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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: http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/lawsguidance/cwa/vessel/CBA/participate.cfm

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.

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