Everyone deals with it

Blackwater (aka sewage discharge) - and what to do with it onboard.

boat, sailboat, marina

How does blackwater affect our harbors?

Dumping sewage into coastal waters can cause a number of problems for both the environment and human health. See how below:

blackwater, sewage, sewage discharge

What are the regulations? 

1. It’s illegal to discharge untreated sewage in coastal waters within 3 miles of shore and inland waters (lake, reservoirs, rivers, etc.) in the US.

2. No Discharge Zones (NDZs) take this law a step further and prohibit the discharge of both treated and untreated sewage.

3. Check here for a list of NDZs and pumpout facilities by state. 

What are the options for dealing with sewage? 

Depending on the size of your boat and where you travel, there are several ways to handle blackwater onboard your vessel, including the following:

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All boats in US waters with permanently installed toilets are required to have a Marine Sanitation Device (MSD) onboard that either stores or treats sewage.

Check out the Blackwater section in our Green Boating Guide for more details and other useful tips!