Useful tricks, tips and resources

Here we collate information for you to use, refer to and share with others!

Thank you Waikawa BC for sharing some of these tips! 

If you have any suggestions, experience or comments regarding the content below, please email

Non-Toxic Cleaners

Many cleaning products contain phosphates and other chemicals that are toxic to aquatic ecosystems. Besides regularly rinsing your boat with freshwater, research your cleaners and consider using less harmful household products. Some examples:
  • Decks – scrub with a mixture of one part white vinegar and eight parts warm water.
  • Stainless steel – wipe with a cloth dipped in undiluted white vinegar.
  • Fiberglass Stains – make a paste of baking soda and water. Use a sponge or soft cloth & gently rub the mix into the stain. This paste can also be used to clean onboard showers and heads. While baking soda is an excellent all-around cleaner, keep in mind that it is abrasive, so use with care. Use lemon or lime juice as a final wipe-down for a shiny, fresh-smelling finish.
  • Mildew – for stubborn mildew stains on canvas or other cloth surfaces, mix together one part lemon juice & one part salt. Scrub the mixture onto the stain, rinse thoroughly & dry outside.
  • Aluminium – using a soft cloth, clean with a solution of cream of tartar and water (but not baking soda which can oxidise aluminium).
  • Plastic Surfaces – use a mixture of one part white vinegar and two parts warm water
  • Boat, Sails, Lifejacket cleaners – Check out the information from the ‘Sailors for the Sea’ organisation: Non-Toxic Cleaning Products and their eco-friendly and homemade boat cleaners 
Have you recently shredded one of your sails, or are you upgrading your existing ones and don’t know what to do with the old ones?
Here’s an idea: Get it made into bags by Upcycled Sail Bags – AQ Bags.
Lyndal is giving your old sails a second life and turns them into great bags. And who knows, you might get a good deal from Brett Linton for a new one 🙂 And she might return your donation with a nice sail bag for you (depending on the size and state of the sail), and even your crew can get a 10% discount, if they want to have a bag made out of the sail that they have been using – how great!

Many of the popular places to go boating are also reserves or protected coastlines with strict rules around dog access and control in order to protect wildlife. While pet dogs seem harmless to many owners, they are unfortunately responsible for many kiwi deaths every year, along with those of penguins, dotterel and other coastal species.

Here’s what you can do to help keep your dog and wildlife safe around beaches.

  • Part of being a responsible dog owner means keeping your pet always under your control. The easiest way to do this is to always walk them on a lead – like the ‘Lead the Way’ leads. 
  • If you do let them off their lead, make sure you can confidently recall your dog. Especially in the event of a distraction like another dog a sleepy seal or a nesting dotterel.
Where to go on beaches:
  • Walk on the wet sand first hand

A lot of our coastal species rest or nest in the sand dunes, or driftwood high on the beach. Walk your dog on the wet sand and you’ll be more likely to avoid any sensitive shorebird nesting areas or a slumbering sea lion/pakake.

  • Feet on sand – lead in hand

It’s a legal requirement to have your lead with you in public. Even if you’re exercising in an off-lead area, have it handy in case you need close control while you walk past a distraction.

  • Keep 20 meters away from coastal creatures

If you see some wildlife up ahead, put your lead on your dog and pass at least 20 meters away from the wildlife. This will help keep your dog and the wildlife safe.

There are several things in our environment that are toxic to dogs, from the food in our kitchen to the plants in our gardens. There are also things at the beach to watch out for including:

– toxic algae
puffer fish
– sea slugs, and
– blue bottles that may have washed ashore.

  • Even ingesting too much sand or salt water in a game of ‘catch’ can be dangerous to their health.


Check out DOC’s Dogs on beaches website for more details: Dogs on beaches ( 

Lead the way: Our work ( The website leads you to a quiz checking whether you know your basics. 

Slip, slop and slap is important for us sailors, especially in the height of summer (yes, even in Welli it can get hot)! But all year round it’s important to protect our skin while we’re out on the water.

We can also protect the waters we’re  sailing/swimming/kayaking/… in by using ocean- and reef-safe sunscreen.

Most sunscreens contain oxybenzone and octinoxate amongst other harmful ingredients, and these cause damage to our marine ecosystems.

We have reviewed options for ‘reef-safe’ sunscreens (Hawaii Reef bill; these do not contain oxybenzone and octinoxate) and have listed a number of them below so you can get them for the next sailing outing.

