Welcome to the RHYC Environment Committee

RHYC Environment Committee

The Environment Committee was formed this year and is a new initiative that aims to improve our environmental practices and awareness at the club, and enhance the experience we enjoy as Hamilton Harbour stakeholders. From properly managing hazardous wastes to improved recycling to understanding algal blooms, to a new effort at “green” regattas, there are many sensible things we can do to make the club an even better place.
You’ll see regular updates here that will inform you on what we’re up to, starting with our shrink-wrap recycling arrangement that’s new for this year. We’ll also be working with other groups in the club, like the Launch Team, to ensure we’re doing things in a way that minimizes our environmental impact.
When you look around Ontario and across Canada, you’ll find that these practices are not the exception, but have become the rule for yacht clubs and marinas. In fact, it’s something that is trending worldwide. So while we want Club Proud to resonate at RHYC, this isn’t something that makes us special … it’s just trying to do our part. The de facto standards we’ll measure ourselves against are well-established under the Boating Ontario – Clean Marine program; some of you may recall that RHYC was certified under this program in 2010, so one might say that we’re just resuming the good work that was done by the club at that time.
Hopefully this is the start of a conversation in the club. You can talk to any of the team members, or feel free to drop us a line to let us know how we’re doing.
Who we are: Cindy Brown, Jan Graves-Passmore, Julia Perry, Susanne Broe-Vayda, Paul Vayda, Ross Munro (chair)
Ably assisted by: Katrina Lewis, Matt Robertson, Pascal Turcan
Working with: Anne Hardy, Diane Crawshaw, Dave Numan, Mick Belisario, Warren Norwood

Making RHYC Greener


Making Launch Greener

RHYC Environmental Committee: Planning a more environmentally responsible launch 


The new RHYC environment committee has prepared this list of best practices to help build on the good work that is already being done by members around our launch. The environmentally sensitive Harbour area where our Club is located makes using green practices key. Pollution can be carried to the water in many ways: by wind, storm drains, seeping through the ground, falling from the air, or by direct spills or dumping. When you are working on your boat, please try to select environmentally sensitive products, and make sure more toxic ones (VC17 etc.) are contained and cleaned up afterward. 

Spring Preparation and Launch Tips

Before you start

Look for products (cleaners, polishes, solvents and paints) that are environmentally friendly and are specifically designed for marine use. 

Have oil-absorbent pads available for potential spills. Prepare drop cloths and tarps before sanding. 

Make sure that you have a dustless sander if sanding (see more information below). 

Have bags ready to hold hazardous or contaminated materials for eventual drop off at the hazardous waste management site. 

If during the boating season you see or witness any spills, you can report it to the City of Hamilton's Spills Reporting Line 905-540-5188.


Recycling Boat Shrink Wrap

This year the Club is making it easier to recycle clean shrink wrap. We are providing a specially designated bin for used shrink wrap. But before you put it in the bin, think about how shrink wrap might be used as useful covers for around the home. Recycling shrink wrap incurs a cost to the club and the global community seeking to reduce our use of plastics. Consider buying long-lasting re-usable tarps for the future. 


When recycling shrink wrap, please remove all ropes, vents, vent wires and other foreign objects and place them in the garbage. Then the shrink wrap should be cut into pieces, compacted, and placed in the bin provided by the yacht club. No other items should be disposed of in the designated bin.


If you are not planning on re-using your wood frame, it should be dismantled carefully, with nails bent over and removed for disposal. The club will collect any suitable abandoned lumber and re-use it for firewood. 


Boat Sanding and Scraping - Boat Hulls

Sanding and scraping your boat creates toxic residue that must be treated as hazardous waste. RHYC is adapting practices that align with requirements from the Ministry of the Environment and are in place at all commercial marinas and boatyards.


Please consider your neighbours and the environment when preparing to sand your boat. Protect all adjacent boats from sanding dust. 

Drape your boat to prevent dust from leaving the area. 

Use a groundsheet under the boat to capture dust and debris. 

A dustless sander must be used for sanding. If you do not have one, the Club now has sanders available to members to sign out, see the Manager or the Harbour Master. Please provide your own sandpaper and report any problems. If sander is returned in damaged condition, you will be changed for repair.

When finished, carefully collect and bag the dust and debris and remove it for disposal at your local municipal hazardous waste site. There is no cost for this service. 

Waste Oil and Antifreeze

Used oil and antifreeze are also hazardous wastes, and should be removed from the

club and dropped off at your local municipal hazardous waste site. There is no cost for this service.


Carefully collect the antifreeze from engines in the spring prior to launch. You can also minimise and prevent impacts from oil changes by using a closed system, oil absorbents to capture oil drips, and drip pans for collection. 


