Green Boating in the San Juan Islands
The San Juan Islands are an internationally acclaimed boating destination and each summer our waters fill with local and visiting boaters. Stunning landscapes and a rich marine environment provide extensive recreational opportunities such as wildlife viewing, fishing, and crabbing. This amazing group of islands, where boaters find wonder and joy, are also critical habitats where fish and wildlife find food and shelter.
Sensitive eelgrass habitats are nurseries for juvenile Chinook salmon as well as spawning areas for Pacific herring – small schooling fish that support seabirds, big fish, and marine mammals. Eelgrass damaged by boat anchors can take years to recover. To help salmon and the endangered Southern Resident orcas, avoid herring spawning grounds, anchor out in waters deeper than the eelgrass, or use a mooring buoy when staying outside a marina.
Protect marine mammals by keeping your distance, reducing speeds, and turning off fish finders and echo sounders when not in use. Keep marine waters clean by using pumpouts, keeping your boat in good working order, and quickly cleaning even small spills.
Friends of the San Juans have created a helpful Boater Guide to help you plan ahead and ensure your boating experience in the San Juan Islands is safe and enjoyable for people and nature. Visit sanjuans.org/greenboating to check it out for yourself.
Written by Jess Newley.