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Q&A with The Green Blue

'Making the environment second nature...'

This week we spoke to The Green Blue about their ongoing efforts in raising awareness of sustainability within boating communities in the UK.

At Seastainable we love to see projects like The Green Blue, raising awareness of sustainability within boating communities. Could you explain a little more about your purpose and mission to help sustainable boating in the UK?

The Green Blue is a joint environmental programme between the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) and British Marine, created in 2005. The programme aims to inspire recreational boaters, clubs, centres and marine businesses to make more environmentally sustainable choices for cleaner, healthier inland and coastal waters.

We aim to achieve this by:

  • raising awareness of key environmental issues;

  • developing tailored sustainable boating guidance and resources;

  • delivering outreach work such as talks, webinars, training and events;

  • developing partnerships and projects with other organisations;

  • working closely with government bodies and agencies;

  • and promoting the use of more sustainable marine products and services across the UK.

You focus on different issues through your campaigns. What are some of the key environmental issues you are raising awareness for and how are you doing so?

Our campaign work focuses on raising awareness of a variety of environmental issues specifically related to recreational boating, but most importantly what the boating community can do to help minimise their environmental impacts through their own boating activities. This includes energy and water conservation, minimising emissions, water pollution prevention from oil and fuel use, blackwater disposal, antifouling and plastic pollution, as well as direct habitat and wildlife protection through invasive species prevention, anchoring with care and boating responsibly around wildlife.

The Green Blue raises awareness throughout the year in different ways, including outreach work with clubs, centres and marine businesses to provide support in helping them to improve their environmental facilities and operations, through delivering awareness talks, webinars, instructor training and attending boating events to talk directly with the boating community.

We also have designated awareness raising weeks during the year, for example our ‘Protect Collect Dispose Week’ in March which aims to highlight the environmental best practice that can be adopted to prevent water pollution when removing and applying antifouling, ‘Invasive Species Week’ in May and ‘Boating Wildlife Aware Week’ in June. During these campaign weeks we provide information, facts and sustainable boating top tips across our social media platforms and newsletters that the boating community can discover and share to help spread the word.

The Green Blue provides resources and information to support recreational boating. Could you tell us a bit about how this is helping in adopting and sharing good practice?

Over the last 15 years The Green Blue has delivered it outreach work, and developed and built upon its array of sustainable boating guidance and resources for boaters, clubs, centres and marine businesses, all of which are freely available on The Green Blue website.

Our outreach work and resources have enabled the boating community to gain more understanding of exactly how boating activities can impact on the environment and provide up to date environmental best practice to help the boating community identify how they can minimise their impacts.

Resources include:

  • Green Boating Guides, including our newly published ‘The Green Guide to Anchoring & Moorings’;

  • Awareness Raising Toolkit, containing sustainable boating top tip posters, infographics, video guides and webinars;

  • The Green Blue Business Directory, which lists more sustainable marine products and services;

  • Educational activities for young boaters and instructor teaching resources;

  • The UK Environmental Marine Facilities Map, where boat users can locate their nearest marina or harbour with a pump out facility, recycling, water refill points etc.

If you had to give just one piece of advice to the boating community in the UK to ensure they adopt a sustainable practice what would it be?

Here at The Green Blue we strongly believe that small sustainable actions or changes to the way we undertake our boating activities, can collectively, create a larger overall positive impact to our boating environment.

So our advice would be to choose a simple sustainable boating action you can take to make a difference, do it, and then share with others. If you need some ideas visit The Green Blue website and take a look at our Green Boating Guides which are full of simple sustainable top tips.

Having launched in 2005, how have you found attitudes have changed towards sustainability and what are your thoughts on the future of sustainability within the marine sector?

The attitudes towards sustainability in the marine sector have increasingly become more positive and proactive over the years, with more boaters, clubs, marine organisations and businesses coming to The Green Blue, keen to find out how they can be part of safeguarding the environment we rely on for our livelihoods, wellbeing and recreational enjoyment.

Back in 2005 The Green Blue was one of the few environmental awareness projects within the marine sector focused on supporting sustainable recreational boating in the UK. It is now encouraging to see more organisations starting up to help support the sector in becoming more sustainable, including Seastainable Yachting, Seachangers, and the World Sailing Trust.

We are now seeing a stronger collaborative effort from our sector to drive change and it is inspiring to see sustainability strategies and environmental roadmaps being implemented by key stakeholders such as the RYA, British Marine, World Sailing and RNLI.

This makes us positive about the future of sustainability in the marine leisure sector, where there is an increasing realisation that in order to sustain our livelihoods, wellbeing and recreational enjoyment, we must safeguard the natural environment these depend on.

Thanks to The Green Blue for the chat and we look forward to see what the future holds, together working towards making the Maine & yachting industry more sustainable. Follow @the_green_blue and check out their website

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