You’ve probably heard about the Blue Flag award for beaches and marinas, but did you know that boat owners can fly the Blue Flag, too? The individual Blue Flag recognizes boaters who have committed to following environmentally friendly boating practices.
It’s important that boaters keep the environment top of mind while fishing, cleaning their boats, and spending time on the water. With an estimated 70,000 boaters going out onto Lake Ontario alone this summer, boating is a popular recreational activity that can have a huge impact on our waterways. That can include the dumping of sewage or toxic waste, oil spills, the spread of invasive species, and the disruption of coastal species.
The individual Blue Flag is offered and promoted at Blue Flag marinas, which are certified under international criteria for environmental education, environmental management, safety and accessibility. Boaters are encouraged to sign the Environmental Code of Conduct to receive their very own Blue Flag that they can fly on their boat.
By flying the Blue Flag, boaters show that they are committed to protecting the natural resources that they love to enjoy. They also join an international community of boaters who are all dedicated to helping protect our shorelines.
Here’s the Environmental Code of Conduct that boaters agree to in order to get a Blue Flag:
- Instantly report spills or other violations of environmental regulations to the authorities
- Always make an effort to recycle
- Use environmentally friendly products to clean and maintain my boat
- Respect federal and provincial fishing regulations
- Respect sensitive and protected areas
- Exercise care when anchoring to avoid damaging the lake, river or ocean bottom
- Avoid disturbing fishing gear
- Encourage other boaters also to take care of the environment
I WILL NOT:
- Throw garbage into waterways or along the coast
- Release sewage into waterways. I will use the sewage pump-out at the marina
- Dump oil, gas or other toxic waste into the water. I will dispose of hazardous waste at a licensed facility
- Disturb birds or other wildlife in the waterways or along the coast
- Buy or use objects made from protected species or from archaeological underwater findings.
If you’d like to fly your own Blue Flag, find your nearest Blue Flag marina and ask to sign the pledge!