Do you know what was one of the biggest successes of the La Rochelle boat show, the Grand Pavois, held in late September? It was not a boat or a new and unusual accessory but a simple piece of paper that was being distributed and was also the subject of a packed conference.
The title written on that piece of paper and the subject of the meeting was “The Responsible Boater’s Charter.” Why so much success for the lines written in that paper? It contained the basic principles of duties that every lover of the sea who uses a boat in port, at sea, and at anchor must observe. Basically, a license of the good citizen of the sea.
These are simple recommendations, which in most all of us who go to sea know but, often, do not respect.
To see them like this, written in black on white, one after another makes quite an impression. Above all, they hold us accountable to the aquatic universe but also force us to be ambassadors of environmental preservation ourselves.
Read these rules of good behavior carefully, do some serious soul-searching, and ask yourself whether you have complied with all these rules or which ones you have transgressed in the past. Then, do not deviate again. The aquatic environment belongs to everyone, including you. Respect it to give the sea a better future.
THE RESPONSIBLE BOATER’S CHARTER
At the dock
- I use fresh water in moderation
- I don’t forget to turn off the faucet after use
- I don’t let water drip outboard if it’s not needed
- I don’t leave the boat under electric power if you are absent
- when I change the oil, I remember to empty the oil filter before I put it in the container
- battery replacement: I don’t hesitate to call port services before disembarking I don’t do dockside paint tests I don’t spill any toxic products I use the appropriate sorted bins for any waste and urge others to do so I always use, whenever possible, biodegradable products for boat care and for washing dishes and toilets, etc.
In navigation and roadstead
- I do not throw any waste into the water
- I am obliged to carry out separate waste collection also on board
- I report to the relevant authorities all cases of pollution or attacks on the environment that I detect
- I do not use any illegal fishing practices and respect all existing bans
- Respect aquatic fauna and flora, especially during breeding periods
- respect sensitive and protected natural environments
- I do not deteriorate the bottom, especially at the anchorage. I inquire about the nature of the seabed before anchoring and try to preserve when I drop anchor the underwater fauna and flora
- I do not purchase or use objects made from protected species or archaeological finds
- I observe marine animals without touching or catching them. I pay attention to and keep my distance from marine mammals (dolphins, whales)
- if possible I use buoys and don’t drop anchor
- I do not remove sand, corals, stones, plants from the seabed and shorelines
IMPORTANT: I urge other boaters to protect the environment and pledge to spread this charter