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How will new “clean boating” regs impact our businesses?

We successfully lobbied Congress in 2008 for the Clean Boating Act. It was an important victory for pleasure boating. Indeed, had it not passed, our customers would have been required to obtain an EPA permit to discharge virtually anything – for example, boat soap running off a washed deck.

Part of the “deal” to get recreational boats out from under such permit requirements was that EPA would, within five years, assess what discharges recreational boats normally make into waterways and draft any requirements necessary to mitigate anything deemed harmful to the environmental. EPA is now doing that assessment and is expected to issue recommendations and requirements later this year. How new requirements and regulations will impact us and our customers is anyone’s guess at this point. Confirming current good practices already used by boaters would be ideal. But, now is the time for that marine industry and boat owners to give EPA important input.

As EPA analyzes what it terms “normal operational discharges” from pleasure boats, it is calling for input on best “management practices” for the implementation of the CBA. More specifically, areas of interest include controlling, or not, incidental discharges of water from boat washing and rain water runoff. Other areas being examined by EPA include: gray water discharge from sinks/showers; garbage disposal, fish waste disposal, bilge water discharge, the spread of invasive species and antifouling paints/zincs. 

BoatU.S. reports EPA has indicated it wants to incorporate as many current clean boating practices as possible into any new required “management practices.” The agency defines “management practices” as applying recommended methods, techniques and tools that can mitigate any adverse impact to the environment from pleasure boat discharges. Notably, best “management practices” have traditionally been voluntary actions to minimize pollution.

To gather input, EPA scheduled two live “Listening Sessions” and six Webinars. The first live session took place March 18 in Annapolis, as will the second on April 29. Some of the webinars have also been held (March 21, March 29, April 6 and April 14.) The two remaining Webinars will be tomorrow (April 22) at 10 a.m. (EDT) and next Monday, April 25 at noon (EDT). You must register to attend the webinar at:

Comments can also be made via email at: CleanBoatingAct-HQ@EPA.GOV  All email comments must be made by June 2. Perhaps the best place to learn about good management practices currently in use is at: www.boatus/foundation/cleanwater

Possible action – Tune into either the webinar tomorrow or next Monday to get a feel for what is being said, etc. Then, draft up a one-page fact sheet of current good management practices, provide it to your employees and customers, and recommend they email EPA urging adoption of the common current practices.


3 comments on “How will new “clean boating” regs impact our businesses?

  1. dave

    I can only ask the EPA, “What is it that the recreational boater is doing wrong, that contributes to the problem you are trying to create and then regulate”?

    they seem deaf so far to valid questions, this question was “rejected” at Annapolis, and at Annapolis last month, it was laughable how little “listening” they did.

    The EPA has said several times “They do not expect to address gray water issues”, yet every press release still lists, and Annapolis session, gray water was certainly on the agenda…EPA what is it?

  2. Enginecom

    These EPA beurocrats just want an excuse to expand and justify their jobs. The EPA head is all for “environmental justice”. All that means is to give her friends jobs to come down hard on the boaters and the boating industry. Few if any low income people use pleasure boats. Boats are probably a good EPA target for assessing fees and fines on boaters to support their causes. They have to come up with something boaters or the industry does to offend these idiots which will motivate them to generate regulations. I love dave’s questions that threw them for a loop. Of course the far left government doesn’t want to listen to you rich guys with your toys. They just want to charge you to be on the water. My private yacht club is receiving notice that people will be watching our activities during the spring boat preparation season to see if we are polluting etc. Its control and more of Obama style wealth distribution.

  3. CaptainA

    I don’t think it is a question of what boaters are doing wrong. I think the EPA is conducting LISTENING SESSIONS to understand how boaters can minimize their affects on the environment.

    There really is no way for the EPA or USCG to enforce these Best Management Practices. The only way the EPA/USCG can enforce a requirement is through a NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) pemit. The EPA/USCG would need to be able to prove a violation of said permit. As Norm as correctlty stated, there currently no Clean Water Act requirements requiring recreational boaters to obtain a permit.

    Boaters are still subject to the No Discharge of Oil, Garbage, Plastic requirements under the Clean Water Act, Ocean Dumping Act, and MARPOL.

    Having written this, does it not make sense for boaters to do all they can to reduce pollution to the environment? Would you want to boat in waters full of garbage or dead fish?

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