River Friendly Boating Practices

We use the term “River Friendly” often. Usually, it’s a reference to actions homeowners take to conserve water and reduce the use of fertilizers and pesticides that can run off into nearby storm drains and waterways. Sometimes, we are referring to businesses that take steps to reduce their impact on the river or support the work of St. Johns Riverkeeper. The term also applies to boaters who take steps to be good stewards of the river while out on the water.

Stow it, don’t throw it. Secure loose items, carry trash bags and dispose of cigarette butts, monofilament line and waste.

Pump it, don’t dump it. Use pump-out facilities and maintain sanitation devices. Find facility locations on the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s website.

Avoid toxic chemicals. Use nontoxic paints, mercury-free bilge switches, and phosphate-free cleaning products.

Dispose of hazardous waste properly. This includes used oil, batteries, bilge pump switches with mercury, old flares, gas, paint, and hazardous chemicals. Ask your marina or solid waste provider for more direction.

Keep engines well-tuned. Regularly check seals, gaskets, hoses and connections to prevent leaks and drips.

Stop the drops! Prevent fuel and oil spills and use absorbent pads or rags to catch drips and spills.

Avoid boat cleaning and maintenance in the water. Support Clean Marina and Clean Boatyard facilities that have adopted environmental Best Management Practices.

Prevent the spread of invasive plants and animals, such as hydrilla, water hyacinth and zebra mussels by checking bilges, live wells, and trailers at ramps.

Protect the grasses. Boat propellers and wakes can damage submerged aquatic vegetation and cause shoreline erosion. Seagrasses are critical to the health of our waterways and fisheries.

Join the River Patrol! River Patrol is a volunteer “river watch” program of St. Johns Riverkeeper. River patrol members:

  • Help monitor the St. Johns River and its watershed.
  • Keep watch for possible violations and pollution problems.
  • Report injured wildlife, navigation hazards, pollution incidents, and derelict boats.
  • Raise awareness about the issues impacting the river’s health.
  • Participate in cleanups, outreach events, and research projects.

Report a Violation or Problem

Document time of day, weather conditions, and GPS coordinates and take photos, if possible. Report incidents to the proper local, state or federal regulatory agency.