NZ made:

Goodbye – made by passionate sailing supporters and provided in reusable and recyclable packaging. Bonus: As a Yachting NZ member, you get 15% off by using the code ‘CleanOcean’!


Other brands:


Note that even the above listed sunscreens contain other ingredients that are harmful for the environment – but they are still a better option than the ones not passing the reef-safe requirements. And with more conscious consumption, we can all make a small difference and influence providers in the longer term.

 Thank you for supporting the Clean Club initiative, the environment and maybe even NZ businesses by choosing products more considerate!

This guide is a comprehensive booklet provided by the Sailors for the Sea Organisation.

Check out their website resources here: SfS – Green Boating guide – content listed below.
Note that some of the information may not apply in NZ, and we’re keen to hear about your experiences and tips & tricks, so please do share your feedback via Thank you!

Repurpose Gear

What do you do with boating gear that has been outgrown or has reached its end life? There are many different ways to reuse or upcycle items to help reduce waste that may otherwise end up in the landfill or our oceans.


Prop Scar Prevention

Help prevent damage to seagrass beds by taking proper precautions while navigating shallow waters.


Spring Preparation

Get your boat ready to launch, while being green doing it. Learn simple tips that will make a difference for your waterways.


Winterizing Your Boat

Properly storing your boat for the winter will ensure that you protect the environment and are ready for on-the-water fun come springtime!


General Maintenance

Proactively managing your vessel reduces harmful environmental impacts, and also extends the life of your engine and boat.


Bilge Maintenance

Prevent oils and other toxic chemicals from sneaking into the ocean by inspecting and maintaining your bilge.



Choosing the right battery for your boat and performing routine maintenance will ensure the optimal lifespan of your battery and will save you money.


Engine Maintenance

Routine maintenance will ensure that your local waterways are protected and your engine is performing properly.


Green Fishing

Observe responsible fishing practices to lessen your impact on fish populations and the surrounding aquatic environment.


Invasive Species Prevention

Boaters can take simple precautions to prevent non-native plants and animals from spreading and causing harm to new habitats and native species.


Boating Near Marine Wildlife

Ensure that you have a memorable experience without disturbing marine wildlife by following a few simple guidelines.



Learn proper anchoring techniques to prevent damage to important ecosystems including coral reefs, seagrass and shellfish beds.


Vacation Carbon Footprint

While preparing for or on vacation, there are many choices you can make to reduce your carbon footprint and impact on the environment.


Sustainable Seafood

Learn how to determine if the fish you are about to eat is sustainable.


Greening Your Galley

Learn how to set up and provision your galley to be more efficient and environmentally friendly.


Renewable Energy

Sun, wind and water – all things we love as boaters – can also be a source of energy to help power our boats. Discover which technologies work best for your vessel.


Reduce Fuel Usage

How you maintain and drive your vessel has a large of effect on how much fuel you use – and how much money you can save!



This renewable, non-toxic, clean-burning fuel can be a great alternative to conventional diesel – and requires very few (if any) modifications for switching over.


Outboard Engines

Outboard engines have come a long way – learn about types motors that are both clean and cost effective to operate.


Carbon Footprint

A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases (including carbon dioxide) produced directly or indirectly by our activities and lifestyle. Learn how to calculate your boat’s carbon footprint, and ways to reduce and/or offset your impact.


Waste Reduction

Marine debris not only harms important habitats and wildlife, but also can cause damage to your boat. Prevent waste from entering our waterways by reducing plastic onboard.


Spillproof Fueling

Filling up fuel tanks is one of the most common ways that we unintentionally pollute our waters. However, with care, boaters can take steps to mitigate the risk of accidently spilling oil or fuel.


Non-Toxic Cleaning Products

Head over to our internal section for more information.



Untreated water from your onboard sinks and showers, and the wastewater from cleaning your boat with detergents is a major polluter of the marine environment. Learn how to prevent graywater from impacting your local waters and wildlife.


Bottom Paint

Many boats use copper-based bottom paints, which can harm aquatic wildlife. Learn about eco-friendly alternatives that will not only lessen your boat’s environmental impact, but may also save you money!


Oils & Fuel Spills

Do you know what to do if you spill oil or fuel into the water? Learn the steps to take in case of a spill and how to prevent it from spreading.



Sewage discharge from marine heads can cause significant damage to surrounding waters. Discover different ways to manage blackwater on your vessel and what regulations you may need to follow.