Chris Edmonston: Hi! I am Chris Edmonston, President of The BoatUS Foundation. Boaters need to be aware of the environmental impact their boats might have, not only for the protection of the boat, but more importantly for the protection of the environment.
The first thing to consider is your boat's weight. When boating near shore or other sensitive areas, keep your weight to a minimum to reduce shoreline erosion and damage to dock facilities. If you ever find yourself boating in unfamiliar areas, be sure to have current charts. Running a ground or worse can have a big impact on the environment. Avoid seagrass beds and other sensitive habitats.
Use mooring balls when possible, but if you're anchoring, anchor it with care and be sure your anchor is well set and will not drag. Try to prevent the spread of invasive species. If moving your boat from one waterway to another, always clean, drain, and dry your boat.
You also want to clean your trailer and/or gear that has come in contact with water; for anglers, no species restrictions in seasons. If practicing catch and release, consider using silver hooks. And finally if you catch a fish, handle it with wet hands and minimize your time out of the water to increase their chance of survival after release.
By following these tips, you will not only help protect your boat, you will also help protect the local waterways.