Industry prepared for new EPA emission standards

WASHINGTON, D.C. – It was no surprise to the marine industry when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued new emissions regulations for gas-powered boat engines and boat fuel systems last Thursday.

The regulations are a result of a decade of negotiation and collaboration by the National Marine Manufacturers Association and the EPA, and will result in substantial benefits to the recreational marine industry, public health, welfare and the environment as well as long-term fuel savings, the National Marine Manufacturers Association reported in a recent statement.

The new regulations mean gasoline outboard, personal watercraft and stern drive inboard engine manufacturers will basically be required to meet California emission standards. This will also be the first time gasoline marine engines will be required to meet a carbon monoxide standard. For boat builders, these new emission regulations will require the fuel system to meet both permeation and diurnal emission reductions, the association explained.

The new standards require that fuel systems: accommodate low permeation fuel lines and low permeation plastic fuel tanks; include carbon canisters used to capture fumes from open fuel vents; and prevent fuel from spitting back during fueling, NMMA reported.

“Because the EPA has allowed sufficient time for compliance, boat builders will have the time and resources necessary to redesign their vessels to meet these new standards,” said John McKnight, NMMA director of environmental and safety compliance. “Because there is no reporting or certification requirement for boat manufacturers, they will only be required to install certified equipment in their vessels and affix a standard label that states that the vessel is in compliance with EPA regulations for the specific model year.”

Training sessions coming soon

Boats not in compliance will incur significant penalties, including recall provisions, NMMA explained. As a result, NMMA is urging manufacturers to take advantage of training sessions and compliance information it is providing.

The first session, titled “Boat Fuel Systems Design and Compliance (Session 309),” will take place at the International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition and Conference (IBEX) on Tues., Oct. 7 from 8:30 am to 10:00 am. Representatives from the American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC), NMMA and EPA will provide manufacturers will the tools needed to properly plan for the changes needed to meet both EPA and ABYC requirements, according to the association.

Following IBEX, NMMA said it will develop a series of Evaporative Emission seminars in key boat manufacturing states, similar to sessions conducted following the implementation of the Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) standard.

“NMMA, Grady-White Boats and countless other affected businesses worked tirelessly with the EPA for many years on this set of rules. The result is a true win-win situation,” said Jim Hardin, compliance manager for Grady-White Boats. “The rule allows us the flexibility we need to implement the required changes while helping the EPA meet their goal of reducing emissions. Reduced emissions will help keep our water and air clean, which is very important to both us and our customers.”

For information on the new EPA emission standards, contact NMMA’s director of environmental and safety compliance, John McKnight, at 202-737-9757 or

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