8 eco-friendly recommendations for when you are sailing

Our key advice to help you become an environmentally-friendly sailor and sail more economically while respecting the marine environment!



Refuel early in the morning when the fuel is cold and less dense. At moderate flow, this minimizes steam and spray. If a tanker truck is delivering fuel, it is advisable to wait several hours as the process stirs up residual deposits that will end up in your tank.



When in harbour, use the dockside facilities and biodegradable detergents (head, shower, dishes). An increasing number of harbours have equipment for emptying your boat’s black water tanks. Lastly, when at sea, never discharge black water in sensitive areas (protected marine areas, bathing and mooring areas, waters with limited renewal).



Sun oil forms a layer on the sea’s surface reducing photosynthesis essential for life. It is better to use sun milk or any other water-soluble product to protect yourself from the sun.



Household waste and especially plastics are a serious problem. Apply the «3R» rule: reduce, reuse, recycle. Before sailing:

  • Buy loose rather than pre-packed products,
  • Opt for recyclable and reusable containers (glass, canned goods, cardboard),
  • Ban disposable products. 

On board, just like at home, it is easy to sort your waste selectively. It is also important to inform crew of measures that will prevent loss due to the wind and the boat’s movements. Back in the harbour, dispose of your waste in the appropriate containers and comply with local sorting instructions



It is important to respect to professional fishing areas by making sure that you stay more than 150 m away from fishing gear marked with beacons and pennants and sport and recreational fishing rules (authorized equipment and equipment, catch sizes, times of the year, fishing areas). Never take juveniles and fish below minimum sizes.

Being a responsible consumer means:

  • Avoiding species whose stocks are overexploited;
  • Ruling out the consumption of deep-sea species.
  • Focusing on sustainable fishing as indicated by the French Sustainable Fishing label or the international MSC

For further information, go to www.ifremer.fr



Engine and hull noise can disturb marine flora and fauna.  In protected natural areas, near beaches and in any sensitive area, slow down to reduce noise and waves.



You can put some very easy principles to put into practice and limit the impact sailing has on the environment: 

  • Distribution of weight on board (passengers and equipment) helps to balance the hull and reduces heel,
  • Eliminate unnecessary weight by emptying stagnant water from the bilge each time
  • you sail and offload any objects that are not needed when sailing;
  • Chose the right engine for the sailing you intend to do so that the engine runs within its optimal efficiency range (rather than maximum) and manage fuel consumption carefully,
  • Comply with the boat’s optimal design speed or remain below this speed by a few knots. This will save fuel and reduce pollution. Optimal performance is generally 20 to 25% lower than the maximum performance,
  • Do not leave the engine running unnecessarily and do not use it full throttle; 
  • Change the engine (with a used boat) to make the most of the latest technology and reduce consumption and emissions,
  • Use navigational aids that indicate the most economical cruising speeds together with automatic trim regulators that will improve engine performance and comfort underway,
  • Use the dockside electricity supply to avoid having to use your generators;  
  • Install equipment that produces additional renewable energy (wind, photovoltaic, hydrogen, etc...),
  • To keep energy consumption down, only use air conditioning when it’s really hot and ensure the boat is well insulated.



Use mooring buoys wherever possible. Nowadays, you can buy ecological anchors.  Whatever type of anchor you use, favour sandy bottoms (clear area) and use sufficient chain length. It is advisable to use a buoy rope and always raise the anchor from directly above.

Published on 28.08.2019