Clean Boating Tips

Keep bilge clean

  • Keep engines properly tuned and operating at peak efficiency.
  • Transfer and remove fluids with care, using funnels, pumps, and oil-absorbent pads to catch drips and clean up spills.
  • Regularly inspect lines and hoses for leaks and replace as needed.
  • Avoid pumping any bilge water that is oily or has sheen.
  • Recycle used oil, filters, and absorbent pads.

Monitor fueling

  • Never smoke while approaching the fuel dock or while fueling.
  • Secure boat to dock. Stop all engines and turn off all electrical switches. Close all doors, windows, and hatches.
  • Know your fuel tank capacity and allow 5 to 10 percent for fuel expansion; place a container over the air vent to catch any overfill. Listen to hear when the tank is getting full and slow the fuel delivery rate as it nears capacity.
  • Use an absorbent pad around the nozzle to catch any splash-backs or drips. Clean up any spilled fuel with absorbent cloths.
  • Ventilate engine compartment before starting engine.

Take action if a fuel or oil spill occurs

  • Stop the source.
  • Notify the marina office and call the U.S. Coast Guard National Response Center at 800-424-8802.
  • Clean up the spill with absorbent pads or contain with booms.
  • Never use soap to disperse a fuel or oil spill. It is harmful to the environment and against the law.

Keep boating waters free of litter

  • Repackage food and supplies in reusable containers at home.
  • Bring back what you take out.
  • Stow loose paper, plastics, and other items to prevent blowing out.
  • Keep trash containers handy. Dispose of trash properly.
  • Purchase products in recyclable packaging, like aluminum, and recycle.
  • It’s your responsibility to inform all visitors on your boat where to put trash.
  • Retrieve trash floating in the water and dispose of it at the marina.

Keep fish waste out of the water

  • Too much fish waste in a marina basin can impact water quality.
  • Clean fish at home or use a cleaning station. Wrap fish waste before placing in a trash container.
  • Do not release unused live bait into the water as this can introduce foreign species.

Manage Sewage Waste Properly

  • Plan ahead: use onshore restrooms when possible.
  • Keep your marine toilet properly maintained.
  • Find out if you are on a Discharge or a No Discharge reservoir. On Discharge reservoirs, properly treated sewage may be discharged into the main channel. On No Discharge reservoirs, it is against the law to discharge any sewage into the reservoir. Always use a marina pump-out service.
  • Empty portable toilets at dump stations or in bathrooms.

Remove boat from water for repairs and cleaning

  • Do boat repairs and cleaning at the boat yard, where wastewater can be collected and treated.
  • Rinse your boat with fresh water after each use to minimize the need for soaps and scrubbing.
  • Use phosphate-free, chlorine-free, and nontoxic cleaning products.


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