RBYC Environment Policy & Action Plan

RBYC Environmental Strategy

The Royal County of Berkshire Yacht Club is committed to minimising the impact of its activities on the environment.The key points of its strategy are:

  • To promote sustainability and environmental best practice amongst its members, partners and suppliers.
  • To minimise emissions through the promotion of sustainable activities and travel.
  • To reduce the use of resources and encourage recycling.
  • To support the protection of biodiversity in the marine and coastal environments in which we operate.
  • To promote the use of technologies that minimise the environmental impact of club activities.

The Green Blue Best Practice Guide

The Green Blue is a joint environmental programme created by the British Marine Federation and the Royal Yachting Association with support from Crown Estates and Scottish Natural Heritage whose aim is to promote the sustainable use of coastal and inland waters by boating and water sports participants, as well as the sustainable operation and development of the recreational boating industry.

The Green Blue best practice guide for boat users has been adopted by the committee as the club’s environmental action plan and now describes how we go about protecting the environment whilst taking part in club activities.

For further information about The Green Blue, the work that it does and the guides for boating businesses and clubs with premises please check out their website http://www.thegreenblue.org.uk/.

Action Plans for Resource Efficiency and Energy Efficiency

On Board

  • Change to low energy kit such as LED lights
  • Invest in solar or wind generators to reduce the need to turn on your engine to top up batteries
  • Consider using biofuels or electric engines
  • When purchasing an outboard engine, choose CE marked engines to increase fuel efficiency and reduce noise
  • When victualling, choose locally produced groceries
  • Keep your hull clean, engine running efficiently and trim the engine to minimise fuel consumption.
  • Good use of throttle on motor boats will dramatically reduce fuel consumption
  • Choose products made from recycled materials
  • Choose products made from FSC certified wood
  • Recycle as much waste on board as possible
  • Recycle your second hand kit such as old sails and oilskins at boat jumbles, freecycle or on ebay rather than throwing it away. You might even make some money out of it
  • Ask about the environmental policies of businesses or manufacturers that you buy from
  • Do not leave the hose running unnecessarily when filling up your water tanks or washing down your boat
  • Encourage your club, marina or harbour office to install water saving devices

At home – Low cost

  • Monitor energy use
  • Install energy efficient light bulbs
  • Switch off lights in unused rooms
  • Switch off heating in unused rooms
  • Do not leave electrical products on standby when not in use
  • Insulate heating pipes
  • Check room temperature and thermostat settings are between 18 and 21 degrees
  • Ensure fridges are installed away from heat sources and south facing windows
  • Turn down hot water to 60 degrees
  • Keep windows clean to ensure maximum natural light
  • Ensure radiators are not obstructed by furniture
  • Fit draft excluders to doors and windows
  • Install automatic switches on hand and hair dryers
  • Switch to a proven green tariff for electricity supply
  • Print double sided
  • Take advantage of tax incentives to invest in energy saving equipment.
  • Clean filters and extractor fans to keep them working efficiently
  • Regularly maintain and service heating
  • Get the whole household on board and involved.
  • Car share as much as possible

At home – Higher cost

  • Install light sensors which will automatically switch off lights when no one is around
  • Insulate walls and roof cavities
  • Install double glazing
  • Replace hot water tanks which heat and store water with an efficient instant “heat on demand” or combi system
  • Install solar hot water heating panels
  • Install photovoltaic cells – Check out the feed in tariff
  • Install wind generators
  • Invest in power down equipment to switch off non essential equipment at night
Water Efficiency
  • Do not leave the hose running unnecessarily when filling up your water tanks or washing down your boat
  • Encourage your club, marina or harbour office to install water saving devices. For Example - Trigger Nozzles, Areated Shower Heads and Cistern Displacement Device
  • Report any leaks to your club, marina or harbour office.
  • Fix dripping taps
  • Install tap aerators wherever possible (reducing amount of water used by up to 80%) and watersaver shower heads which typically halve flow rates while still providing a powerful shower
  • Use plugs in basins and fill the basin rather than use running water
  • Consider buying products which score well on the water efficiency product labelling scheme

