The Clean Water Act of 1972 has been a great success where
discharge points (pipes) can be regulated, but less so with all
other pollution sources, including boaters. We can increase our
contribution to water purity and thereby improving the quality of
our fish stock by following a few simple suggestions.
Repackage food and supplies into reusable containers on
shore to reduce the amount of trash produced on the water.
Enforce strict trash discipline on your boat by disposing of
all materials properly when you return to shore.
Encourage your marina to recycle and to maintain waste areas
so trash will not wash or blow back into the water.
Don't dump fish waste in restricted waters or near your
Freeze fish waste for later use as bait or chum, or use it
as rich compost for your home landscaping.
Limit what goes down the drain, especially chemicals,
minimize dumping even in legal areas, and use portable toilets
and appropriate pumpout facilities.
Eliminate sewage discharge by installing a holding tank and
increasing your use of onshore facilities.
Ask your marina about the quality of pumpout facilities and
the disposal of sewage waste.
Control/collect pet waste (at home and on the water) for
Safeguard against accidental release of toxic fuels and
lubricants during fueling,maintenance,
and pumping bilges. Install a fuel/air separator in the air vent
line to prevent spills during fueling, and have oil-absorbent
pads ready to mop up even the smallest spills.
Store fuel and lubricants only in approved marine
Many boat cleaners contain chlorine, ammonia, phosphates and
other chemicals that can affect water quality and aquatic
life. Look for cleaners that are less noxious, be careful to
avoid release of wash water, and perform major cleaning
operations in an area where wash-water can be collected and
treated before release.
Paints and shellacs used to maintain boats contain many
harmful chemicals and metals. Do all chipping and painting in
an appropriate area away from the water, use a drop cloth to
catch dust chips and spills, and vacuum up loose paint chips
and paint dust.
Do your engine maintenance in a pollution-safe area,
collecting and disposing of maintenance products in an
Free information on boating and the environment is available
from the Coast Guard, the EPA, NOAA, state and local governments,
as well as many private companies and organizations, including the
ABA. For information about how to access these free resources,
check out the ABA web page on clean boating at
and share this information with your boating friends.
The American Boating Association
PO Box 690
New Market, MD 21774