Safe Boating Course


CHAPTER 7: Water Activities & The Marine Environment


One of the great things about boating is getting to enjoy our beautiful lakes, rivers and oceans. But if we’re not careful, motorized vehicles have the potential to damage our aquatic environment. So it’s important to take precautions so that we can continue to enjoy our waters.

The most important guideline is simply to respect the environment and its wildlife. And that means not using your vessel in a way that harasses the surrounding wildlife with noise, wake or pollutants.

For example, if you’re approaching a shoreline or boating in a narrow channel, slow down to “no wake” speed so that you don’t cause any unnecessary erosion.

Another big concern with motorized vessels is the negative environmental impact of gas and oil spills. You want to keep oil and gas out of the water and surrounding land, which means using the utmost care whenever you are fueling your boat or changing the oil.

You can do this in the following ways:

  • If you are refueling your vessel in or near the water, be careful not to spill fuel and use spill prevention pads.
  • If you are changing the oil yourself, use a closed system. For example, use a portable oil change pump draining into a closed container; this will prevent spills when transferring the oil.
  • Never mix used oil with other waste. Instead, keep the oil separate and recycle the used oil, along with any used filters, at an oil recycling facility.
  • Always keep some oil-only absorbents on hand to wipe up spills. And in the case of a spill, dispose of any used oil absorbents at the marina, fuel dock or hazardous waste facility.