Other types of hazardous waste that can be managed similarly include:

Oil filters can be taken with the oil. 

paint cans and unused paint  

In Hamilton, the locations of the CRC are:

460 Kenora Rd. Hamilton

37 Kilbride Road, Hamilton Mountain

27 Olympic Road, Dundas

Hours are Monday to Saturday, 8:00 - 18:00

In Burlington, use the Halton Waste Management site

5400 Regional Road 25, Milton

Hours are Monday - Saturday 8:00- 16:30 

You can also speak with the Harbour Master, who can advise and assist with disposal of hazardous materials.


Bilge Management

Your bilge should be properly cleaned before the boat is launched in the spring. The wash water can be easily collected and properly disposed of when the boat is on land. After launch, always check for traces of oil in the water before pumping out the bilge. The best practice for bilge water that contains oil is to use oil-absorbent pads to soak up oily bilge water, bag the pads carefully, and dispose of them with your other hazardous waste at the sites referenced above. The club is making plans to provide bilge socks through the clubhouse store.


Paint Cans and Bottom Paint

Do not place any paint can that still contains liquid paint in any container around the club. Use up all the paint or reseal the can and take it home for future use. If the can is empty, then leave the lid off so that the contents may dry completely and drop it off at the Community Recycling Centre along with your oil and antifreeze.


Increasingly, the bottom paint industry is being compelled to provide eco-friendly alternatives to minimise the use of harmful biocides. Toxins and chemical compounds in antifouling paints cause serious irreversible damages to the marine environment and can also be harmful to our health. 

Many legacy-class anti-fouling paints used copper (CU) as their anti-fouling ingredient, which leaches into the water as the paint breaks down. Copper is toxic to many marine organisms. Look for EcoLogo paints that are environmentally friendly.  If you already have copper-based bottom paints, you can minimise the negative effects of copper by how you clean your hull. Avoid aggressive cleaning with abrasives, scrapers, Scotchbrite-style pads etc. A regular in-water cleaning regime with soft cloths will improve your boat’s performance, extend the life of your anti-fouling paint, and minimise the leaching of copper into the water. 


Carefully collect the antifreeze (including EcoLogo products! All antifreeze is harmful to marine life) from engines in the spring prior to launch


Thank You!


The RHYC Environmental Committee thanks you for taking the time to think about ways you can contribute to a “Greener Launch” in 2022. Every little action makes a difference and helps make our club and the Harbour a better place to live and boat. Thank you for helping us!


Shrink-wrap re-cycling

To: Boat Storage and Live-aboard Members

From: RHYC Launch Team


Re: Shrink-wrap Re-cycling


This note is to alert you to RHYC shrink-wrap re-cycling guidelines for this spring. This change brings our club into alignment with Boating Ontario – Clean Marine best practices, and has been arranged by our Environment Committee working with RHYC operations staff to put in place policies that are already followed by most of the other yacht clubs in the province.

A bin will be delivered to the parking lot storage area on Friday April 1, and is intended to be used only for shrink-wrap disposal. If you have no re-use plans for your cover, please schedule its removal and disposal in the bin during the 2-week interval that follows.

To make this process work, we’re asked to separate all ropes, vents, vent wires and other foreign objects from the shrink-wrap. Those items should be placed in the club garbage receptacles. The shrink-wrap can then be bundled and placed in the designated bin. No other items should be disposed of in this bin.


If you have any questions, please check with Pascal.


A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Thank you for doing your part to improve our environment.

Example of proper disposal of shrink wrap, tightly rolled and bound. This all came off the Penny. 


Launch 2022

Well, the launch of 2022 is history, and one for the books! The first boat was lifted ahead of schedule, and throughout the day, the launch team seemed only to gain time, and never lose it. Congratulations to Dave Numan and his team for a job well done!


And thanks also go out to all those who contributed to a more environmentally-friendly launch this year:

The shrinkwrap recycling initiative was well-received and executed, and through this effort a full bin of polyethylene film – an estimated 13,000 square feet weighing almost 450 pounds – was diverted from the landfill.

For the first time, members captured their engine antifreeze for transport to local hazardous-waste disposal sites.

Equipment was made available for member use to facilitate Clean Marine best-practices bottom paint renewal. The sanders and drop-cloths are club property and will be retained for use next year and beyond.

New this month is the  RHYC Clean Boating Guide, available for viewing at, to provide tips for the in-water season.

Colin Harper gives the thumbs-up signal following the
test-startup of Ocarina II, and the capture of the antifreeze from its engine. 

Next up for the Environment Committee members is an assessment of our waste disposal and recycling processes, where we’ll be looking at opportunities to improve our performance in the 3 R’s – Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle – in day-to-day operations along with sail-training and clean regattas. As always, suggestions are encouraged.
To all RHYC members, best wishes for a successful, safe – and green – boating season!

RHYC Clean Boating Guide


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