Sewage, Grey Water and Rubbish


  • Use marina/shore facilities whenever possible
  • Use environmentally friendly toilet cleaners on board
  • Educate crew on the products you use and procedures to follow
  • Use recycled toilet paper as this breaks down more quickly than regular paper
  • Use your holding tank
  • Check out the Pump Out Directory for where to empty your holding tank
  • Encourage your local marina/harbour authority to install pump out facilities and find out how to use them
  • Educate your crew on board and encourage them to follow The Green Blue’s Code of Conduct

Coastal specific Advice

  • Use holding tanks or a portable toilet if you regularly sail in poor tidal flushing areas such as estuaries, inland waterways, inlets and crowded anchorages
  • Only empty holding tanks at pump out stations or when more than 3 miles offshore in the open sea where waste will be quickly diluted and dispersed by wave action and currents
  • When visiting new sites give consideration to the environmental sensitivity of the area before using your sea toilet
  • Fit a holding tank in your boat, it is law to have one in some European countries

Inland Specific Advice

  • Find out the regulations of the waterways you visit before leaving.
  • When using chemical toilets plan ahead where you will empty these as they use toxic substances that only a few pump out facilities will accept. Never empty own a drain, always dispose of into an appropriate sewage system.

Grey Water

  • Choose environmentally sensitive products avoiding chlorine and bleach which can be toxic to flora and fauna, and phosphates which encourage algal growth
  • Minimise use of soaps and detergents used in onboard sinks, showers and washing machines
  • If using a washing machine onboard, switch to a detergent free wash ball, or use less ecologically damaging washing powders
  • Re-plumb waste water systems so that all sewage (grey and black water) is diverted to the holding tank, especially on inland waterways


  • Prevent plastic bags, drinks cans and loose items from blowing overboard. Ban loose item such as sandwich wrappings or yokes on 6 packs from coming up on deck
  • If litter does find its way over board, then use the opportunity to practice your man over board procedure
  • Set an example to your crew by not throwing any litter (including biodegradable waste) overboard
  • Cigarette ends can last up to 5 years and can cause birds to starve if swallowed. Provide butt boxes for stub ends
  • Remove as much excess packaging as you can before you go out on the boat
  • Recycle as much waste on board as possible, with the increasing amount of mixed recycling facilities now available, you need only two bins on board
  • Ask your marina to provide recycling facilities. Point out that recycled waste can be up to 50% cheaper to dispose of than waste going to landfill
  • Invest in biodegradable rubbish bags. They break down in 12 to 18 months rather than up to 500 years
  • Where possible reuse items such as plastic bottles and boxes
  • Think about recycling old equipment such as sails, rope and electronic equipment
  • Don’t contaminate general waste by throwing hazardous waste items isuch as paint tins, oily rags and antifoul scrapings in the wrong container.
  • Keep oils and other food waste on board and dispose of with non recyclable rubbish

Cleaning and Maintenance

  • Choose more environmentally sensitive products, avoiding chlorine and bleach which are toxic to flora and fauna, and phosphates which encourage algal growth
  • Check out The Green Directory to find greener boat cleaning products
  • Use fresh water or non toxic solutions to clean your boat wherever possible
  • Minimise the use of soaps and detergents used in onboard sinks, showers, and washing machines
  • If using a washing machine onboard, switch to a detergent free wash ball, or use less ecologically damaging washing powders.
  • Waxing your hull keeps you fuel efficient and reduces the need for cleaning products over the season
  • Avoid spreading invasive species by thoroughly scrubbing your dinghy, trailer and other possibly contaminated items such as anchors, before leaving the area This is especially important in areas where problem species have been identified
  • Find out where invasive non-native hotspot areas are at http://www.nonnativespecies.org/
  • Report sightings of invasive species to the Environment agency 0800 807060

