If you don’t take it on the boat…it won’t end up in the water!

If you don’t take it on the boat…it won’t end up in the water!

Sounds pretty simple, right? But the fact remains that lots of plastic litter can be found along Texas bay shorelines. And, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how some of it got there.

Let’s start with Styrofoam cups. We all want coffee first thing in the morning. Stop by the convenience store closest to the boat launch on Saturday morning and grab a cup. You will likely find yourself in the checkout line behind lots of fishermen – all with cup in hand. The problem with Styro cups is they blow out of the boat when they’re empty. But you don’t have to drink your coffee from a Styro cup! Think ahead and take it in a reusable mug instead. A Yeti Rambler or any similar product will keep your coffee hot much longer and it won’t blow out of the boat. Plus, some stores discount drinks when customers bring their own containers.

Plastic shopping bags should be an absolute no-no on the boat. Fishermen need snacks and the same convenience store where we get our coffee is a favorite place to get them. But, think ahead. Plastic sacks are some of the most common shoreline litter and they pose hazards to fish and other wildlife. Keep a reusable sack in your truck or boat and take it into the store. The reusable sack can also double as a trash container for wrappers and packaging until you get back to the dock and dispose of them properly.  

Plastic drink bottles; just say no! A good old-fashioned picnic jug is the perfect alternative for carrying water and non-carbonated drinks. Reusable drinkware is the best way to serve them. If you must have carbonated drinks, buy cans instead, and always recycle.

A surprising number of fishing lure packages find their way onto shorelines. We cannot blame these on anybody but fishermen. I hate to think an uncaring fisherman discarded the empty package, so let’s just say it probably blew out of somebody’s boat. Here again, if you don’t take it on the boat…

Plastic ice sacks are a real pet peeve of mine. How they get in the water is anybody’s guess, but carelessness in how we handle them must surely be the root of much of the evil. Pray you never get one wrapped around your outboard’s cooling water intake port. There are alternatives, of course. Before bagged ice became so popular lots of fishermen made their own block ice. Reusable ice-packs are another great option. Placing a couple of these with your fish in the ice chest, or any other items you want to keep cold, is not only cheaper in the long run, they’re way more environmentally-friendly. Who wants a soggy sandwich anyway?

Saving the best for last, let’s talk about trash that blows out of your boat and bed of your pickup going down the road. A picture is easily worth a thousand words.