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Dieren en planten

Water en land

Mens en Milieu

Recreation and tourism   Aquatic sports   Code of honour   
Catamarans around Texel, foto fitis, sytske dijksen

Aquatic sports

The coastal waters of the Netherlands are popular areas for aquatic sports. There are 17 yacht harbors in the wadden region alone. Surfers, sport fishermen (from boats), motor boaters and sailors enjoy the sea in their own way. Even though water sport enthusiasts are often nature lovers, the interests for nature versus sports sometimes form a bottleneck. It involves disruption. That is why some areas are closed to the public or have limited access. In the wadden region, there is a special code of honor for water sport enthusiasts.

  • Water recreation and nature
    ship on tidal flats, foto fitis, sytske dijksen

    A sea full of empty space, which gives you the feeling of almost total freedom. Playing with the tidal currents and experiencing a wide expanse of sea floor becoming exposed. These are a few of the important elements in the motivation of water recreationists to chose the coast and tidal waters. In addition, encountering animals (such as seals and tidal flat birds) is always a highlight of a trip.
    Many of the goals of the aquatic sporters are in agreement with the goals of the nature managers. Nevertheless, there are often clashes. The goal 'peace and quiet' is experienced by both groups as important, however water recreationists looking for peace and quiet often disturb the peace of the tidal flat and coastal fauna in the process. From studies, it appears that birds are disturbed when aquatic sports occur closer than 500 meters. With seals, the distance is 1200 meters.

  • Aquatic sports and the environment
    Household and oil-containing wastes, Ecomare

    Fortunately, environmental care in aquatic sports has improved immensely. Boats used to be very harmful for sea life. Discharged oil, PAHs, toxic organotin compounds in anti-fouling paint and marine litter were the major problems.
    Many measures to limit the inconveniences have since been taken. Yacht harbors are required to purify the wastewater from the rinsing areas. Oil remnants and waste are no longer allowed to be thrown overboard. Paint containing tar, organotin or copper is not allowed to be used as anti-fouling. Since 1996, all yacht harbors have facilities for collecting chemical wastes from boaters. As of 2009, there will be a ban on dumping wastewater from pleasure boats.
    The Dutch Automobile Association (ANWB) awards marinas that enforce a good environmental management with a blue flag. Skippers that treat nature and the environment well are also allowed to sail with a blue pennant. They are required to sign a document with the golden rules of behavior.

  • Dutch policy in relation to aquatic sport

    There are all kinds of regulations aimed at limiting disturbance and pollution caused by aquatic sports. Boats must travel as much as possible via the appropriated shipping lanes. Speedboats are only allowed in a few areas. There are a maximum number of moorings. You aren't allowed to anchor or go aground everywhere and there is a maximum speed you're allowed to move on the water.

    Since 1998, new pleasure boats are required to have chemical toilets on board. And more than 200 collection points have been created on shore.

  • Rules for fast motor boats
    jetski, foto fitis, sytske dijksen

    In the whole wadden region, boats aren't allowed to go faster than 20 km per hour. Exceptions are the appropriated navigational channels from sea to Den Helder, Den Oever, Oudeschild, Harlingen, Kornwerderzand and Lauwersoog and the navigational routes from and to the islands. The channels by Den Helder and Oudeschild can be used for waterskiing. The zones where motor boats are permitted to go faster than 20 km per hour have been chosen in such a way that there is minimaal influence from the speed. The nurseries for the seals and molting and haul outs for birds are totally closed for boaters and ships.

  • Clean ship underwater
    Untreated ship hull, Photo M. Tromp

    A thick layer of marine animals and plants can grow rapidly on an untreated ship hull. This will cause the ship to use more fuel to move at the same speed. Traditionally, people used tar to prevent growth. PAHs dissolved in the water. You can also use toxic anti-fouling paint to prevent growth. Tin-holding paint used to be used a lot until it was discovered that it was extremely damaging for shellfish. Paint containing copper was then used, but this paint has also been banned for ships in freshwater because the copper concentrations in the water remain too high. There is now an anti-fouling paint for boats in freshwater that doesn't cause too much damage to the environment.

  • Non-stick coating
    Brush lane, M. Tromp

    One is still looking for good alternatives for preventing fouling. If you apply a super smooth non-stick coating to your boat, you can remove the growth with a sponge. Another important development is the brush track whereby the underwater part of the ship is mechanically scrubbed.