Going Green with New Products
Bottom paint, biodegradable outboard oil, and more help you leave a clean wake.
Sailing-Specific Solar Panels
Installing solar panels is a quick and clean way to burn less diesel and still have the juice you need to run all your boat’s power-hungry gadgets, However, not all solar panels are specifically built for sailboats, but Aurinco’s Bluewater Solar Panels are. These are available in a variety of sizes and use monocrystalline silicon, which is reported to provide twice the power of other photovoltaic-film panels. Their lightweight and ultra-thin construction (they measure just 3/16ths of an inch thick) make Bluewater panels ideal for mounting on a bimini, dodger, or other light structure. The panels can also be mounted on deck—they’re waterproof and rugged enough to step on—and the wires are protected in grooves so nothing protrudes that can catch sheets, sails, or your feet.
$150 to $1,790, (877) 433-8640.
Eco-Friendly Bottom Paint
Most bottom paint sloughs off some kind of poison intended to kill all the life forms that want to set up shop below your waterline, and putting poison in the water isn’t very green. But according to reports from ePaint, the company’s new Ecominder Bottom Paint “is the greenest and safest antifouling paint approved for use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as it’s free of harmful volatile organic solvents and toxicants that persist in our environment.” The patented photoactive formula uses zinc omadine and biopolymers derived from renewable resources to limit the growth of all sorts of marine organisms in both fresh water and salt water. The paint is free of copper, washes up with soap and water, and is compatible with most bottom paint and barrier coats, and even the can is made from recycled material.
$193/gallon, (800) 258-5998,
Green Power Control
If your boat is equipped with both solar panels and a wind generator, you’ll need an easy way to control and monitor both systems, and the e20 Control Panel from eMarine Systems has got you covered. It’ll support wind generators up to 400 watts and solar panels up to 300 watts and can manage up to 190 amp-hours of daily energy production. The unit is equipped with two primary circuit breakers, a digital ammeter and Stop/Run switch for direct control of your wind generator, and a digital charge controller that displays solar current production, battery-bank voltage, and battery-charge condition. The unit runs on a nominal 12-volt system, and it can be ordered as a flush-mounted panel or in a water-resistant enclosure.
$600, (877) 432-2221,
Modern two-stroke engines burn cleaner than they did in the past, but since all two-strokes are designed to burn a fuel/oil mixture, some of that mixture still ends up back in the water as exhaust. While a four-stroke engine is greener, it’s also possible to clean up your two-stroke with Pure Oceans TC-W3 biodegradable two-cycle engine oil from West Marine. It’s a synthetic oil formulated to provide clean-burning, biodegradable lubrication that’s specifically blended to help prevent piston seizing, carbon deposits, gumming, and scuffing, and it’s safe to use in all makes and models of two-cycle outboard engines.
$40/gallon, (800) 262-8464,