Home » River Friendly


River Friendly Boating Practices

We use the term “River Friendly” often. Usually, it’s a reference to actions homeowners take to conserve water and reduce the use of fertilizers and pesticides that can run off into nearby stormdrains and waterways. Sometimes, we are referring to businesses that take steps to reduce their impact on the river or support the work of St. Johns Riverkeeper. The term also applies to boaters who take steps to be good stewards of the river while out on the water. 


Stow it, don’t throw it. Secure loose items, carry trash bags and dispose of cigarette butts, monofilament line and waste.

Pump it, don’t dump it. Use pump-out facilities and maintain sanitation devices. Facility locations: www.dep.state.fl.us/pitchin-pumpout/facilitieslisting.htm

Avoid toxic chemicals. Use nontoxic paints, mercury-free bilge switches, and phosphate-free cleaning products.

Dispose of hazardous waste properly. This includes used oil, batteries, bilge pump switches with mercury, old flares, gas, paint, and hazardous chemicals. Ask your marina or solid waste provider for more direction.

Keep engines well-tuned. Regularly check seals, gaskets, hoses and connections to prevent leaks and drips.

Stop the drops! Prevent fuel and oil spills and use absorbent pads or rags to catch drips and spills.

Avoid boat cleaning and maintenance in the water. Support Clean Marina and Clean Boatyard facilities that have adopted environmental Best Management Practices.

Prevent the spread of invasive plants and animals, such as hydrilla, water hyacinth and zebra mussels by checking bilges, live wells, and trailers at ramps.

Protect the grasses. Boat propellers and wakes can damage submerged aquatic vegetation and cause shoreline erosion. Seagrasses are critical to the health of our waterways and fisheries.

Join the River Patrol! River Patrol is a volunteer “river watch” program of St. Johns Riverkeeper. River patrol members:

  • Help monitor the St. Johns River and its watershed.
  • Keep watch for possible violations and pollution problems.
  • Report injured wildlife, navigation hazards, pollution incidents, and derelict boats.
  • Raise awareness about the issues impacting the river’s health.
  • Participate in cleanups, outreach events, and research projects.

Learn more at www.stjohnsriverkeeper.org                                                                                                                                                                        (904) 256-7591 

Document time of day, weather conditions, and GPS coordinates and take photos, if possible. Report incidents to the proper local, state or federal regulatory agency.

Hazardous Material Spills

State Watch Office (800) 320-0519

Coast Guard National Response Center (800) 424-8802

Fish Kills or Abnormalities

FMRI Fish Kill Hotline (800) 636-0511

Wildlife or Boating Law Violations, Dead or Injured Manatees and Wildlife

FWC Wildlife Alert Hotline (888) 404-3922 or *FWC 

Algae Blooms

St. Johns River Water Management District (904) 730-6272

St. Johns Riverkeeper (Lisa Rinaman) (904) 256-7907

Abandoned or Derelict Vessels

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Marine Unit (Duval) (904) 630-0797

Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (904) 270-2500 or (850) 488-6068

Illicit Discharge and Construction-site Runoff

Duval County C.A.R.E. Line (904) 630-2489

Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection (NE District) (904) 256-1700

FDEP (Central Florida District) (407) 897-4100

Join the Riverkeeper

Latest Blog Posts

We’re Hiring!
We’re Hiring!
Waterkeepers Florida Launch Moms for Clean Water Campaign Inspired by Florida’s First Lady
Waterkeepers Florida Launch Moms for Clean Water Campaign Inspired by Florida’s First Lady
Don’t Feed the Algae!
Don’t Feed the Algae!
Your St. Johns Riverkeeper Wins 2019 Eve Award for Local Resiliency Efforts!

All blog posts

explore your river

Take an interactive journey through river sights & sounds!

Get the Guidebook

Learn about the ecology and rich history of the St. Johns River.

Boat Tours

Come aboard the Water Taxi for an incredible guided tour along the St. Johns River.