Boaters can help keep water clean

From staff reportsMay 9, 2014 

About 70 percent of the Earth is covered by water – and that’s where you’ll find recreational boaters spending their time.

Here are three tips from the BoatUS Foundation that any boater can do to help keep the waters clean and healthy:

• Springtime greening: When you uncover the boat this spring, recycle your shrink wrap. If your marina does not have a recycling program, go to to learn about starting one. Be sure to give your marina discarded fluids such as engine oil to recycle. Always label used oil and never leave it in a location unattended – once the contents cannot be confirmed, it falls into the “orphan” category of hazardous waste, will not be recycled, and won’t make your marina happy.

• Change refueling habits: If you sometimes seem to accidentally get a little fuel in the water during refueling, try different ways to refuel, such as always having an absorbent pad, fuel nozzle absorbent “donut” or “bib” (to soak up back splashes) before you start the pump. Learn – by listening to changing sound coming from the fuel vent – when your fuel tank is nearly full, then stop refueling. It’s OK to leave a little air at the top of the tank. Ninety percent full is best and will help to prevent a rough sea or expansion from causing any fuel to exit the vent. Fueling basics, including smart refueling tips, can be found at

• Potty training: When you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go. We all know it is illegal and gross to discharge untreated sewage within 3 miles of shore. If your boat has a “head” or toilet facility, ensure the Y-valve is closed to prevent overboard discharge and learn how to use a pumpout station. A short video is available at If you have an on-board treatment device, know the location of any “no discharge zones” where you boat, as even a treated discharge is not allowed in these areas.

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