"The boating world remained relatively free of many of the environmental causes until the past few years and now you, the boat owner, are expected to do your part. Not that there haven't always been rules, of course, and the Federal Water Pollution Control Act dates back more than a quarter of a century to 1972. It's just that the enforcers had plenty to handle in the automotive and industrial arenas but, now that those groups are toeing the line, the focus is on boating.
"Engine manufacturers are facing EPA mandates for pollution control on marine engines in the near future, and are beavering away to find ways to meet the new standards without giving up either performance or low prices.
"But there are a number of ways that you can "green" your engine right now to make the waterways cleaner as well as reduce the cost of operating your boat. "
The focus of the article was mostly engines, fuel, and cleaners. These are usually not issues for me since I sail or row, and rinse out the boat with water when it gets muddy at low tide. I have been thinking about other construction issues though. For instance, painting the boats, we use good brushes rather than the disposable chip or foam brushes. We rinse them three times in paint thinner which we strain, let settle and pour back into a "used" can. Today we were using the "used" stuff all day because we were out of fresh, which is the last wash. The paint is aromatic VOC's but I don't know of any alternatives other than two part epoxies and urethanes which are much more expensive. Paint film is the primary barrier between wood and water and a good surface is not only beautiful but can add years to the boat's life. When I built canoes with kids, they often could not afford marine paint, which runs about $30 a quart, and they'd use house paint (enamel from the "second hand or wrong color" rack at Home Depot.) Regular latex enamel will last about two or three years, but you really have to keep after scratches, because once water gets under the paint it will blister off in large patches. It also doesn't sand well.
Bottom Paint is another issue. I'll talk about that later.