Letters/Online Comments

Letter to the Editor — Seeking Ways to Encourage Boaters to Take Home Empties

Byline: Rudy Socha

This spring, Wounded Nature – Working Veterans (woundednature.org) asked boaters what could be done to encourage all boats to return to the docks with the beverage containers they departed with.

The reason for the discussion: Some boaters fear an “Operating While Intoxicated” check if they return to the docks with a cooler or boat full of empty adult beverage containers. To avoid this situation, these boaters are either “sinking their empties” or leaving them behind on remote picnic/party coastal areas.

We received a lot of feedback over this issue. The majority of those who took the time to reply felt that more law enforcement and more penalties were necessary. However, I personally disagree with any solution that involves more laws and regulations.             Here are the suggested solutions we received:

* Make the littering fine and penalty exceed the “Operating While Intoxicated” penalty.

* Have all boat launch ramps and marinas issue a “trash departing ticket” showing the number of plastic bags, beverage containers and snack wrappers leaving in each boat. Checkers would do an inbound count upon boaters’ return to the docks.

* Place cameras at remote party areas.

* Offer “paparazzi awards” to photographers who can catch boaters in the act of littering.

* Have Wounded Nature offer a $10 “no litter” pledge decal for boaters.

* Accredit marinas that are willing to check each returning boater to make sure they brought their trash back with them. Provide an accreditation process and signage that would let boaters know that if they engaged in trashing our waterways, they would no longer be welcome at that marina.

Do you think implementing any of these measures will actually fix the problem? If so, which one — and why?

Do you have an alternative or better defined solution? If so, please send me an email — at rudy@woundednature.org — and let me know.

Rudy Socha
CEO, Wounded Nature – Working Veterans
Charlotte, S.C.

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