Boating Basics Online - Basic Boating Safety Course
Chapter 3 - The Boat

The Marine Environment

Hazardous Waste

Whether you realize it or not, we come into contact with hazardous waste on almost a daily basis. Take out all the cleaning and maintenance products on your boat and read the instructions on the back. These products might include cleaners, paints, solvents, varnishes, fuel and antifreeze. You might be surprised that the labels strongly caution on the uses of the materials and the methods of disposal. Most, however, just describe the method of disposal as “according to local and state laws.” Problem is, the average boater doesn’t know where to find the disposal rules. For disposal information, contact your local public works department or go to

You can lessen your impact on the environment by substituting biodegradable products such as the following:



Detergent & Soap

Elbow grease



Scouring Powders

Baking soda, or rub area with one-half lemon dipped in borax, then rinse

General Cleaner

Baking soda and vinegar, or lemon juice combined with borax paste

Floor Cleaner

One cup vinegar in 2 gallons of water

Window Cleaner

One cup vinegar + 1 qt. warm water. Rinse and squeegee

Aluminum Cleaner

2 Tbsp. cream of tartar + 1 qt. of hot water

Brass Cleaner

Worcestershire sauce, or paste made of equal amounts of salt, vinegar and water

Copper Cleaner

Lemon juice and water, or paste of lemon juice, salt, and flour

Chrome Cleaner/Polish

Apple cider vinegar to clean; baby oil to polish

Stainless Steel Cleaner

Baking soda or mineral oil for polishing, vinegar to remove spots

Fiberglass Stain Remover

Baking soda paste

Mildew Remover

Paste with equal amounts of lemon juice and salt, or white vinegar and salt

Wood Polish

Olive or almond oil (interior walls only)


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