High Environmental Threat- Transportation by Boat


Recently in the news in New South Wales (NSW), Australia was an article published called "Boating labelled 'high' environmental threat". According to this article, the NSW government issued a draft report that have boating and boating infrastructure listed as 'high' threats to the marine environment. The report was made after a risk assessment process that looked at “stressors on a broad range of natural assets such as clean water, marine habitats and protected species and communities across both estuaries and open coasts.” Various risk levels were assessed from minimal to low to moderate to high and then these levels were used as the basis for changes in the current management practices. Typically those that would be changed are those that are labeled as high risk. The following were a list of the following high risk issues:


  • Copper pollution - significantly elevated concentrations in organisms from areas with high concentrations of moored boats.
  • Physical disturbance, propeller/anchoring/mooring combined with low resilience of components of the habitat to these impacts (i.e. Posidonia seagrass population).
  • Sediment resuspension – light limitation
  • Shading from boats and jetties
  • Bank erosion linked to wakeboarding in upper estuary areas
  • Soft corals and sponges not mapped but thought to be highly susceptible
  • Vessel strike, disturbance from boats, feeding of seabirds.


Boating in estuaries is “ranked 6th out of 23 priority threats”, after climate change at number 5 and just before septic run-off at number 7.


While this article mostly talks about recreational boating as a threat, these threats also certainly exist for boats and barges used in transportation. The threats listed above (aside from the wake boarding problem) can all also be linked to boats being used for transportation purposes.



Marine Business. (23 January 2017). Boating labelled 'high' environmental threat. Retrieved from http://www.marinebusiness.com.au/news/boating-labelled-high-environmental-threat





Murray, K. (2017). High Environmental Threat- Transportation by Boat. Retrieved from http://www.bluecommunity.info/view/article/588cee140cf2204d222d98ad

1 Comment

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Scott Sanders wrote: 01-29-2017 20:19:04

Great article, Katie. While shipping is a huge industry that is important for the global economy, there are so many areas of opportunity for the many boats that travel the oceans and rivers every day. Your article points out many of the ways that large boats are continuing to damage the aquatic ecosystems.