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Old 03-12-2010, 07:44 AM   #1
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Hi everybody,

I am a sailor originally from Ireland but I am currently volunteering for an marine research organisation based on a Greek island. I came across this website while conducting some research for a project I am working on, encouraging Aegean cruisers and charter companies to become more eco-friendly to help protect the biodiversity of the Aegean and create a better sailing ground for all! This website seems like a fantastic resource for all sailors and Im so glad I found it!

So on the topic I was wondering if anybody based in the Aegean or the Mediterranean (or anywhere really!) would have any suggestions about what sailors and charter companies could do to reduce their impact on the environment. Its always good to get ideas from those who are involved in the marine zone regularly!

The organisation is completely non profit and voluntary so I am not looking for anything other than ideas!!

Thank you guys in advance for any ideas or suggestions you can come up with!

Caveatemptor!
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Old 03-12-2010, 08:06 AM   #2
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So on the topic I was wondering if anybody based in the Aegean or the Mediterranean (or anywhere really!) would have any suggestions about what sailors and charter companies could do to reduce their impact on the environment.
Make the engines unsuitable to provide electricity.

I find ridiculous that there are sailing vessels with electronic air conditioners, when water temperature is virtually everywhere low enough to make comfortable temperature down below.

Actually I live near lake Balaton, where you can hit the shore in 10 minutes from everywhere. Yet new boats are sold with head, shower, television and kitchen. Why?
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Old 03-12-2010, 08:47 AM   #3
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I find ridiculous that there are sailing vessels with electronic air conditioners, when water temperature is virtually everywhere low enough to make comfortable temperature down below.
I agree completely, it seems completely ridiculous when in the coastal zone, sea breezes usually provide adequate cooling as does a simple dip in the ocean! Actually would you have any idea what you would call one of those little chutes that you can put out the forehatch of a yacht and it funnels air down into the boat? The are both inexpensive and completely environmentally friendly!
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Old 03-12-2010, 08:58 AM   #4
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Any marine impact from leisure vessels is going to be from engines (oil mainly) and toilets (sewage). For both, boat operators have to collect it, and the government has to provide facilities for the gathering and processing of these substances. As Greece is currently going bankrupt I wouldn't expect much in the way of holding tank pumpout facilities popping up. Besides, lots of cities around the med pump their sewage straight in which is one of the reasons I don't enjoy the old pond. Oil facilities I've seen just about anywhere I go. So there could be a voluntary code of conduct for private sailors. Actions of charter companies naturally have a larger impact due to economies of scale so you may wish to start by campaigning them.
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Old 03-12-2010, 01:42 PM   #5
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Tread carefully folks..."Environmentalists" in Turkey recently tried to introduce new anti-pollution laws to an area, the net effect of which would have had a serious effect on the local economy. I understand a rethink is in progress.

In England environmentalists are attempting to ban vessels anchoring in an area used since the Middle Ages as a place to shelter from adverse weather. Sea grass supporting marine life has been found by 'researchers' The grass has been there for centuries....

Nothing personal Caveatemptor, but kindly have a word with the Greek Government with regard to the landfill tip which uncovered, allows plastic carrier bags by the thousand to blow into the Gulf of Kolpos. It may be they have other problems to summount at the moment though.

I support conservation both ashore and at sea, but well meaning, badly planned and executed schemes by people who appear briefly, and then move on to their next project in the sun, have an adverse effect on conservation much to the frustration of local people and those who spend their lives at sea.

I wish you success in your endeavours Caveatemptor, if you can arrange for the banning of generators running 24 hours a day in peaceful anchorages, I take my hat off to you. Owners of large expensive yachts with their air conditioning, deep freezers and water makers running may oppose you. I won't,... I haven't even got a 'fridge...

Regards Saxon.
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Old 03-12-2010, 02:51 PM   #6
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Oh dear God.....here too? Does this "stuff" have to permeate everything?

