Boat Sewage Discharge

Use of marine sanitation holding tanks in an improper manner can result in sewage entering the water. Both improperly installed marine sanitation devices and improper disposal practices (pumping overboard within three nautical miles of the nearest land) are illegal. Sewage from boats is more concentrated than that from either combined sewer overflows or sewage treatment plants because marine sanitation systems use little water for flushing.

Improper boat discharges can result in beach closures, shellfish contamination, loss of recreational opportunities and negative aesthetic qualities for all citizens who enjoy our waterways and shorelines.

Any vessel equipped with a Type III marine sanitation device is required to use pump out stations.

Marina and Yacht Club Best Management Practices
  1. If a marina or yacht club operates a pump out facility, install adequate signs to identify the station, its location and hours of operation.
  2. Provide the service at convenient times and at a reasonable cost.
  3. Make the pump out station user friendly by posting Department of Boating and Waterways signs detailing locations of pumpouts and contact phone numbers of pumpout operators.
  4. Develop and adhere to a regular inspection and maintenance schedule for the pump out station.
  5. Provide educational information about the pump out station to boaters.
  6. Enforce existing local, state and federal regulations pertaining to Marine Sanitation Devices and the illegal discharge of boat sewage into the marina waterways.
  7. Post and make available to boaters a list of local pump out locations.
  8. Have clean open and functioning restrooms available to boaters 24 hours per day and to the public during business hours when applicable.

Boater Best Management Practices

  1. Boater should report any illegal discharge of boat sewage to the marina or yacht club office, US Coast Guard National Response center 800.424.8802 or appropriate agency.
  2. Marine holding tanks should always be used properly.
  3. Boaters should use environmentally sensitive cleaning supplies in order to help alleviate gray water concerns.
  4. Boaters should never pump out any holding tank inside the three nautical mile limit.

Score Sheet – Page 7: Boat Sewage Discharge


Sidebars represent changes incorporated in CMP Manual_revised 2_28_12.