EPA asks for comments on boating practices

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is asking boaters to report how they operate and maintain their boats as a part of determining new recreational watercraft management practices.

The deadline for comments is June 2.

“Management Practices would be methods, techniques, or tools which could  mitigate any environmental impact of normal discharges into our waters,” said BoatUS Vice President of Government Affairs Margaret Podlich. “They will vary according to boat type and what that vessel could potentially discharge. For example, the EPA is looking at engine maintenance and could create a management practice that requires the use of a bilge sock to soak up oil in your engine compartment. Of course, this couldn’t apply to a rowboat. But it’s important to understand they are looking at all recreational watercraft.”

To hear boaters’ concerns and suggestions, the EPA has set up two ways to communicate: Boaters can be heard at the agency’s alternative weekly online webinars that started March 21 and end April 25; or Boaters can e-mail the EPA directly at CleanBoatingAct-HQ@EPA.GOV until June 2.

The EPA is looking at several broad categories of vessel discharges including the use of anti-fouling paints and zincs, grey water (from showers and sinks), bilge water (with concern about oil and grease, which is already illegal to discharge), the use of cleaning products, disposal of garbage and fishing waste, and the transport of invasive species.

“The EPA shared with us that they expect to use some of the more common clean boating techniques already found in some areas,” said Podlich. “However, no specific proposal or required action was presented, so more details are elusive. As a result, boaters need to stay tuned to what EPA is planning and make their voices heard in these listening sessions.”

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