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Not Green Boating


leong

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Almost everyday while paddling I see and pick up floating trash (beer cans, plastic bags, etc.), usually discarded from recreational powerboats. I was thinking about what’s the biggest impact on the environment from these “stinkpots”?

Perhaps the trash is trivial compared to another environmental impact from these stinkpots. Most of the small runabouts (capacity of 4 to 8 passengers) I see use outboard engines of between 250 and 600 horsepower. The attached picture shows one anchored runabout with four 300-hp engines (1200 hp total). How much do you think this boat burns at full throttle?

According to this article from Boating magazine at http://www.boatingmag.com/skills/calculating-fuel-consumption a simple formula to calculate gallons of gas burned per hour for an outboard engine at full throttle is to divide the horsepower by 10. So the boat in the picture burns 120 gallons of gasoline per hour when it’s up on a plane at full speed! Wow, no wonder I usually see these stinkpots spending the day at their nearest “cocktail cove”.

Cigarette speedboats waste even more gasoline!

We’re sure lucky to love sea kayaking.

- Leon


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I once worked with a guy who's family was old money. They had a sport fisher that they took out to the offshore canyons looking for tuna. I think they said they got about a mile per gallon at a fast cruising (not top) speed.

And all that crap might not have come directly off of boats. Dont forget almost every storm sewer, creek and river eventually drains to the ocean.

best

Phil

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I know one taboo subject up here is to remotely suggest that lobster boats are heavy polluters doing significant damage.

Not much shuts down a conversation quicker than that.

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I know one taboo subject up here is to remotely suggest that lobster boats are heavy polluters doing significant damage.

Not much shuts down a conversation quicker than that.

Yeah, but we don't see much of what they lose. Floats and lines occasionally end on the beach, but the traps they're attached to remain on the bottom. There's a person on facebook who's been characterizing the garbage he cleans off a small section of a beach near Saco Maine (https://www.facebook.com/FlotsamDiaries). His estimate based on the number of trap tags he's found in his small stretch of beach is that there could be a half million or more ghost traps down there in Maine alone.

Phil

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Yeah, but we don't see much of what they lose. Floats and lines occasionally end on the beach, but the traps they're attached to remain on the bottom. There's a person on facebook who's been characterizing the garbage he cleans off a small section of a beach near Saco Maine (https://www.facebook.com/FlotsamDiaries). His estimate based on the number of trap tags he's found in his small stretch of beach is that there could be a half million or more ghost traps down there in Maine alone.

Phil

Wow, that facebook diary is eye opening.

Ever since meeting my good kayaking friends LHuntington and Al Peirce (see his Trash Paddler blog at http://www.trashpaddler.com/) I try to pick up trash rather than paddle past it.

Leon

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When I hike in local environs such as the Middlesex Fells I pick up empty beer cans from various popular party sites. I'm pretty sure that teenagers are going to be irresponsible long after my ashes have blown on the wind. A much more disappointing thing is how adults wantonly defile our mother earth. Don't get me started about growing (chemical stew) and mowing (more pollution per annum than your car) green grass. One of these days I'm going to pick up a discarded cigarette butt and toss it back into the car.

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Still, its much better than the 50's and 60's. Of course we had a little more than 1/2 the population then but drivers would routinely through not just butts out of their windows but uneaten food, paper wrappers, cans, bottles etc. The shoulders of major roads were littered with this stuff. And most of the population was yet to return to the glories of nature, hiking and camping so it could have been better in the wilderness if you didn't mind polluted streams and some rivers that regularly caught fire. Just saying, in the past polluters like smokers were given a pass-no more-we've made a lot of progress.

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Still, its much better than the 50's and 60's. Of course we had a little more than 1/2 the population then but drivers would routinely through not just butts out of their windows but uneaten food, paper wrappers, cans, bottles etc. The shoulders of major roads were littered with this stuff. And most of the population was yet to return to the glories of nature, hiking and camping so it could have been better in the wilderness if you didn't mind polluted streams and some rivers that regularly caught fire. Just saying, in the past polluters like smokers were given a pass-no more-we've made a lot of progress.

Well, my post sure has moved away from pollution caused by recreational watercraft. That’s okay. Anyway, continuing along with Gene’s contention that we’ve made a lot of progress, consider the historical pollution problem caused by horses (I recently read about this in the book Super Freakonomics, by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner). Take a look at the following to see how big a problem horses were before the automobile came into being:

http://www.freakonomics.com/2010/09/08/horse-manure-the-gift-that-keeps-on-giving/ a cute Mercedes-Benz video ad showing the problem.

http://www.uctc.net/access/30/Access%2030%20-%2002%20-%20Horse%20Power.pdf the original paper that Levitt and Dubner based the horse chapter on.

- Leon

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yes, it is interesting to follow the way the topic has shaped up. I was referring to the pollution from all the heavy exhaust from the lobster boats.

Either way it has been quite an informative subject.

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Last summer a couple of us stumbled across a rogue lobster trap that had drifted inland. It was up in one of the many little fissures of the Annisquam River that go dry at low tide, and had a full load of unhappy crabs. Makes me wonder how many lobsters are lost in the traps we don't see.

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Makes me wonder how many lobsters are lost in the traps we don't see.

In theory traps have "ghost panels" that are designed to open if a trap is lost and provide an escape route for any thing that enters the trap. It is a problem as lobstermen can lose over 10% of their gear a year. However, to what extent ghost traps keep fishing is a disputed issue.

Ed Lawson

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Last summer a couple of us stumbled across a rogue lobster trap that had drifted inland. It was up in one of the many little fissures of the Annisquam River that go dry at low tide, and had a full load of unhappy crabs. Makes me wonder how many lobsters are lost in the traps we don't see.

Hmm, I’m not sure about the crabs but I bet the hungry seagulls were very frustrated.

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