Look, sailors, for the most part, are the most environmentally concious bunch there are anywhere...it is not necessary to get all whacked out about our negative impact on the oceans, even with the little that we occasionally pump overboard...in other than third world countries, there are laws that protect inland waters....in developing countries the whackos want to limit any ability of those countries to grow by imposing their good intentions....on the open ocean, the minimal impact of a 10-20 gallon holding tank are nominal, at best. And the minimal amount of oils are negligible too. And there are not that many boats out there relatively speaking! I always have issue with folks that think that electricity is a negative....and being an electrical engineer by education gives me credibility...where the "other side" has little to none... Fact is, try to live without it.... Frankly, I would love to have a mini-nuclear reactor on my boat....no negative impact and plenty of juice!

Saxon, you are spot on. If history (real history) teaches us anything, it is that the negative impact of the well intentioned is far worse for everyone and everything. The far bigger issue are people that toss cigarette butts and other plastics over the sides....cigarette butts taking approx 30K years to decompose. Cities pumping street runoff, things like that. As for our impact, worry about the trash you discard, the rest takes care of itself...
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Old 03-12-2010, 04:21 PM   #7
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Look, sailors, for the most part, are the most environmentally concious bunch there are anywhere...it is not necessary to get all whacked out about our negative impact on the oceans, even with the little that we occasionally pump overboard...in other than third world countries, there are laws that protect inland waters....in developing countries the whackos want to limit any ability of those countries to grow by imposing their good intentions....on the open ocean, the minimal impact of a 10-20 gallon holding tank are nominal, at best. And the minimal amount of oils are negligible too. And there are not that many boats out there relatively speaking! I always have issue with folks that think that electricity is a negative....and being an electrical engineer by education gives me credibility...where the "other side" has little to none... Fact is, try to live without it.... Frankly, I would love to have a mini-nuclear reactor on my boat....no negative impact and plenty of juice!
Firstly thanks for your input, every opinion is completely valid.

I completely agree that sailors are generally very environmentally aware and responsible, I have been a sailor my entire life and have rarely seen any dumping or other negative activities happening. However with charter companies becoming more prevelant, you will have more non-sailing people from various backgrounds who are not aware of potential negative impacts on the marine zone they are using for their holiday. All I am trying to do is ensure these people have the same high standard of knowledge as other mariners

I dont think its fair to refer to all environmentalists as "whackos". I became passionate about the environment through my regular use of the coastal zone. I am not an extremist but I am passionate about maintaining a symbiotic relationship with the environment that has given me many happy experiences in the past and I hope to have many in the future.

As you say, a small holding tank does have a minimal impact on the environment as long as it does contain natural waste material. But think of the impact of thousands of vessels in an enclosed water area such as the Med, no so pleasant. and there are a LOT of boats out there!!! Basically what I am trying to do is to raise awareness about how to enjoy yourself without having a negative effect on the area you are sailing in. Not to be a hippy or an eco-freak!!

Saying that the "other side" has little to no credibility implies you know me and you know who I am. I have also studied electrical systems, more specifically renewable energy generation systems. I am not advocating living without electricity by any means but there is little point in wasting it when there are other options to air conditioning as discussed in the post above! Saying you would like a nuclear reactor on your boat as it has few negative impacts suggests to me that you do want to be environmentally conscious, so whats wrong with others, like me, doing the same!! And for the record, Im not getting "whacked out", Im simply trying to have a more positive impact then a negative one, as I said before I am not an extremist I just want to be as good to my environment as it has been to me!
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Old 03-12-2010, 04:35 PM   #8
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Nothing personal Caveatemptor, but kindly have a word with the Greek Government with regard to the landfill tip which uncovered, allows plastic carrier bags by the thousand to blow into the Gulf of Kolpos. It may be they have other problems to summount at the moment though.

I support conservation both ashore and at sea, but well meaning, badly planned and executed schemes by people who appear briefly, and then move on to their next project in the sun, have an adverse effect on conservation much to the frustration of local people and those who spend their lives at sea.

I wish you success in your endeavours Caveatemptor, if you can arrange for the banning of generators running 24 hours a day in peaceful anchorages, I take my hat off to you. Owners of large expensive yachts with their air conditioning, deep freezers and water makers running may oppose you. I won't,... I haven't even got a 'fridge...

