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What Boaters And Marina Managers Can Do To Keep Our Waters CLEAN

Good boating practices are common sense things you can do
to avoid polluting the environment.

Ecology's Resource Manual for Pollution Prevention in Marinas can assist boaters, marina managers, harbormasters, and yacht clubs to develop good boating habits and sound environmental practices.
 

Boating Tips

Tips For Marinas

Why Good Boating Practices

There are tens of thousands of boaters in Washington. It is important that all boaters are careful when fueling and keep their boat well maintained. Poor boating practices can have a significant impact on the health of our waters, wildlife and economy.

To minimize the environmental damage a fuel spill can cause report it immediately by calling 800-OILS911 (state requirement) and the U.S. Coast Guard at 800-424-8802.

Stop Pollution Before It Starts

The best way to protect our waters is by preventing pollution before it starts. Here are some general tips for boaters and marina operators:

  • Fill fuel tank only 90% capacity. Do NOT top off. Remember that fuel expands as temperatures rise.
  • Keep your boat well maintained and mechanically sound. Regularly check fittings, fluid lines, engine seals and gaskets. Maintained boats save money and prevent spills.
  • Place a sorbent pad in the bilge area to capture any petroleum products.
  • Do NOT flush or drain detergents or soap into the water.
  • Safely dispose of used oil and filters, batteries, unused paint, solvents, antifreeze and other chemicals at your county hazardous waste collection site. Many auto parts stores will also take these products.
  • Do not discharge sewage, whether treated or not, in the marina basin. Many marinas provide sewage pump-out facilities as a free or low cost service.

Tips for Good Environmental Boating Practices

FUELING YOUR BOAT

  • Shut off all engines and other ignition sources before fueling including the bilge pump.
  • Know where fire extinguisher(s) are located.
  • Use oil resistant gloves during fueling/handling of hose.
  • When handling the hose and nozzle, place a sorbent pad over and around the nozzle or use a spill collar around the hose nozzle to prevent fuel from splashing out.
  • Have a second person watch the fuel vent if you cannot reach or see it to alert you to stop if fuel escapes.
  • Use oil sorbents or other devices to catch drips under the fuel vent(s) if safe to do so. Many marinas provide these products to prevent spills.
  • Pay attention while you're fueling. Avoid all distractions.
  • Know the fuel capacity of your tank and only fill to just past three-quarters or 90% if you can accurately gauge your tank. Do not top off since this is the most common cause of spills. Remember, fuel expands as temperatures rise.
  • Reduce the speed of fuel flow once you are two-thirds full. Slower in this case is safer.
  • If you spill oil, do not use soaps or detergents to "make the spill go away." It is toxic to the environment. Soap pushes oil into the water column rather than allowing it to evaporate. It is also illegal to disperse oil.

For additional information on safe fueling practices click here:
Boater Training & Exam

MAINTAINING & REPAIRING YOUR BOATFV

  • Keep your boat well maintained and mechanically sound. Regularly check fittings, fluid lines, engine seals and gaskets. Fix any fuel or oil leaks as soon as possible. Maintained boats save money and prevent spills.
  • Many boats spill from leaky fuel systems just after replacement. Double check the work four hours after to catch any problems early.
  • Never drain engines fluids into the bilge. Keep bilge area as dry as possible. Many products are available to help with changing fluids.
  • Use oil sorbents to clean oily bilges. Do not use detergents or bilge cleaners.
  • For large repairs or projects like sanding and painting, always haul out your boat at a boatyard.
  • For small projects (less than 25% of the topside area), capture and contain all dust,
    drips and debris by wiping it clean frequently.
  • Use a tarp when doing maintenance and painting.
  • Use a vacuum sander when doing small repairs.

WASHING YOUR BOAT

  • If your boat hull has soft toxic paint (ablative or sloughing), do NOT clean it in or near the water, or near a storm drain. Take it out of the water to a facility that collects all discharges and debris.
  • Wash with fresh water and spot clean to prevent dirt build up. Use more "elbow grease."
  • Use less harmful cleaning products, including baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, and borax.
  • Use environmentally friendly bio-degradable soap alternatives.
  • Do not allow detergents or soapy water to go into the water.

HOW TO HANDLE HAZARDOUS MATERIALS

  • Store oils, soaps, chemicals and other hazardous materials securely.
  • Safely dispose of used oil and filters, batteries, unused paint, solvents, antifreeze and other chemicals at your county hazardous waste collection site. Many auto parts stores also take many of these products.
  • Buy only what you need. Many less-toxic products work just as good and are safer for you as well.
  • RECYCLE!

KEEPING YOUR BILGE CLEAN

  • Fix all fuel and oil leaks as soon as possible.
  • Place a sorbent pad under engine and fuel lines to capture any oil that may leak.
  • Do not drain engine fluids into the bilge. Keep the bilge area as dry as possible.
    Many products are available to help with changing fluids.
  • Use oil sorbents to clean oily bilges. Do not use detergents or bilge cleaners.
  • Dispose of oil soaked sorbents as a hazardous waste.
  • Do not pump contaminated bilge water overboard; use approved shore-side facilities. Many marinas provide this as a free or low cost service.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT SEWAGE

  • Do not discharge treated or untreated sewage. Many marinas provide sewage pumpout as a free or low cost service.
  • Use sewage pumpouts, Porta-potti dump stations or mobile pumpout services. Untreated discharges are prohibited in State waters.
  • Boats with an onboard toilet are required to have a U.S. Coast Guard certified marine sanitation device (MSD), preferably a Type II holding tank.
  • Bring portable toilets ashore for proper waste disposal.

BEST HULL CLEANING PRACTICES

  • In-water cleaning of boat hulls that have ablative or soft antifouling paints is prohibited.
  • Use pressure-wash haul out facilities that collect and treat wastewater.

TIPS FOR MARINAS

Be a Good Steward of Our Waters


 

 

 
 



IF YOU HAVE A SPILL

Report ALL spills, even small ones. If you don't you could be fined. It's the LAW.

 

If fueling, STOP.

Notify the fuel or marina attendant.

 

Use absorbent pads to contain and clean up the spill.

 

NEVER use soap on spills. It is illegal and toxic to the environment.

 

CALL 800-OILS911 and
the U.S. Coast Guard at 800-424-8802.

RESOURCES

Resource Manual for Pollution Prevention in Marinas

Clean, Green Boating

Washington Boating Safety Course

EPA's Clean Boating Act

WHY IT MATTERS

Oil and hazardous material spills can pose an imminent threat to life, public health or the environment.

RULE RELATED LINKS

Relevant Pollution Laws & Administrative Codes

RCW 90.56 - Oil and hazardous substance spill prevention and response

RCW 90.56.320

RCW 90.56.330

RCW 90.56.340

RCW 90.56.360

RCW 90.56.370

RCW 90.48 - Water pollution control

RCW 90.48.080

RCW 90.48.144

WAC 173-201A-020

WAC 173-201A-240

Click on "PUMPOUT" logo for locations.