On St. Patrick’s Day, you’ll be sporting your green garb proudly—hopefully somewhere warm and sunny!
But did you know that there are also many great ways to go green on the water, too? For anglers, sustainable boating and fishing is more accessible than ever. If you’re interested in learning more about green-ifying your on-the-water experience, just take a look below as we share five simple ideas to try.
If you’re a mindful boater, you’re probably already cruising sustainably without even knowing it! A few helpful reminders can help ensure that you’re on the right track. When you’re at the marina, keep your space clean and avoid spilling oil in the water as you fuel up—of course, accidents happen, so just be sure to notify marina management and they will be able to help! If a spill ever creates a sheen on the water, boaters should notify the USCG National Response Center as well.
Another aspect of smart, mindful boating is paying attention to posted signage on the water. Doing so can help to keep plant and animal life safe for you and your fellow future boaters to enjoy! Just like spotters can help with wakeboarding adventures, they can keep an eye on the water and let you know if they spot any critters or obstacles that you might miss along the way.
Consider catch and release
There’s definitely something special about landing a catch to bring ashore for dinner! But if you’re just fishing for the fun of it, catch and release can be a sustainable way to do it. You know how it works—enjoy the thrill of fighting for a catch, snap a proud picture, and then return the fish to the water (some anglers aptly call this routine “catch, photo, release”). There are ways you can make the process even safer for the fish, such as supporting the fish from below, removing your hook safely and using gloves to keep its outer “slime” membrane intact. If you’re fishing the flats, you might even consider hopping off board and taking your catch photo there—so the fish never even leaves the water. The right tackle, such a shallow circle hook and strong, sturdy line for a quick catch, can also help make the catch and release process routine and stress-free for the fish.
Know your catch
Of course, you can still fish sustainably and bring home your catch! In fact, did you know that preserving your favorite waterways might actually mean catching more fish?
Read about different species online to see what your state recommends or requires as far as catches go. For example, you’ll want to observe daily bag limits per person (or per boat) so that you’re only taking a sustainable amount from the water. There may also be size requirements in place.
You might be surprised that for some invasive species, such as the lionfish in Florida, don’t have a minimum size requirement or bag limit. This is because they disrupt the natural ecosystem, and removing them can actually help local marine life flourish!
When you fish within these posted guidelines, you can angle with ease knowing that you’re enjoying your sport while also preserving the on-the-water environment you love.
Pack in, pack out
The best angling adventures sometimes turn into overnight getaways! If you go camping by the beach or lake, be sure to practice the “pack in, pack out” or “leave no trace” method of outdoor exploration. The idea is pretty simple—the space you spend time in should look the same when you leave as it did before you arrive. That means thoroughly removing any garbage or other materials you use, and respecting your surroundings while you’re there.
Clean, green machine
Cleaning your boat isn’t just a great way to achieve a lux shine on the water—it helps you sustain the cruising destinations you love, too. Cleaning your boat as you hop from waterway to waterway (you can even find eco-friendly soaps to use), and rinsing off with hot water, can help you prevent the movement of invasive species from one aquatic ecosystem to another.
The bottom line? Going green on the water is as easy (and fun) as can be. Start this spring and see where the journey takes you!