New Boat Law- No Rainwater Runoff Allowed

’Quick Bertie don’t let that rain water run off the boat - I can see the coast guard coming’
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In the United States allowing rain to run off your boat into the sea, or allowing seawater from your diesel engine to escape into the sea could be against the law after September 30th this year. Unbelievable? Read on...

Because of a lawsuit targeting ocean-going commercial vessels carrying ballast water, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is required to implement an 'operational discharge permit' for all vessels in the United States – including recreational boats – by September 30, 2008. Without a change in law, all boaters will need to obtain this permit, as early as this summer.

Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is appealing to boaters to act quickly to support a newly introduced 'Clean Boating Act of 2008 (S. 2766). This newly introduced Senate bill promises to be a practical solution to the looming permit deadline for recreational boaters, anglers, and charter boats.

Recreational boaters should quickly contact their Senate and House legislators to support The Clean Boating Act of 2008.

S. 2766 was introduced on Thursday, March 13 by Senate Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.). It follows two bills originally introduced in the spring and fall of 2007 as 'The Recreational Boating Act of 2007' (H.R. 2550/S. 2067) by Representatives Gene Taylor (D-Miss.) and Candice Miller (R-Mich.) and Senator Mel Martinez (R-Fla.).

'Sens. Boxer and Nelson’s bill now has the best chance of gaining widespread political support. As a result, we need every boater, every angler, and anyone who uses a boat to contact their senators and representatives to ask for their support of this bill,' said BoatUS Vice President of Government Affairs Margaret Podlich.

'S. 2766 recognizes the fact that normal operational discharges from recreational boats, such as engine cooling water or deck runoff from rain, should not be viewed under the Clean Water Act as being similar to a commercial ship’s ballast water,' said Podlich. 'This bill does not weaken any existing environmental laws restricting the overboard discharge of oil, fuel, garbage, or sewage.'

S. 2766 also requires the EPA and US Coast Guard to investigate the need for potential management practices for some recreational boat discharges over the next three years. Each step in this development process will include a public comment period and be subject to 'reasonable and practical' criterion.

'BoatUS has been working with the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and other groups to seek a viable recreational boating solution to the upcoming September permit deadline. We appreciate the leadership shown by members of Congress who understand that applying a new permit to recreational boating will not accomplish anything tangible, and will only create a new unnecessary bureaucracy, ' added Podlich.

To help boaters contact their federal legislators or learn more about the issue, go to or

BoatUS is the nation’s leading advocate for recreational boaters with over 650,000 members.