Regards Saxon.
Thanks Saxon, Ill do some research into that dump but as you say the Government in Greece is not able to focus on much at the moment! I am literally undertaking a much more local scheme with no government involvement, to create awareness! As you say, there is nothing more annoying then sitting on a peaceful marina and having some inconsiderate person starting up a generator! But as Boomerang commented, most sailors are relatively eco-friendly, like yourself! I am initially piloting the scheme on one small greek island where the community has been very receptive. I just started this thread to see if there was anything major that other sailors in the region would have noticed as having a negative impact from their point of view.

To address your concern about the planning and excecution of the scheme, it is a long term project that has had much planning and research conducted. I have taken over from another person and another will take over from me. And I am not here for a sun holiday, believe me its been raining here fro nearly a week. I am here because I love the coast and the sea and I love that I can work towards having a positive impact on it!

PS as I am a sailor from Ireland, Ive had my fair share of wet days!!! So I reckon I should deserve even a little sun, just once in a while!! Hehe!
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Old 03-12-2010, 05:01 PM   #9
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Firstly thanks for your input, every opinion is completely valid.

I completely agree that sailors are generally very environmentally aware and responsible, I have been a sailor my entire life and have rarely seen any dumping or other negative activities happening. However with charter companies becoming more prevelant, you will have more non-sailing people from various backgrounds who are not aware of potential negative impacts on the marine zone they are using for their holiday. All I am trying to do is ensure these people have the same high standard of knowledge as other mariners

I dont think its fair to refer to all environmentalists as "whackos". I became passionate about the environment through my regular use of the coastal zone. I am not an extremist but I am passionate about maintaining a symbiotic relationship with the environment that has given me many happy experiences in the past and I hope to have many in the future.

As you say, a small holding tank does have a minimal impact on the environment as long as it does contain natural waste material. But think of the impact of thousands of vessels in an enclosed water area such as the Med, no so pleasant. and there are a LOT of boats out there!!! Basically what I am trying to do is to raise awareness about how to enjoy yourself without having a negative effect on the area you are sailing in. Not to be a hippy or an eco-freak!!

Saying that the "other side" has little to no credibility implies you know me and you know who I am. I have also studied electrical systems, more specifically renewable energy generation systems. I am not advocating living without electricity by any means but there is little point in wasting it when there are other options to air conditioning as discussed in the post above! Saying you would like a nuclear reactor on your boat as it has few negative impacts suggests to me that you do want to be environmentally conscious, so whats wrong with others, like me, doing the same!! And for the record, Im not getting "whacked out", Im simply trying to have a more positive impact then a negative one, as I said before I am not an extremist I just want to be as good to my environment as it has been to me!
Hey Cav,

My apologies if you took it that I called you specifically a "whacko", but considering the current international environment, I do tend to lump them all together, so again, my apologies (to you). I am all for being environmentally responsible....my crew and I are...but as Saxon mentioned, as you saw, the good intentions usually end up being other than and cause more problems than they fix. It truly is a Catch 22 in many regards.

I hope you will accept my apologies, and your intentions seem noble. I just know what we deal with here on the Chesapeake, my home waters....and the fixes ALWAYS cause more problems than solving something. We are dealing with some of those issues today with new legislation that will have a negative impact on all boaters....which ultimately cause further negative economic issues...there is always cause and affect....the problem is that dealing with the affect, never does anything to fix the cause....and most legislators (normally bought and paid for by special interests) have no concept of cause and affect, so the problems are always made worse.

I hope you have great success in your venture...sounds like they need your help....but then Greece is the most bankrupt country in the world...something about socialism....and how it works so well....!
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Old 03-12-2010, 05:30 PM   #10
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Hey Cav,

My apologies if you took it that I called you specifically a "whacko", but considering the current international environment, I do tend to lump them all together, so again, my apologies (to you). I am all for being environmentally responsible....my crew and I are...but as Saxon mentioned, as you saw, the good intentions usually end up being other than and cause more problems than they fix. It truly is a Catch 22 in many regards.

I hope you will accept my apologies, and your intentions seem noble. I just know what we deal with here on the Chesapeake, my home waters....and the fixes ALWAYS cause more problems than solving something. We are dealing with some of those issues today with new legislation that will have a negative impact on all boaters....which ultimately cause further negative economic issues...there is always cause and affect....the problem is that dealing with the affect, never does anything to fix the cause....and most legislators (normally bought and paid for by special interests) have no concept of cause and affect, so the problems are always made worse.

