New research from MERE group member Eva Roth and co-authors has just been published in Ocean Science that evaluates water and air pollutants from marine leisure craft. The vessels are diffuse and mobile sources of pollution in transboundary waters of the Baltic, making taking action to reduce impacts difficult. The article addresses that it may be time to invest more in how to take action, given the estimated range and magnitude of the impacts.

Abstract: The activities and emissions from leisure boats in the Baltic Sea have been modeled in a comprehensive approach for the first time, using a new simulation model leisure Boat Emissions and Activities siMulator (BEAM). The model utilizes survey data to characterize the national leisure boat fleets. Leisure boats have been categorized based on their size, use and engine specifications, and for these subcategories emission factors for NOx, PM2.5, CO, non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs), and releases of copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) from antifouling paints have been estimated according to literature values. The modeling approach also considers the temporal and spatial distribution of leisure boat activities, which are applied to each simulated leisure boat separately. According to our results the CO and NMVOC emissions from leisure boats, as well as Cu and Zn released from antifouling paints, are significant when compared against the emissions originating from registered commercial shipping in the Baltic Sea. CO emissions equal 70 % of the registered shipping emissions and NMVOC emissions equal 160 % when compared against the modeled results in the Baltic Sea in 2014. Modeled NOx and PM2.5 from the leisure boats are less significant compared to the registered shipping emissions. The emissions from leisure boats are concentrated in the summer months of June, July and August and are released in the vicinity of inhabited coastal areas. Given the large emission estimates for leisure boats, this commonly overlooked source of emissions should be further investigated in greater detail.

Citation: Johansson, L., Ytreberg, E., Jalkanen, J. P., Fridell, E., Eriksson, K. M., Lagerström, M., Maljutenko, I., Raudsepp, U., Fischer, V., & Roth, E. (2020). Model for leisure boat activities and emissions–implementation for the Baltic Sea. Ocean Science 16: 1143-1163.

Photo Credit: Brooks A. Kaiser, 2020