Category Archives for "Green Boating"

Aug 25

Port of Long Beach Green Port Initative

By Drew | Green Boating , News

The City of Long Beach is home to hundreds of personal pleasure crafts of all shapes and sizes, and is a popular destination for visitors to bring their boats for a day or two of fun in the sun. But it’s also home to another kind of ocean craft: Container ships coming to call at the busy Port of Long Beach. And they’re getting bigger every day. This might sound like a recipe for more smog than sun. But this particular port has been making waves in more ways than one, and it’s a breath of fresh air for Long Beach’s residents, as well as its boaters.

It’s hard to miss the Port of Long Beach’s impact on the city’s western skyline. Enormous cranes reach tall into the sky, lifting hundreds of thousands of containers from enormous ships to the docks where they are either loaded onto waiting trucks or onto a complex string of cargo trains. Ports like this one are infamous for the pollution they cause, and until recently the Port of Long Beach was no exception.

Foss Hybrid Tug

Foss Hybrid Tug

2005 marked the beginning of a new era for this busy seaport. Then Executive Director Richard Steinke signed the Green Flag Initiative, setting never before seen standards in the reduction of air pollution caused by port commerce. Ships coming to call in Long Beach were given new guidelines, and the thousands of truck drivers coming in and out were also called upon to do their part in reducing the air pollution.

Groundbreaking new programs were put in place. Among them was the port’s Green Flag Vessel Speed Reduction Program, a vessel speed reduction zone restricting the speed of container ships as they approached shore. Reducing speed means burning less fuel, which equals fewer emissions. New regulations were also put in place to ensure only low-sulfur fuel is burned, and an increased use of shore power for cargo ships so instead of continuing to rely on fuel after docking, they run on electricity for the duration of their visit.

Clean Trucks at Pier T

Clean Trucks at Pier T

Another flagship program put in place is the Clean Trucks Program which set standards for the type of fuel and emissions acceptable for the trucks coming into the port for pick-ups and deliveries. Trucks deemed too “dirty” were banned, and a center was put in place on port land to assist truckers and trucking companies with acquiring new fleets of clean burning rigs.

So what does all of this mean today, eleven years after the introduction of the Green Flag Initiative? Well, according to the 2015 annual inventory of port-related air emissions, which is conducted by an independent consultant and reviewed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, since 2005 there has been a 48% reduction in nitrogen oxides, 85% reduction in diesel particulate matter, and a 97% reduction in sulfur oxides.

And they aren’t stopping there.

Today the Port of Long Beach remains focused on continued reductions of air pollution through an increased use of on-dock rail systems, new joint efforts with the neighboring Port of Los Angeles, and an ongoing interest in next level technological advancements. According to a recent statement from Long Beach Harbor Commission President Lori Ann Guzmán, “While we’ve had challenges, we continue to be committed to reaching our goal of zero-emissions operations. We are steadfast in our commitment to improving air quality for the region now and over the long term as evidenced by our recently approved $46 million mitigation grant program.”

Now more than ever Long Beach’s many residents, boaters, and visitors can breathe a hard earned sigh of relief.

Aug 20

Green Boating Tips: Spill Proof Fueling

By Drew | Green Boating

The Long Beach Marinas are part of the national Clean Marinas program, and all three have been certified as Clean Marinas since 2006. The Clean Marina program is a nationwide partnership between public, private, and municipally owned marinas to promote environmentally safe “green boating”. Here are a few ways to have a safe and green boating experience while fueling up.

Spill-Proof Fueling

It’s unbelievably difficult to avoid spilling when filling your boat’s fuel tank. The most experienced boaters still routinely discover that at least a little has managed to make it into the ocean or onto the dock, ready to run into the water at the first rain or wave. Even a tiny fuel spill is enough to damage the animals and plants that make boating so much fun.

According to the National Academy of Sciences 85% of petroleum that enters North American waters each year is the result of human activity. And the cost to clean up a spill is a lot less than the cost to clean it up.

Before you begin to pump,here are a few green boating tips that can go a long way towards preventing a spill.

  • Check your fuel lines and tanks to make sure they’re in good shape. It’s easy to pump a lot of gas before you realize most of it has been leaking out of a crack in the line that you didn’t notice before.
  • Be sure to have the proper emergency supplies on hand just in case, such as absorbent bibs, or bilge pads, and a spill kit
  • Don’t overfill. If it’s not your vessel, find out how many gallons the fuel tank holds before you fill. Don’t guess!

Once you’ve begun it’s even more important to keep focused on the task at hand.

  • This should go without saying but let’s say it anyway. Make sure the engines (all of them) and electrical equipment onboard are turned off and be sure to extinguish any open flames. The same rules you would have at your car’s gas station apply at your boat’s gas station.
  • Use an absorbent bib around the fuel intake every time you fill-up Remember, every drop counts.
  • Fill your tank slowly, listening for the tell-tale sound of the tank reaching capacity.

When you’ve finished filling, wipe up any spills that may have gotten out despite your diligence and dispose of your used rags and absorbent bibs. Remember, these items qualify as “hazardous waste” and should be disposed of as such.

The U.S. Coast Guard recommends filling inboard tanks to 90% capacity. This allows for expansion due to heat. Also, boat fuel tanks aren’t like car fuel tanks. Car fuel tanks are pressurized, but boat fuel tanks are not, so the pump automatic shut-off doesn’t always work.

Even if you use portable fuel cans it’s important to be very careful, for they pose their own set of issues. Just transporting gas in a fuel can (aka jerrycan) will lead to major spills if you aren’t careful. Always fill your fuel cans on shore and on level ground where spills are far less likely to happen and are far easier to clean up if they do.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that over 70,000 gallons of fuel is spilled from portable fuel cans every year. New fuel cans sold in the U.S. must meet a set of regulations designed to prevent spills and reduce vapors being released. These new cans fill more slowly, but they are far safer for the environment.

Being a safe boater means ensuring the safety of not just your passengers and other boaters, but also the environment you’re a guest in. The world’s waterways are incredibly delicate. It’s important to take responsibility for every drop that we put into them.

Fuel sheen on the water.

Fuel sheen on the water.

If you accidentally spill any fuel, or notice any fuel in the water, immediately call the marina office. The marina will notify the lifeguards who will send out a rescue boat to assess the problem. If you notice a spill after hours, call the after hours line at (562) 570-3101. If  you have any bilge pads or booms, feel free to put them in the water in or around the sheen.