Division of Boating and Waterways Asks Boaters to Keep Our Waterways Clean

SACRAMENTO, Calif.— The Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) and the California Coastal Commission ask boaters to practice environmentally sound boating habits not only today on Earth Day, but throughout the year. Preserving the environment every day helps keep California’s waterways healthy all year long.

Here are five ways boaters can preserve the planet:

  1. Prevent the Further Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species. Aquatic invasive species, such as quagga and zebra mussels, can create havoc in the aquatic environment and damage motor boats. To prevent the spread of these mussels and other aquatic invasive species, people launching vessels at any waterbody are subject to watercraft inspections and are strongly encouraged to clean, drain and dry their motorized and non-motorized boats, including personal watercraft, and any equipment that contacts the water before and after use. For free prevention resources, including a boat cleaning guide book and inspection/cleaning checklists, please visit DBW’s website.
  2. Plan Ahead. Dump at the Pump! It is illegal to discharge untreated sewage anywhere within the three-mile territorial limit including lakes, rivers, reservoirs or coastal waters. Never discharge treated sewage into “restricted waters” such as a marina, swimming/wading areas, a sanctuary, poorly flushed areas, lakes, reservoirs, or freshwater impoundments and into a federal No Discharge Zones. Use sewage pumpouts, dump stations, or mobile-pumpout services.  Download our free Sewage Pumpout Nav.
  3. Stow it, don’t throw it. Keep your trash on-board. Never throw cigarette butts, fishing line or any other garbage into our waterways. Take advantage of shore-side facilities to recycle plastic, glass, metal and paper, such as fishing-line recycling stations. Fishing line can entangle and kill wildlife and cause boat damage.
  4. Turn in a vessel before it pollutes. Proper disposal of an unwanted vessel is a vital part of clean and responsible boating. Because there are several environmental hazards associated with old vessels, including used oil, solvents and used batteries, it is important that all vessel owners properly dispose of their vessels at the appropriate time. There are several options for proper vessel disposal: The no-cost Vessel Turn-In Program, landfill disposal, recycling and/or dismantling. Visit DBW’s website for more information.
  5. Recycle, Collect, Report. Take the necessary steps to perform spill-proof oil changes and recycle your used oil and oil filters. Always use oil absorbents and dispose of them as a hazardous waste by visiting your county household hazardous waste collection center or marina offering this service. Remember to never use soap to disperse fuel and oil spills; it increases harm to the environment and is illegal. Check our oil and fuel clean boating videos. Report ALL oil and chemical spills to: The marina, the National Response Center (800-424-8802) and the California Office of Emergency Services (800 OILS911).

California has one of the highest levels of recreational boating activity in the nation. With 1,100 miles of coast, hundreds of navigable rivers, lakes, and the Delta, there are ample recreational opportunities. Growth in boating’s popularity also increases the potential impact of boat-related pollutants that can enter the environment. In an effort to reduce these impacts, DBW and the California Coastal Commission promote environmentally sound boating practices to marine businesses and boaters in California through a program dubbed Boating Clean and Green Program. For more information on the program or detailed information on environmental services/resources please visit www.BoatingCleanAndGreen.com.

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