Cleanliness is Next to Godliness

Coast Guard Boat

This expression goes back to Biblical days – when there were fewer people and even fewer boats. If each generation wants to hand over these creeks and bays to their children and grandkids in the condition that we were entrusted them with, there are a few simple rules, rubrics and guidelines to follow – even if your neighbor doesn’t…  And the occasional hurricanes always up the challenge as storm drains spew debris and God-knows-what-else, reminding us that even bubble gum wrappers thrown in rain culverts can end up in our creeks, coves and bays.

How Many Fish Are There in the Sea, Mr. Answer-Man?

When we were kids, we thought that question had no answer. Now we know that the bio-mass is going down and, with some specific species, faster than the bigger fish can make little fishes. So, just take what you can eat that day. Use circle hooks to make it easier/safer (for the fish) to release those you throw back; consider calling local fisheries managers (I bet the Riverhead Aquarium is a good place to start) and offering to join their tag-and-release program – help with the long-term data collection process. Be part of the solution.

What To Do With the “Doo-Doo?”

A lot of mariners, half seriously and half in jest, justify off-loading human waste into our waters based on the old saw, “do you know what the FISH are doing in these waters??!!?”  Admittedly, the marinas are now charging for pump-outs but, come on, Bunky, you can call the Southampton “Pooper Boat” on channel 78 and he’ll pump you out for free. If that isn’t convenient, (you do have to be in the Town of Southampton waters to be serviced and that means you have to travel as far east as Hart’s Cove), call 1-800-ASK-FISH and ask where there are pump out stations in your area, and if you put a “user-friendly” head on your boat, you can probably get your better half to come out with you more often. Be part of the solution.

Good to the Last Drop?  Why???

Have you ever squeezed off a few more ounces at the fuel dock – just to see half of it (or more) spill over the side? Forgetting Coast Guard regulations and fines, think about this for a minute – you’re burning some number of gallons an hour – and you’re trying to top up the last few ounces? What does that represent – 20 seconds of steaming? And fill your jerry cans on the hard, not on your boat. If someone throws even a small wake at you while fueling the can in your boat, it is better than even-money that gasoline is going to end up in your boat and/or in the water (where your bilge pump will send it before you can spell “big trouble!”) Keep some absorbent pads aboard. Be part of the solution.

Garbage In, Garbage Out

If you brought it out, bring it in – don’t throw excess anything over the side, even if it is “bio-degradable.” Treat you boat as a temple on God’s great sea and leave no mark behind that you were there. Be part of the solution.

Come Upons

If you come upon flotsam in the water, grab your boat hook and bring it aboard; dispose of it as if you had dropped it over the side. Clean up, even if your neighbor won’t.

Why? Well, as Cicero said 20 centuries ago, “Virtue has its own reward.”

Be part of the solution.

If you are interested in being part of USCG Forces, email me at [email protected] or go directly to the D1SR Human Resources department. Vincent Pica is Commodore, First District, Southern Region (D1SR) of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary.


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