Have you ever wondered what your boat carbon footprint is and how you can offset it? Here’s a quick rundown of carbon footprint basics and suggestions on how to make this your greenest boating season ever.
What is a Carbon Footprint?
A carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) or greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, measured in pounds of carbon dioxide, that are released into the atmosphere whenever a specific action is performed. Carbon footprints measure the impact of our day-to-day activities and how they affect the environment and global climate change.
What is a Boat Carbon Footprint?
A boat carbon footprint can be created in a variety of ways (even through towing a vehicle or by using a generator) but the main carbon emissions produced are through the actual fuel consumed by your boat.
How to Calculate your Boat Carbon Footprint
In order to calculate the CO2 emissions from your boat’s fuel consumption, multiply your fuel tank size (in gallons) by the pounds of CO2 (per gallon) based on the fuel type used as displayed in the following chart. This number represents the pounds of CO2 that your boat emits when you’ve burned from a full tank to empty. One gallon of gas = approximately 20 pounds of CO2; as gas burns, it combines with oxygen to increase its weight several times over.
How to Reduce your Boat Carbon Footprint
The most obvious way to reduce your boat’s carbon footprint is to reduce your overall fuel consumption. This can be done in a number of ways including:
- Ease up on the throttle – it’s fun to go slow, too!
- Don’t always run the engine at full throttle, ease back into cruise often to maximize your outting
- Lightening up your boat by removing any excess items will help to remove unnecessary weight
- If you’re looking at buying a boat, ensure the engine is the right size, and do not buy a carburated motor
- consider a diesel engine over gasoline as diesel fuel burns cleaner, or better yet – use biofuel!
- As with your car, consider your boat to be a non-idling area
- Ensure your boat’s propeller is ding free
- Consider switching to a stainless steel propeller with thinner blades that result in lowered fuel usage
- Use an electronic fuel monitor to check fuel usage which helps to establish your optimal cruising speed
- Reduce overall drag be ensuring your boat hull is always kept clean
- Not carrying any unnecessary excess water or fuel
- If you’re using your boat for longer trips, consider the installation of an auto pilot which will help to reduce fuel usage
- Using caution to avoid the spillage of gasoline and other toxic waste
- Buying a boat with a new non-carbureted motor
- If you like to go fast, consider purchasing a smaller boat that will use less fuel
- Again, as with your car, consider boatpooling (same as carpooling) if you’re all traveling to the same destination
- Following your engine manufacturer’s maintenance schedule
Another option to reduce your boat carbon footprint is to consider purchasing carbon offset credits.
What is a Carbon Offset Credit?
A carbon offset is a financial tool for ‘offsetting’ the equivalent in GHG emissions; it costs an estimated $15 to offset each metric ton (2,204.6 lbs) of carbon dioxide emissions. Many social enterprises exist worldwide with the common environmental goal of reducing CO2 emissions; one such company is TerraPass.
TerraPass Carbon Offsets
With the goal of encouraging everyone to become carbon neutral (the balancing or offsetting of carbon dioxide emissions produced with carbon offset credits), TerraPass can calculate individual carbon footprints through home, driving, or air travel usage. TerraPass currently supports clean energy and emission reduction programs in ten locations across the U.S. through programs including farm power, landfill methane gas capture, and wind farms.