Living a more eco-conscious lifestyle is something people from all walks of life can enjoy. Whether you’re a full-time environmentalist who has devoted your life to helping the planet or just someone who recognizes the substantial impact that even seemingly minor alterations to your lifestyle can have on the environment, chances are strong your commitment is going a long way toward improving the environment for you and the generations that will follow.

Boaters are one group of people with the chance to greatly benefit the environment. Often nature enthusiasts, boaters love to take to the water to soak up some sun and enjoy the fresh air of a nearby ocean or lake. Such excursions provide a great opportunity to be more eco-friendly without sacrificing the enjoyment of a day spent relaxing on the water. The following are a few ways boaters can still enjoy the water but do so in a way that benefits the environment.

Maintain your engine. An engine that’s working at full capacity burns fuel more efficiently, reducing your fuel consumption while also reducing your risk of breaking down on the water. In addition, an engine that is running smoothly produces fewer emissions, benefitting both the air and the water. Before taking your boat out for the first time, check the engine to make sure it’s operating at full capacity. If it’s not, address the issue before going out on the water and preferably before docking the boat. Boat owners who store their boats at home or away from the water during the offseason should inspect their boats’ engines before taking the boat to dock and repair it away from the marina to reduce the risk of pollutants from finding their way into the water.

Keep the boat clean. A clean boat consumes less fuel. That’s because a clean boat is free of marine growth, grass and barnacles, each of which can tax the engine unnecessarily, forcing it to consume more fuel to operate. When cleaning your boat, use all-natural cleaning products instead of chemically-based products that may prove harmful to the water and local marine life. Fresh water, vinegar and baking soda can all be effective when cleaning a boat, and each is harmless.

Don’t be in a rush when fueling your boat. Fueling your boat in a rush will increase the likelihood that spillage will occur, sending fuel into the water where it can harm both the water and any marine life therein. Take your time when refueling your boat, holding the nozzle the entire time as you listen for a change in the tone as the tank gradually fills up. Marina fuel pumps fuel more quickly than road-based fuel pumps, so avoid using an automatic shut-off device, which might not shut off in time.

Make trash receptacles easily accessible to passengers. Part of the fun of owning a boat is taking friends and family members out for a day on the water. On such trips, make sure your guests can easily access trash receptacles to reduce the likelihood that trash will fall into the water, polluting the water and potentially harming marine life as well. Make sure all trash receptacles have sturdy lids that won’t blow off when the wind kicks up, and emphasize to your guests the importance of properly discarding trash.

Eco-friendly sailing is a great way to enjoy a day in the sun while not harming the environment at the same time.