American sailors keep their butts out of the water

Trying to keep them out of marinas - it’s a start
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You might comment that it would be better if they gave up smoking altogether, but in a move that could well be copied around the world, American boaters are keeping their butts out of the water - and not the kind in swim trunks.

The BoatUS Foundation reports that the 43 marinas that participated in its 2010 Cigarette Litter Prevention Program saw an amazing 63% average reduction in the amount of cigarette litter - which ultimately would have ended up in the water.

Now, the boating safety and clean water non-profit is looking for more marinas to join its 2011 program, but time is running out. Marinas have until May 2 to apply at www.BoatUS.com/foundationcigarettesurvey. If selected, marinas will receive funds to cover the cost of ash receptacles and a supply of portable ashtrays.

The program is a partnership with Keep America Beautiful, a nationwide non-profit organization that encourages individuals to take greater responsibility for improving the environment in their local community. With funding, ironically, from Phillip Morris USA who no doubt want to see sailors continue smoking, Keep America Beautiful provides each marina with a cash grant to purchase the cigarette ash receptacles and a supply of portable ashtrays for use on boats. Marinas are asked to install the receptacles, distribute the portable ashtrays, and educate their customers about the importance of proper disposal.

'When a cigarette butt is discarded at a marina, there is a fair chance it will find its way into the water,' said Susan Shingledecker, the BoatUS Foundation's director of environmental programs. 'Many people assume butts are made from paper that will break down over time, and don't think of them as litter. However, cigarette filters are plastic and when tossed overboard or washed into storm drains, creeks and waterways they can last for decades resulting in an unsightly mess and harming fish and other wildlife.'

Some comments from last year's marina participants include: 'The receptacles (provided by the program) make an attractive addition to our trash receptacles at the head of each ramp... the volume of butts in the can is three times that of those first counted on the ground around the location. This leads me to believe that previously the other two-thirds was just being tossed into the marina.'

Another said, 'It's a very good feeling to empty the cigarette receptacles and see large numbers of cigarette butt waste that would have otherwise been flicked into the lake.'

Sail-World agrees, but how much more effective - maybe the next step - to have sailors quit the deadly habit altogether!

About the BoatUS Foundation:
The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is a national leader promoting safe, clean and responsible boating. Funded primarily by the half-million members of BoatUS, it provides innovative educational outreach directly to boaters and anglers with the aim of reducing accidents and fatalities, increasing stewardship of America's waterways and keeping boating safe for all. US-based sailors can make a tax-deductible donation to this 501(c)(3) nonprofit, by going to www.BoatUS.com/foundation