Boating and Sustainability, by David Booth

I like boating.  I like sustainability.  Boating and sustainability can coexist.   What does this look like?  It looks less like the power boats on Lake Red Rock on summer weekends and more like the sailboats.   If you aren’t a big fan of burning through all the fossil fuel possible during your short tenure on earth why not go with a sailboat?  I was surprised that larger sailboats generally have gas or diesel engines like powerboats, but the engines are much smaller and are used much less, generally only to get out of the marina and into the wind or the reverse.  Still you have the hassles of gas engines – maintainenance, buying and storing gasoline, the smell of gas, the fire hazard of gas, etc.   I chose another alternative to a sailboat with a gas engine this year, a small sailboat using oars as alternate propulsion should wind not be an option.  It has been a blast.  People invariably comment upon the boat or come over to see her.  Several boaters on the lake have offered a tow when they see me rowing.  I explain how enjoyable rowing is and how surprised I am that more people aren’t doing it.  We laugh and move on.  The lake isn’t that large and last weekend I rowed across it in half an hour (yes the wind died yet again).  It is satisfying simple to not have a gas engine and I recommend it.

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3 responses to “Boating and Sustainability, by David Booth”

  1. Liz Vande Kieft says:

    What a great story–good for you, Dave! We can all take a lesson!

  2. Don Huffman says:

    Couldn’t agree with you more! About 40 years ago 4 of us in the Pella area had Aquacat catamarans on Red Rock Lake. We (both my family and friends) enjoyed both the quiet sailing and the times when one ran for miles on one pontoon at top speed. We also had a smaller Sea Snark which was a fine single-person craft, and which we took to Yucatan several times and sailed in the Gulf of Mexico both on the Progresso and Cancun sides. All my students were required to learn to sail so we could reach the backwaters where most of the birds spent time.
    I graduated to an 18ft. Chrysler Bucaneer racing craft; but after sailing it for more than 10 years on Red Rock and in Idaho, I decided it was too much trouble getting it out from the docking areas, and the low beam made it difficult for passengers to avoid being hit now and then.
    Sailing is fun at any age, but I would recommend staying with the smaller, lighter craft that can be easier to take in and out of the launching areas. Bigger is not always better! And, avoiding the smell and problems with gas engines is an important plus!

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