Information on Applying
Who must apply?
Operators of vessels greater than or equal to 300 gross registered tons or
capable of discharging greater than 8 cubic meters of ballast water must
submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) to EPA. Table 1 of the VGP lists deadlines
for NOI submittal. NOIs for existing vessels are due September 19, 2009 or
immediately upon transfer of ownership/operation.
All vessels meeting the eligibility requirements in the VGP (about 30,000)
were automatically covered on December 19, 2008 when EPA issued the VGP.
These vessels have automatic VGP coverage up to the deadline for NOI
submission. Any operator of a vessel required to submit an NOI as described
below who fails to submit an NOI by the deadline in Table 1 (see Appendix E
of the VGP) will lose VGP coverage.
How to apply for coverage
Fishing and commercial vessels under 79 feet long are exempt from needing
VGP coverage for a 2-year moratorium (extended to December 18, 2013 - see
July 30, 2010 in the Vessel General Permit History below). Certain
discharges from these vessels, such as ballast water, are not exempt
even during the moratorium. Recreation vessels and all military vessels are
exempt forever or until the law changes.
Where does the VGP apply?
VGP requirements only extend 3 nautical miles from shore leaving some
Washington State waters uncovered. However, state Water Quality Standards
(chapter 173-201A WAC) apply and the Department of Ecology has enforcement
authority in all state waters.
The state constitution defines state waters as extending further than three
miles in some places. Article XXIV of the Washington State Constitution defines
the state boundary with Canada in marine waters to run along the 49th parallel
from land west to longitude 123 degrees, 19 minutes, 15 seconds west (about
midway from shore to Vancouver Island) and from there along the international
boundary to a point equidistant between Bonnilla Point on Vancouver Island and
the Tatoosh Island lighthouse. The state boundary then runs south from this
point. A map is available here:
state waters map
EPA is not charging permit fees but seems to envision states becoming delegated
during the first permit term and assessing fees to pay for implementation of vessel
permitting and enforcement in the future.