I hope you have great success in your venture...sounds like they need your help....but then Greece is the most bankrupt country in the world...something about socialism....and how it works so well....!
Thanks Boomerang, I didnt take offence to what you said, just wanted to clarify my status! I agree that sometime people can cause more harm than good in environmental situations and there are certain organisations I could mention individually but I wont! There are people like me and those I am working with that are highly educated and want to use this education and knowledge to improve what we can! We often get lumped in with well intentioned people who have no idea what they are talking about but like to campaign a lot! Im sure you have seen novice electrical "experts" destroy some systems by meddling in what they know nothing about! Well its similar with us! our first piece of advice to anyone wanting to help protect the environment is to get education about it and if you have questions, ask someone who knows....dont assume that just by doing something it will help, it can make situations worse!!

I have seen similar situations as you in my home waters and yes things inevitable go wrong! But things can be changed for the better also if given half a chance! I hope you will see improvement in Chesapeake soon, From what I have heard it is a beautiful place!
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Old 03-12-2010, 07:11 PM   #11
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Cav, I cannot believe that you expect me to accept that it rains very much at all in Ireland. My mate Danny from Tralee had webbed feet I swear it..

Good luck in your efforts is all I can say. I hate to see the rubbish along the shoreline anywhere, at home or abroad. The Gulf of Kolpos stuck in my memory by the sheer volume of white plastic bags in the water. It upset me because I know it results in the slow deaths of turtles to name only one species. I asked if a ship had lost a container or deck cargo, but was told no, when the wind was offshore, thousands of bags went airbourne from a landfill site.

If you can get the locals onside, great. I think that's where the Turkish plan seems to have gone adrift, the prospect of visiting yachts leaving in droves, whether actually it would have happened or not, brought about opposition to what was and still is a well intentioned and probably long overdue attempt at controlling pollution along that stretch of the Turkish coastline.

Regards Saxon.
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Old 03-12-2010, 11:15 PM   #12
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I have hesitated to respond because I talk too much , but Boomerang, thank you for motivating me.

First, I agree with most of Boomerang's comments. Now to bore you all.

Small private yachts have a minimal impact on the environment compared to every coastal community on land. Because population density on the water is a small fraction of that on land. Yet private yachts have been, in the US, the target of every environmental initiative designed to take away some of our freedoms. I don't say "rights" because public opinion claims more rights for humankind than I would grant them or believe are granted to them.

First, tributyl tin (TBT) additives to boat bottom paint. The first, by decades, to be denied this most effective biocide were private yachts. In the Chesapeake, where the regulations were applauded, I once calculated that the surface area of the hulls of two freighters coming into the Port of Baltimore had more bottom paint exposed to the water than all the private yachts sitting in the Bay, and it was decades after private yachts were denied TBT that any restrictions were imposed upon commercial shipping craft. Where's the fairness in that? Where's the environmental responsibility?

Then I went into one of the hardware stores on the Eastern Shore. And what did I find?

The hardware stores were selling an additive to housepaint to prevent mildew and paint peeling. What was this additive? TBT. Twenty-five (25) years after TBT was banned from bottom paint for yachts, TBT was being sold in hardware stores around the US to be added to house paint. Question - rhetorical: what do you think is the ratio of private houses to private yachts in the Chesapeake Bay?

Now I think I'd like to navigate the poop issue and holding tanks. I would start by saying that I believe in holding tanks, especially in enclosed waters with a limited tidal range. However, there are other ways to handle poop. Lectra San toilets, for example, which sterilizes the effluent before pumping it overboard. Doing nothing hasn't harmed many places. And we should consider reality. Take the small lake that our family home is situated on. There are about 500 houses whose septic systems leach into the lake. I don't have an issue with the septic systems, bacteria and effluent is adequately biodegraded long before the groundwater reaches the lake waters. I do have an issue with the number of household pets whose poop washes directly into the lake. 'Way more than the number of yachts in any cove in any place we've ever visited. And have you ever been downstream of a dairy farm or pig farm? OMG, the effluent!

