Guest Editorial: DBW urges boaters to protect boating environment

SACRAMENTO — More than four million recreational boaters, each year, seek enjoyable outdoor angling and water sports experiences along California’s thousands of miles of coastline, lakes and rivers. With all of these people on and in the water there is a very real possibility of pollution that can quickly take the fun out of boating. Did you know, for example, untreated sewage from a single boat toilet contains the same number of harmful pathogens as 10,000 flushes of your toilet at home? Hold your nose and nod, “Yes!”

A sewage treatment plant processes the waste from your home, while the waste from your boat remains raw. Beyond sewage, oil and fuel contain harmful components that can affect human health and severely damage our aquatic environment (even very small quantities).      According to CalRecyle a single pint of oil released into the water can cover one acre of a waterbody, impact drinking water and the aquatic ecosystem.

Properly managing oil, fuel and sewage makes a big difference in protecting our boating experience and the environment. Add the following videos to your watch list. They will show how you can help keep California waters safe and enjoyable for years to come:

  • Boat Marine Sanitation Device and Y-Valve. This video clearly and easily explains the laws regarding boat Marine Sanitation Devices, the effects of discharging sewage overboard, and how to secure a boat’s Y-valve to prevent an accidental sewage discharge
  • Pump It! Don’t Dump It! Dumping raw sewage into our waterways is just plain lame. Visit the restroom or pump out boat sewage before you leave the dock. This video shows you how to use a sewage pumpout station.
  • The Oil and Fuel videos. These videos show tips and tools to prevent oil and fuel discharges; to report oil and chemical spills; and to dispose of used oil correctly. They also provide information on environmental laws and other clean and safe boating practices recommended for before, during and after fueling boats.

These videos were created by The Bay Foundation, the San Francisco Estuary Partnership (with funding from the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways Clean Vessel Act Education Program and a Federal Clean Vessel Act grant through the Sport Fish Restoration Program) and the California Boating Clean and Green Program (California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways and The California Coastal Commission).

See and share the videos by visiting

Photo: Division of Boating and Waterways

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