Home Page - englishHome Page - italiano





The subject is not very romantic, but garbage management needs to be taken into consideration during long offshore passages: food residues, packing materials, tins and cans, plastic bottles and so on.

Both on Shaula3 and Shaula4, the yard had overlooked the need for a garbage bin, so we had to take action and add one near the galley.

When we are in port or a stop is foreseen within a reasonable time, this bin is all we need to store all garbage.

I can see the question coming: what about garbage separation?    Fact is that, until now, very seldom ports are equipped with separate garbage bins, and anyway room on board is limited already for one bin, let alone 3 or 4!
If the port is well equipped, like in the Porto Turistico di Jesolo where we are currently stationed, we can throw away garbage as soon as we produce it, but when under way it's a different story!

Generally, during coastal trips we kept all garbage on-board for disposal at the next port, while during long passages and only if far from land, our practice was to throw overboard all degradable stuff, such as: food leftovers, paper and card-board packing, tins and cans (pierced so that they would sink) and glass bottles (filled with water to make them sink).

We always kept on board non-paper packing and all kinds of plastic: it was therefore quite normal towards the end of a passage to carry several large garbage bags parked on the stern platform!


This behaviour was, at the time of our circumnavigation, more-or-less in line with the MARPOL directive, an international treaty dating back to the '70's to fight marine pollution.   A full chapter of this treaty, Section V, deals with garbage management, and although it's mainly aimed at ships, some basic rules concern yachts as well.

Recently (2013) a new issue of Section V has come into force, much more restrictive than the previous one, according to which it is basically forbidden to throw anything at sea, with the exception of food remains (and that is allowed only at more than 12 miles from land, or 3 miles if the stuff is ground to small pieces).
It must be remembered also that many of our sailing areas, such as the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Baltic are considered "special areas" where the rules are even more restrictive.

It must be noted that in some Countries (such as the USA) it is mandatory to place a MARPOL placard in a prominent position near the garbage bins.

In light of the above, we will have to revise our practices, especially concerning aluminium cans, which have a degradation time of up to 500 years (something we were not well aware of)!!


Webmaster: Gianfranco Balducci - email: gfbalduc@tin.it

Last Update: 07/09/2017

The Shaula4 website (text and images) by Gianfranco Balducci is licensed under a
 Creative Commons by-nc-nd/3.0/ Attribution - Non commercial - No derivative works 3.0 Unported License