Boaters for the Bay logo Responsible Boating

Responsible boating comes from knowledge and action. Take the pledge and become a Boater for the Bay!

You can help the Chesapeake Bay by incorporating the following items into your boating routine:

  1. Prevent oily discharge from the bilge

    Keep your engine well-tuned, and place an absorbent pad or pillow under your engine where drips may occur, and in your bilge. Check the pads regularly and dispose of them properly as hazardous waste.

  2. Spill-proof your oil changes

    Use an oil change pump to transfer oil to a spill-proof container. Wrap a plastic bag or absorbent pad around the oil filter to prevent oil from spilling into the bilge.

  3. Spill-proof your fueling practices

    Fill tanks slowly, and use absorbent pads to catch spills and drips. Don't "top-off" or overflow your fuel tank, and leave 5 percent empty to allow fuel to expand as it warms. Consider installing a fuel overflow reservoir in your fuel tank's air vent line to prevent bubbling backflow.

  4. Don't add soap to fuel spills

    Not only is it illegal, but many soaps contain phosphorus, which feeds the excessive algae growth and contributes to the Bay's "dead zone." Use Bay-friendly cleaning agents.

  5. Minimize boat cleaning and maintenance in the water

    Use tarps and vacuum sanders to minimize debris, and collect all drips for proper disposal.

  6. Reduce toxic discharges from bottom paints

    Use a hard, less toxic, or nontoxic antifouling paint, and use only non-abrasive underwater hull cleaning techniques to prevent excessive paint discharge. Consider dry storage, which reduces the need for antifouling paint and saves money.

  7. Dispose of hazardous waste properly

    Dispose of paints, batteries, antifreeze, cleaning products, oil, oil filters, and other chemicals at a proper hazardous waste facility or event. Recycle paints, batteries, oil, oil filters and antifreeze don't throw them overboard.

  8. Manage sewage wastes properly

    Use harbor pump-out stations and shore-side facilities instead of dumping into the Bay.

  9. Stow it, don't throw it!

    Keep your trash onboard at all times. Never throw cigarette butts, fishing line, or any other garbage into the water. Take advantage of shore-side facilities to recycle plastic, glass, metal, and paper.

  10. Reduce graywater discharge

    Use a phosphate-free soap to minimize graywater impact on the marine environment, and do dishes and showers on shore whenever possible. Consider installing a graywater tank onboard.

For More Information

In Maryland: Maryland Department of Natural Resources

In Virginia: Virginia Clean Marina

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