While a dedicated international fund-raising community has contributed generously to the preservation of Venetian art and architecture since the 1966 floods, the impact of social issues resulting from declining resident population, and acute infrastructure damage due to incessant motorboat wave motion are routinely overlooked.
For rowing and traditional boating, these elements combine to have a two-fold impact. It means the preservation of boating traditions, through active participants, are under threat by declining enrolment into the clubs, i.e. the number of Venetian rowers. Secondly, with the growth of visitors expected to reach as many as 40 million annually by 2015, the resulting effect on canals and the lagoon with the wakes/washes and propeller actions of the logistical infrastructure (barges, delivery boats, water taxies, vaporetti) will be devastating.
As a visitor, you can minimise your impact on the waterways: use the vaporetto public transport instead of a private water taxi; use the Alilaguna service for port and airport water transfers. When hiring a private water taxi, share it with others, as they’re licensed to carry up to 20 passengers (and do ask the driver to mind his speed).
Promote the lagoon ecology by riding in traditional boats whenever possible. There are classic Venetian barges and sail boats as well as the gondolas. Help keep Venice afloat…Row Venice!