Even if you can see boat tourism as a relatively environmentally friendly hobby, there are aspects that needs to be taken into consideration. Boat tourism has a large significance for human relation to nature and to the sea, but it can easily lead to deterioration of nature as well as the nautical life.
Sailing or Motorboat
As the name implies, a sailing boat uses its sails to get ahead. To use the wind as means to conveyances is very environmentally friendly. Since the sailing boat is dependant of the wind an engine is mostly just used as a complement and can still be seen as less hazardous to the environment. Engines suitable for boats come in different sizes, from one suitable for the little rowing boat to the ones for the big luxurious yacht. Of course, the large ones are bigger consumers of fuel which lead to a bigger effect on environment. When it comes to fumes and leaking of fuels and oils the engines are much better today than just ten years ago, by enhancing catalysts and filters.
Canoes and Kayaks
Canoes and Kayaks have always existed where humans exist. From the beginning of time man has used hollowed out trunks and other floating tools to get across waters and to catch fish. Today canoes and kayaks are used mainly for recreational purposes and for athletic sports. The original canoe was built by a hollowed-out tree trunk with birch bark or leather around the get floating power. The canoe is recognized by its hollow upside and taken forward by a one-ended paddle. The kayak is not as wide as a canoe and has only an opening where you slide into it on the upper side. It is driven forward with a double-ended paddle. Instead of a tree trunk the kayaks were mostly made by bones from large vales. The kayak was most common in arctic environment whilst canoes were mainly used by the north American Indians.
Camping and Canoe Safari
Around the world, it has become more and more popular to camp out in nature. Combining a fishing vacation with canoeing and living in a tent gives a great feeling of freedom and is of course a very nice way to make little impact on environment. If you go down a river, you can come a long way in just a few days. In north America, it is popular to travel down the Hudson- or the Colorado River with its wild and stunning nature. In Europe there are also many nice rivers in Norway and Sweden for example, and in Finland there are lakes everywhere as its name hints, The land of a thousand lakes.
Environmental Problems in The Baltic Sea
In the countries surrounding the Baltic Sea there has been a large impact on environment by boat tourism. There are mainly large leisure and sailing boats. These boats were constructed for one or a few families and have cooking, overnight, and toilet facilities. The problems lie in latrines being emptied into the ocean which leads to overfertilization and other harmful substances leaking out into the ocean. To protect the Baltic Sea, the countries surrounding the ocean have decided on a total stop on latrines being emptied into the water. Finland was first on the prohibition in 2005 while Sweden started as late as 2015. Despite being prohibited, a large number of latrines are still being emptied into the ocean. The main reason to this is believed to be limited possibilities in the harbours to collect the waste properly. This is now under investigation in the EU to make a new plan.
At last, it is however an individual responsibility to reflect on how environmentally friendly you and your travels are. To have the opportunity to enjoy nature in the future we all need to pitch in!