Reality here, again, is that private yachts were required, in the US, to install holding tanks long before commercial ships, including passenger ships, were required to. When a single cruise ship can carry 1,000 to 3,000 passengers, where should environmental responsibility be placed?

I want someone to say, "there must be a good reason that the smallest waterway polluter has had the strongest restrictions placed upon it" so that I can sarcastically comment, "yes, there must be but all I can see is that cruise ship companies and ocean freight companies have the budget to hire lobbyists to influence our elected representatives in Congress."

Of course, lobbyists can't negatively influence them if the congressmen have engaged their brain and common sense before listening to them, but is that happening? I think that small private yachts have been singled out because they are more visible to the general population. No big commercial ports for them, no hiding from the fellow driving down to the local waterfront park for a day with his kids. The average person never sees the mass of humanity being disgorged from a monstrous cruise ships plying the waters nowadays. And commercial freighters? What does the average person know about them? If you don't see them, why would you consider them the polluter that has to be stopped?

Although I have said, "do you have any idea how much poop those cute dolphins deposit in our waters every day? No toilets or holding tanks for them, right?" I recognize that human waste is more dangerous to humans using the waterways than that of fish or marine mammals. For that reason I am in favor of holding tanks or Lectrasans. But when it comes to private yachts being asked to shoulder the burden for environmental responsibility, I want to know that it is being fairly apportioned.

Now that all that is off my chest, I understand that governments such as Greece, with a bankrupt economy, do not have the resources to enforce environmental responsibility. They are going to be extorted by the big guys - the cruise ships, mega-yachts, visible charter operators. Those are who are seen as providing employment income for their population, fees for their government. It may not be most accurate, but I can't blame them for kowtowing to the big bucks operators. So is this hopeless? I hope not.

Maybe a viable approach would be to single out the small private yacht as the responsible player in the area. Hold them up as the example to emulate. Of course, that means they will have to deserve the limelight. And then we need the "aw shucks, it's only the right thing to do, and it ain't hard, fellas" from the small private yacht. In other words, find a way to gently shame the big guys into behaving better.

Sorry about the long rant.

J
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Old 03-13-2010, 01:02 AM   #13
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Well put, Jeanne, and spot on again. This goes back to my post of cause and effect. And are our congressional leaders thinking? I sincerely hope that was a sarcastic (and I think it was) and rhetorical question, because with the current state of affairs, it is completely obvious to any thoughtful person that the answer is uneqivocally NO. They don't think...nor do the whacko environmentalists. You are right on that we, the boating community bares the brunt of the regulation....and we are the least impactful. Sure make sense to me...!

But then, in government, ours in particular and especially right now, what does? I think we (most boaters) do a pretty good job. There is "another legislative bit of stupidity" going on here (and it is beautiful, Cav) that is going to make it so NONE of us can pump overboard, anywhere on the Bay (the largest bay in the US with huge tidal influence)....and it will affect everyone, type I, type II, because there are not near enough pump out stations (due to more idiotic regulations) to support the number of boats here, the sailing capital of the world (no offense meant Kiwi's) and others. Another sample of government and whackos not thinking...cause and effect....

Personally, I have an electric head with a 20 gal tank.....takes a while to fill it....but when you do, there are little in the way of pump outs...so what are we to do? Thanks again for the post....
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Old 03-14-2010, 11:58 PM   #14
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Don't Trust the media,

Greece is being picked on by the English speaking media due to not wanting to let Macedonia enter the EU. Portugal has a s bad as debt and the real Debt of Britain is and was so bad that the government started buying up government bonds to the tune of over 700 billion. Which then decreases the value of the money already in circulation.

As to the problem with effluent and water ways. One has to look at the reality that the government wishes to be seen doing something while in reality wanting to do nothing while getting paid very well and getting the highest perks in their back pocket. While the Med is not as large as some other bodies of water it is not dinky. You really want to deal with a problem of pollution? Tankers. They have nearly destroyed the ecology of the great lakes and yet very little is really being done to stop them. They are also the most likely reason we are now finding sea snake in parts of the Carib'. Yes I STRONGLY believe in being responsible of one environment. I also am just as strongly viewed on doing so with very large volumes of common sense.

Jeanne you write wonderfully. Now where can I find a link on those marines toilets that where spoken of, it sounds useful.
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