How Sailors Can Reduce Chemical Waste in Our Waters

How Sailors can Reduce the Chemicals in Our Waters

Those of us who live near or regularly enjoy the beautiful wonder that is Lake Michigan have a strong incentive to keep the lake healthy, clean, and to preserve it for future generations. In today’s world, this task is more important than ever. According to researchers, over 60,000 man‐made chemicals find their way into our surface waters. This, in turn, has made freshwater ecosystems “some of the most altered habitats on the planet.” Learning about the role each of us plays in keeping our lake clean is the first step in ensuring our kids and grandkids remain healthy and can get the same pleasure from sailing these waters that we do. The goal of this article is to provide helpful tips on how to reduce the chemicals in our waters.


Chemicals in Boat Cleaning Products

What you choose to clean your sailboat with can have a direct effect on the health of both humans and aquatic life in the area, as well as the water quality. A large portion of the most popular boat cleaning and maintenance products rely on chemicals that are often harmful to organic life. Typically these are accompanied by warnings such as “Danger” or “Poison.” These chemicals can create nutrient imbalances in the water (a cause of algae blooms). They can also remain for considerable amounts of time via another environmental concern, micro-plastic (which is now present in our water in larger and larger amounts) and may be absorbing these chemicals and transferring them into fish.


There are currently a number of studies looking into the long-term effects these chemicals are having on both fish and us. Before now, the technology did not exist to track these data points.


Many worry that without these corrosive or toxic chemicals, they will be unable to clean their boat properly. The truth is that today there are a number of eco-friendly cleaning solutions as well as tried and true methods used in decades past that can be just as effective. Using these methods will help reduce the chemicals in our waters while still achieving the goal of a clean sailboat. Alternatively, if you want to have the maintenance and cleaning of your boat done by professionals with the utmost care, then don’t hesitate to contact our specialists at Larsen Marine.


Tips for Bringing Less Toxins into Your Water:

  • Look for fewer toxic alternatives to your standard cleaners. Here is one such list.
  • Buy and use only what you need. Use strong chemicals sparingly.
  • Ensure safe storage, handling, and disposal to reduce spillage and leakage.
  • In some cases, a bit more scrubbing rather than chemical cleaners may be the solution.
  • Call 1(800) CLEANUP for more information and the locations for oil and hazardous waste disposal.
  • Simply begin to be mindful of the types of chemicals you are using and where they are ending up.



If you want to learn more about a certain product’s contents, ask the manufacturer for the “Safety Data Sheet (SDS).” The SDS will list any constituents considered to be hazardous substances by the federal government.  You can also have the maintenance and cleaning of your boat done by professionals with the utmost care at Larsen Marine.