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Clean The Ocean With Outboards?


Suzuki develops world’s first microplastics collecting system for outboard motors using engine cooling water.

The filtering device is easily installed. An overflow bypass tube ensures that engine performance remains consistent should the filter be filled.

Yes, it may be a drop in the ocean, but outboard engine manufacturer Suzuki has developed the world’s first microplastics collecting system designed to be installed on outboard engines. The Japanese company says the device is designed for easy installation under the cowling of select Suzuki outboard models 40 hp and larger. It works by filtering water after it has passed through the engine’s cooling system and before it is returned to the ocean. Because of its design, Suzuki claims the system does not impact the driving performance or cooling efficiency of the engine.

This system has been tested extensively aboard Suzuki-powered boats in Japan, according to the company, and has proven to be effective at collecting microplastics. Research has been expanded abroad, and further improvements will be made based on these findings. The filtering system has already demonstrated its ability to collect a wide variety of microparticle pollution, including urethane, nylon, and wood chips, among other materials.

Marine biologists and the scientific community have long recognized the dangers these microscopic bits of pollution — known collectively as microplastics — pose to fish, marine mammals and other aquatic life. It is a worsening problem that doesn’t recognize national borders and is negatively impacting oceans around the planet. Combating this problem will require a cooperative effort by the industry, the scientific community, and outdoor enthusiasts around the world. Suzuki sees this new technology developed for its outboard motors as a positive first step in such a collaborative effort.

The October unveiling of this device coincides with the launch of Suzuki’s Clean Ocean Project — a new broad-based initiative focused on reducing plastic waste and its harmful effects on the marine environment. As part of this effort, Suzuki is now reducing the use of plastics in the packaging materials of its outboard motors and parts — changes the company estimates could reduce plastic waste from business activities by approximately 2.3 tons annually.

“We are excited about taking this significant step where our motors can actually be part of a solution for a critical environmental issue,” says Max Yamamoto, Suzuki Motor of America’s president. “We have long recognized that Suzuki customers are avid fishermen and boaters who care about the environment. This is something we can do together to protect our oceans, lakes, and rivers so that future generations can enjoy them,” adds Mr. Yamamoto.

This new device is scheduled to be available as an optional accessory beginning in 2021, with plans to make it standard equipment in the future. No cost has been established yet.

Rich Armstrong

Senior Editor, BoatUS Magazine