dolphins have been spotted.
- Sea turtles feed, migrate and reproduce throughout the world’s oceans. They eat jellyfish and are especially vulnerable to plastic waste.
- If you find a turtle entangled in marine debris, do your best to cut it free.
- Around 100 million sharks are killed by humans each year. These fish play a crucial role in maintaining a healthy marine ecosystem. We stand together against shark finning.
Eyes on the Ocean
The protection of the world’s oceans is a shared responsibility. BMYC members and our fellow seafarers are in a unique position to spot and report illegal activity. This is our watch.
- BMYC members are encouraged to help environmental enforcement by monitoring for illegal/pirate fishing activities.
- Upon siting suspicious fishing activity, especially in protected areas, call the relevant local authority and report accordingly.
- Check with local authorities or the Blue Marine Foundation as to the specific regulations in marine protected areas.
Seafood & Fishing
Over 90% of large fish have gone from the world’s oceans. Stocks can recover if we change our eating habits.
- Ask restaurants where your seafood comes from:
Is it local, sustainably caught and the correct season?
- Practise catch and release sport fishing.
- Avoid eating endangered species such as shark, grouper, tuna, marlin, and swordfish. See www.goodfishguide.org for details.
- Ask for local, responsibly caught seafood from local fishermen. Favour small species over large.
Plastic waste kills marine life.
- Do not discard any waste overboard.
- All waste should be disposed of onshore or stored onboard and taken home.
- Always use port recycling facilities when available.
- If you find discarded fishing nets on the beach or floating in the sea, pick them up and dispose on land.
- Endeavour to reduce plastic products onboard, try to use reusable water bottles instead of single use plastic bottles.
Marine protected areas means they contain more fish and plants, greater diversity of species, healthier ecosystems and bigger fish.
- Anchoring and fishing is prohibited in certain marine protected areas.
- Check marine charts or ask local authorities about the location and regulations of specific marine protected areas.
- We encourage BMYC members to visit and support marine protected areas through entry fees and/or donations to the relevant authority.
Never dump raw sewage into coastal waters as this can encourage eutrophication and damage marine environments. Seagrass and coral reefs are particularly vulnerable to pollution.
- Utilise holding tanks or onboard waste processing systems if possible.
- Dispose of waste and bilge water at a port facility.
- Opt for protective clothing rather than sunscreen when swimming near a coral reef.
Diving & Snorkelling
If you dive or snorkel, follow these tips so as to enjoy observing marine species and ecosystems whilst promoting their conservation:
- For the duration of the dive, balance and control your buoyancy, avoid grabbing rocks or touching the seabed.
- Never touch any living marine organism because they are very fragile and can be disturbed and harmed.
- Report the presence of abandoned fishing nets or anything likely to cause pollution or danger to people or the environment.
One Marine wants everybody to enjoy the sea for generations to come to make sure boating is sustainable hobby by reducing our impact on the environment. You can find out more about supporting the Blue Marine Foundations and their aims and projects by clicking here.
Tom, Jamie & Sophy