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""From bilge maintenance to debris cleanup, Bay State boaters can do their part to preserve Massachusetts’ stunning coastal regions.

The Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM), a division of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA), provides clean boating tips to get you started.

Essential Clean Boating Tips

Little steps add up to a big impact — following clean boating guidelines helps reduce pollution, prevent erosion, and protect humans and coastal environments:

  • Fuel Management — Follow safe fuel and oil tips, which include recycling used oil, refueling with care to prevent leaks, and conserving fuel. A single quart of oil can contaminate one million gallons of drinking water — so be sure to clean spills and use proper filters.
  • Bilge Maintenance — Prevent the accidental release of oil and gas from boat engines by using bilge socks — absorbent material that removes petroleum waste. A bilge sock can last an entire boating season in a well-maintained engine.
  • Pumpout Facilities — Since the entire Massachusetts coast is a No Discharge Zone, boaters are banned from disposing boat sewage in coastal waters. To properly dispose of this waste, there are more than 120 shore and boat-to-boat pumpout facilities you can use. To further reduce water pollution, shower and wash dishes on shore if possible and use only phosphate-free biodegradable soaps when onboard.
  • Boat Cleaning Clean your boat frequently with biodegradable or nontoxic cleaning products and a little more “elbow grease.” Also, use nonabrasive scrubbing techniques when you clean the boat bottom in the water, since paint and cleaning products, as well as invasive species, can wash off and pollute coastal waters. Avoid contaminating coastal waters while cleaning your boat hull in marinas by following pressure washing guidelines.
  • Debris Cleanup — Store all trash securely onboard to reduce marine debris, including nylon fishing line and unused bait. It is also important to clear your boat’s hull and trailer of any invasive species, such as plant material, fishing bait, or other organisms, to preserve aquatic ecosystems. You can also volunteer for COASTSWEEP to help clean Massachusetts’ coasts in September and October.
  • Boat Operations — Abide by personal watercraft laws. Observe “No Wake” zones to reduce coastal erosion and increase safety, and avoid shallow waters and salt marshes.

Emissions from boating impact aquatic ecosystems, water quality, and beaches. But by following CZM’s clean boating recommendations, you can help the Massachusetts coast stay healthy, clean, and safe for everyone to enjoy.

For more information or questions about clean boating in Massachusetts, comment or tweet us @MassGov.

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