Leisure boating | WWF

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Leisure boating

More than 50% of the world’s superyachts are in Mediterranean marinas during the summer.

With more than 400,000 berths, the Mediterranean’s port facilities host one of the world’s largest recreational boating and large yacht fleets.

The Mediterranean is a favorite destination for leisure boaters. The sector is growing economically, which means a growing number of vessels in some sensitive areas. Berth demand is still increasing, and is used to justify new marina projects.

Leisure boaters often visit marine protectes areas. But some scenic areas have become saturated with leisure craft, bringing pollution and noise in their wake and damaging the seabed. Anchoring is the largest impact that MPAs suffer from leisure boating: some 34% of Posidonia meadows have been lost in the last 50 years. This is due to the cumulative effects of multiple local stressors, but the leisure boating sector has had a major influence.

The environmental impacts of the sector can and should be mitigated with better monitoring and control, while carefully planned zoning can prevent vessels from damaging sensitive habitats when mooring.
The map shows marina port capacity by number of moorings per km of coastline in EU countries and routes of sailing and pleasure craft
Leisure boating

Environmental monitoring programmes for recreational boating should be put in place to track ecological and socio-economic impacts, and keep leisure boats out of the most sensitive areas altogether.

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