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To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.

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Good Mate: Waterway Conservation for Boaters

As a boater, you’re in a unique position to be a true steward of our oceans, lakes, and waterways.

Recreational boating means enjoying the beauty of the water -- but stop and think for a minute, and you’ll realize that the very nature of boating makes it a potential source for the most damaging types of water pollution: oil and fuel, sewage, chemicals, solid waste, and debris. Boaters can all-too-easily introduce these harmful pollutants into the environment through their everyday activities.

The good news is that even small changes in the way we maintain and operate our boats can make a big difference for aquatic environments and the amazing variety of animals and plants making their homes in the water. To help keep waterways and the ocean clean, Ocean Conservancy’s Good Mate program raises awareness, and promotes environmentally responsible boating as well as responsible marina operations.

Did you know?

  • When spilled, a single quart of oil can create a two-acre oil slick that’s the size of three football fields.
  • Releasing untreated sewage from a 20-gallon holding tank has the same impact as discharging several thousand gallons of treated sewage from a treatment plant.
  • Many cleaning products are safe to use in our homes because household wastewater is usually treated at treatment plants. When used on a boat, they may spill or wash off directly into the water and untreated.
  • Using dish soap on a fuel or oil spill just sinks the pollution to the bottom and into the sediment. Use oil absorbent pads instead.
  • It can take up to 200 years for an aluminum can to degrade in the ocean.

Get Involved!

Ocean Conservancy is starting a sea change in how we all care for the ocean’s health. If everyone takes simple steps, the ocean can remain healthy and resilient for future generations. So join fellow boaters and participate in the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup!

Order Ocean Conservancy's free Good Mate CD and learn more about what you can do to keep waterways clean and healthy for boating. We are happy to provide educational materials to boaters, boating clubs, and marinas that include tips and best practices on the following topics:

  • Oil & Fuel
  • Sewage
  • Vessel Maintenance & Repair
  • Vessel Operations
  • Marine Debris

For more information or to order materials, please contact Sonya Besteiro at

For additional resources, please click here for links to other sites with environmentally friendly boating tips.