Resources for Clean, Green Boating
Chesapeake Bay Safety and Environmental Hotline 877-224-7229 - Call this number to report problems on State waters.
From the Spa Creek Conservancy ... but applicable to concern about any body of water
How to Wash and Service Your Boat for a Clean Creek - Keep Trash, Oil, Solvents and Toxics Out of Our Creek
Capt'n Chris Tietje of The Liberté:
"The Fish and the Oysters and the Crabs Don't Need a Bath"
Sewage Issues (from Maryland's Department of Natural Resources)
Tips for protecting our waterways
The most significant threat to the health of the Chesapeake Bay is nutrient overenrichment. When present in excessive amounts, nutrients trigger algal blooms. The algae prevents sunlight from passing through the water column. Aquatic plants suffer as a result. Furthermore, when this algae dies and is decomposed, dissolved oxygen levels can be reduced to the point where aquatic life is threatened.
Boat sewage, whether treated by a marine sanitation device (MSD) or not, contains nutrients. Although one flush form one head on one boat may not add a significant amount of nutrients to the water, the effects of nutrient overenrichment are cumulative and boat sewage can present a particular problem in areas of water that do not flush well and where boats tend to congregate (such as marinas and mooring areas).
Raw or poorly treated sewage also contains harmful bacteria which is a potential source of disease transmission to swimmers and others who come into contact with contaminated waters. Also, human consumption of shellfish contaminated with sewage can result in serious illness.
- Use onshore restrooms when docked.
- Report broken pumpout stations to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources at 410-260-8770.
- Choose enzyme-based deodorizers for waste in holding tanks or portable toilets.
- Avoid holding tank products that contain quarternary ammonium compounds (QAC) and formaldehyde. These products may disrupt sewage treatment plants.
- Share this information with another boater.
- Tips for Protecting our waterways
- Legal Requirements for Boaters
- How to use a Pumpout Facility
- A Boater's Guide to Sewage Holding Tanks
- Pumpout locations in Maryland
- No Discharge Zones
The Maryland Clean Marina Initiative is an evolving effort to assist marina, boatyards and yacht club operators to protect the resources that provide their livelihood: clean water and fresh air. The Initiative is distributing a comprehensive pollution prevention guidebook for marinas, recognizes “Clean Marinas” through an awards program, and conducts outreach activities to further promote environmentally responsible marina and boating practices.
Guidebook for Marinas | Certified Maryland Clean Marinas
Tip Sheets for Boaters from the Clean Marina Initiative
- Vessel Cleaning & Maintenance
- Selecting a Bottom Paint
- Underwater Hull Cleaning
- Vessel Sewage
- Waste Containment & Disposal
Join the The Maryland Clean Boater Program
While the Clean Marina Initiative has provided tools and help to Maryland marinas and boatyards since 1998 to protect the resources upon which their businesses depend — clean water and fresh air — the the Maryland Clean Boater Program was launched in 2007 to help boaters join the effort to protect our waterways.
The Program encourages you to take the Clean Boater Pledge to express your commitment to clean boating habits. The program provides tips and materials to prevent marine pollution.
Check out the Maryland Clean Boater Program website and take the pledge! While supplies last, each boater who returns a Pledge will receive a thank you gift!)
How Can You Be a Clean Boater?
- Sign the Maryland Clean Boater Pledge by clicking here! (See above.)
- Don’t litter, and pick up litter when you see it.
- Learn about and share clean, safe boating habits.
- Follow laws regarding discharge of sewage, chemicals, and debris.
- Support Maryland Clean Marinas when possible.
General Clean Boating Tips
For use around marinas and while on the water anywhere: Contain Trash
- Do no let trash get thrown or blown overboard
- If trash blows overboard, retrieve it--consider it “crew-overboard” practice
- Pack food in reusable containers
- Buy products without plastic or excessive packaging--plastic is deadly to fish and birds
- Do not toss cigarette butts overboard--they are made of plastic (cellulose acetate)
- Purchase refreshments in recyclable containers
- Recycle cans, glass, plastic, newspaper, antifreeze, oil and lead batteries
- Call 1-800-4-RECYCLE for locations or visit www.mde.state.md.us/Programs/LandPrograms/Recycling/index.asp
- Bring used monofilament fishing line to recycling bins at your marina or tackle shop
- Remember, fuel expands as it warms up
- Fill your tank just before leaving on a trip
- If you fill your tank upon your return to port, fill it only 90%
- Use oil absorbent material to catch drips from the fuel intake and the vent overflow
- Fill portable fuel tanks ashore--where spills are less likely to occur and easier to clean up
- Add a fuel conditioner to your tank if you use your engine infrequently
- Keep your engine well tuned--no leaking seals, gaskets or hoses
- Place oil absorbent material or a bioremediating bilge boom in the bilge
- Place an oil absorbent pad under the engine
- Replace oil absorbent materials regularly
- Check fuel lines for damage--replace with alcohol resistant hoses
- Secure fuel hoses to prevent chafing and leaks
- Never discharge bilge water with a sheen--it is illegal
- If the pad is saturated with gas, allow it to air dry. Reuse.
- If the pad is saturated with diesel or oil, double bag it in plastic--one bag sealed inside another. Dispose in your regular trash.
- Bioremediating bilge booms should not be sealed in plastic bags--the microbes need oxygen to function. Discard in regular trash.
- Wash your boat frequently with a sponge and plain water
- Use detergents sparingly
- Use phosphate-free, biodegradable and non-toxic cleaners
- Wax your boat--a good coat of wax prevents surface dirt from becoming ingrained
- Clean wood with a mild soap powder and a nylon brush--not harsh chemical cleaners
- Conserve water--put a spray nozzle on your hose
- Collect all paint chips, dust and residue. Dispose in regular trash.
- Share leftover paint and varnish
- Bring used solvents and waste gas to local hazardous waste collection day
- Keep your engine clean so you can spot leaks
- Slip a plastic bag over used oil filters before they are removed to capture drips
- Use premium two-cycle engine oil
- Use alternatives to toxic bottom paints
- Never discharge raw sewage in Maryland waters
- Use restrooms on shore
- Under way, use approved Marine Sanitation Devices (MSDs)
- Discharge Type I or II MSDs over deep water--avoid discharging in swimming areas, marinas, anchorages or over oyster bars
- Establish regular maintenance schedule for your MSD based on manufacturer’s recommendations
- Pumpout and rinse hold tanks regularly
- Use enzyme based products to control odor and reduce solids in holding tanks
- Avoid holding tank products that contain quarternary ammonium compounds (QAC) and formaldehyde
- Do not throw fish waste into marina waters
- Use fish cleaning stations where provided on docks or at marinas
- Discard waste over deep water or in the trash
- Save waste and use as chum or bait
- Proceed slowly in shallow areas
- Do not disturb wildlife
- Avoid contact with submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV)
- Watch your wake--it can lead to shoreline erosion and disturb wildlife
- Learn about products and practices which are environmentally safe
- Share the information with other boaters
- Help guests understand that, on your boat, no trash is thrown overboard
- Obey laws governing speeding, littering and discharge
- Encourage boating facilities to provide trash cans, recycling bins and pumpout stations
- Support marinas that are environmentally responsible