Cleaning and Maintenance

When you clean your boat, your cleaning products could end up in the water. Products used on boat hulls and decks often contain chlorine, ammonia, potassium hydroxide and solvents, all potentially harmful to the aquatic environment. Detergents containing phosphates (such as washing-up liquids and laundry detergents) can lead to nutrient enrichment causing algal blooms and oxygen depletion, causing localised suffocation of aquatic life.

Other products, such as degreasers, can dry the natural oils that fish need for their gills to function properly. Many cleaning products also contain chemicals which can disrupt the reproductive cycle of fish, invertebrates and amphibians.

Another common problem product is Triclosan (often marketed as Microban). This is added to a wide range of products, such as liquid soaps, shower gels, mouthwashes, toothpastes, antibacterial sprays and washing-up liquid. Triclosan compounds can affect the structure and function of algal communities, and can accumulate in organisms such as fish and crustaceans.