2015 New York Safe Boating - 40
THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT
Littering isn't just disgusting and discourteous, it's illegal.
New York State law prohibits dumping of trash or any
garbage into the waters of the state. Conviction of this
offense is a violation punishable by up to a $250 fine and/or
up to 60 days in jail.
Protecting the environment should be second nature to
all of us. Your "green" practices ashore should continue
aboard. On the water, every action that you take impacts
others sharing the waterway: your neighbors who live along
the shore, your fellow boaters, the fish and aquatic plants
that live in the water, and the animals that depend on the
shoreline for their habitat. As in any aspect of boating,
common sense and common courtesy should guide your
behavior. There are some special steps you can and should
take to preserve our waterways. Marine sanitation devices,
bottom painting, engine maintenance and proper trash
disposal habits can all have an impact on the quality of the
water in which we boat.
Dumping trash is also a federal offense. The United States
has adopted the International Marine Pollution Agreement
(MARPOL), and Annex V of MARPOL sets minimum distances
from shore for discharge of various types of garbage. It
also prohibits the discharge of plastics anywhere due to
the danger plastics pose to marine life. Boats of 26 feet
or longer boating on waters of federal jurisdiction must
prominently display a durable placard at least 8 inches wide
by 5 inches high notifying the crew and passengers of the
Huge, sea-going oil tankers aren't the only boats that
can befoul our waters and shores with oil spills and oil
pollution. Some of the pollution in our waterways is caused
by recreational boats. There are steps you can take to
reduce the amount of pollution your boat causes. A poorly
maintained engine will leak more oil into the water, so keep
up with the manufacturer suggested maintenance schedule.
Don't pump oily bilge water over the side; collect it and
dispose of it properly on shore. Check your hoses frequently
for leaks and replace them if necessary. If you spill oil in the
boat, wipe it up right away. Use an oil absorbent pad or
"sock" in your bilge when you're traveling.
Marine Sanitation Devices
Boats are not required to be equipped with a toilet or marine
head. But if your boat has a head, it must be equipped with
an operable Marine Sanitation Device (MSD) that is certified
by the US COAST GUARD to meet Environmental Protection
There are three types of approved MSDs:
Type I MSD treats sewage by various means, and
then discharges the waste matter into the water.
Type II MSD is similar to the Type I but meets a
New York State Navigation Law prohibits the discharge of
oil in New York waterways. If your boat spills oil, no matter
how small the spill, contact the NYSDEC within 2 hours of
the oil spill at (800) 457 7362.
higher level of sewage treatment.
Type III MSD doesn't treat sewage, but holds sewage
on board until you reach a pump out station.
The federal Water Pollution Control Act bars the discharge
of oil into waters under federal jurisdiction. It also requires
boats 26 ft and greater in length on waters of federal
jurisdiction to display a 5 X 8 inch placard in the engine space
stating the requirements of the law. If your boat discharges
oil while sailing in federal waters, report the discharge to the
US Coast Guard at (800) 424-8802.
Note: A portable toilet- one that you can easily remove
from your boat- is not considered a MSD.
Bring your trash back to shore and dispose of it properly!
Plastics, especially fishing line, nets, and six-pack wrappers
can be deadly to fish and mammals that live in or near the
water. All litter, even so-called biodegradable litter, sullies
the beauty of our waterways. Bring a garbage bag with you
and use it for non-recyclable trash. Keep recyclables separate
and place them in recycling bins at the marina, or bring them
home to recycle. Pick up other people's litter and return it to
shore with your trash and recyclables. If something flies out
of your boat, stop and retrieve it. (Pretend it's a person and
practice a man overboard drill!)
Marine pump out facilities are to be used for disposal of on
board sewage rather than releasing it into a waterway. The