Oil and Fuel

  • Install inline bilge filters to catch oil and fuel before it gets pumped over the side
  • Check your bilge before pumping as oil and fuel can leak from the engine and gather in the bilge.
  • Use a drip tray under the engine to catch leaks (this is a legal requirement on many inland waterways).
  • Use a bilge sock to absorb oil and fuel in the bilges.
  • Use a funnel when pouring fuel or oil.
  • Use a fuel collar to catch drips when refuelling
  • Avoid overfilling your tank to reduce the risk of fuel overflowing from vents.
  • Allow room for expansion in the tank.
  • Maintain fuel lines, connections and seals to help avoid leaks
  • Transfer oil and fuel in proper containers
  • Dispose of waste oil at appropriate facilities
  • Dispose of all oily or fuel-soaked materials in hazardous waste containers
  • Avoid using oil and fuel on the pontoons, other than on those dedicated to refuelling
  • If possible, on land do not to use oil and fuel within ten metres of the shore
  • Contact the relevant environment agency to report any oil spills or call the 24 hour pollution hotline on 0800 807060
  • Never use detergents to deal with spills. Detergents may disperse the fuel or oil but they can be more toxic to aquatic life than the oil itself
  • Carry a spill kit on board and learn how to use it
  • Consider using biofuels
  • Find out where you can dispose of or recycle old oil at the oil bank line
  • Never store oil and fuel in areas which are prone to flooding, extremes of wind or tide


  • Small craft can reach shallow, more sensitive areas. Avoid stirring up the bottom unduly or disturbing vegetation and wildlife
  • Take care where you anchor, there may be restrictions in place. Check pilot books, charts and any local guides for information on places to avoid. If a spot is suspiciously quiet, look about for any signs which may indicate a no anchoring zone
  • When going ashore use recognise landing places
  • Keep your distance when you spot wildlife. Use your binoculars to get a close up look
  • Never separate mother and young
  • Slow down if you are creating excess wash
  • Be aware that flapping sails can present a flash of colour and loud noises which can disturb wildlife
  • Find out if the areas you visit are protected and why. There may be vulnerable seabed species or habitats
  • Keep a record of your wildlife sightings and report them to Marlin, Seawatch foundation or the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society. See links below.


  • Keep to the designated speed limit, check with the navigation authority or pilot book if in doubt. Do not exceed 4knots if you are unsure
  • Slow down if you are creating excessive wash
  • Good engine trim, matching speed and conditions will reduce wash and fuel consumption
  • Good use of throttle and boat handling skills will reduce wash and improve fuel efficiency
  • The further a craft is from the bank the less impact its wash will have. Try to keep a safe, reasonable distance between yourself and the bank


  • Keep a constant speed and direction when you spot cetaceans.
  • Watch the WiSE video on how to watch wildlife responsibly

Antifoul and Invasive Species


  • Avoid antifoul scrapings from entering the water by collecting in a tarpaulin
  • Dust from sanding paint and antifouling coatings is toxic. Using a dustless vacuum sander will also protect your heath
  • If you use scrubbing piles, only scrub off the fouling and not the underlying paint – be careful not to let old or new paint enter the water
  • Select a marina, club or boatyard which has a ‘scrub-off' or closed loop wash down facility which collects residues and wash down
  • Use the A to Z of Antifoul to select the right type of antifouling for your area and boat usage – take advice from your chandlery. Use water-based paints where possible, or low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds)
  • Look into using less damaging bottom paints, such as vinyl, silicone or Teflon, which are suitable for in-water hull cleaning systems
  • Apply the right amount of antifouling required and do not spill it – when applying use a sheet to collect drip
  • Dispose of used brushes, rollers and trays and empty cans of antifoul as hazardous waste

Non Native Invasive Species

  • When leaving an anchorage, wash off both the anchor and chain before stowing
  • For boats kept in the water permanently, hull fouling is the main means of transfer. Get hulls cleaned regularly to avoid the risk of spreading and apply adequate antifouling
  • Risks of acquiring invasive hitchhikers on the boat increase the longer the boat is kept in the water.  Consider only keeping the boat in the water when it is needed
  • Avoid sailing through water plants and weed if possible.  If caught up on the hull or propeller, invasive species can be transferred to another area
  • When recovering a trailer, dinghy, PWC or RIB, drain water from every part of the boat and all equipment that can hold water
  • Clean all parts of the boat, trailer and equipment that come into contact with the water before leaving the water catchment area.  Remove any visible plant, fish, animal matter and mud and dispose of in litter bins
  • Dispose of any plant and animal materials in a dustbin or skip
  • Report any suspicions on invasive species sightings to the Food and Environment Research Agency or call 0800 807060
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