We see trash in the water even in remote locations—help stop the madness! Image: JR Resolutions
Taking the lead on cleaning up trash and pollution in your local waterways and ocean area is what All Hands Alliance is all about. Because we’re a grassroots organization, it’s all about leading by example. Taking a “do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do” approach will turn off the people we want to influence. Bloviating from the cockpit about the dangers of marine pollution as plastic bags and trash blow overboard can create a disconnect in the minds of those we want to encourage to join the cause in spirit as well as action.
Instead, take advantage of the situation—choose to walk the walk—and bring others along for the ride. If you can do each of these things, while also taking the time to explain how and why they make sense, your friends will get it, and understand its importance.
Pack a Lunch
Eating and drinking on board just makes everything better, and we’re always impressed with those friends who manage to put out a show-stopping spread, including reusable cutlery, plates, and tumblers. The way we eat now, there’s little doubt that meals and snacks on board are a huge source of trash as individually wrapped sandwiches, bags of chips, and single-serving beverages create a volume of refuse that’s tough to take. Add in a bit of wind and we end up committing more trash to the deep than we do to the recycling bin back at the dock. It’s time we stop the madness. Bring food in resealable containers. A resealable box of sandwiches can be put out, and then stowed more easily than individually wrapped sandwiches. Ask people to bring their own refillable drink bottles—many people carry these routinely now anyway. For cocktails, use glasses or reusable plastic drink cups and keep track of them.
Bring along plastic trash bags, better yet, stow a box of them on board. The drawstring kind are always a good choice to have, since they have a built-in way to secure them on the boat easily and they cinch themselves closed as they get filled up. Choose the size you want to carry based on the size of your boat and the typical number in your party. Here’s the trick with trash—and it seems so simple—stow this bag before you pull up the anchor and run again at speed. Untie it, and throw it in the head compartment, or in a locker or lazarette. These bags are also handy for stowing the trash you pick up as an All Hands Alliance ambassador, and track it on your app. When your guests watch you make the effort to pick up trash from the water and stow it for the ride, they’ll know you’re serious, even as they all enjoy a beautiful day on the water.
Part of preventing pollution means being extra careful around the fuel dock. We’ve all seen the sheen on the surface that comes from an overflow incident with the fuel nozzle, and many boaters just take these spills as standard operating procedure. Fuel spills are preventable, through the use of absorbent pads and catch cups to prevent overflows. Set a procedure for your boat, follow it each time, and take the time to show your trusted crew how it’s done, just so they understand the procedure and can help out. A big part of leadership is empowering others with real responsibility, sharing knowledge, and incorporating others’ ideas and suggestions, and these steps are proven to increase engagement of everyone involved.
We love to spend time on the water and teach our families to share it with their friends the same way we do. Taking the time to share the way we care can make a difference. Become an Ambassador for All Hands Alliance today or make a donation to help us get the word out.