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Module 04 - Safe Responsible Boat Operation

California's Requirements for Human Waste Disposal

Some recreational boats will have an installed toilet on board for its convenience during long boating trips. However, understand that it’s illegal to allow raw sewage to escape into territorial U.S. waterways (when you’re boating within 3 miles from shore).

The Clean Water Act requires all boats with installed toilets to be equipped with a Coast Guard-approved Marine Sanitation Device (MSD). An MSD is a system that’s designed to retain, treat and/or release sewage from recreational boats.

Note: Swimmers can catch serious bacterial infections if they are exposed to raw sewage.

MSD Types:

No Discharge Zones

A ‘No Discharge Zone’ could be a land-locked waterway, a drinking water intake area or a marine habitat that’s environmentally fragile. In these areas, Type I and Type II MSDs (the types that discharge treated waste into the water) must not be used and must be secured to prevent accidental release.

California’s No Discharge Zones are:

El Dorado and Placer Counties: Lake Tahoe

Los Angeles County: Avalon Bay Harbor

Marin County: Richardson Bay

Orange County: Dana Point Harbor, Huntington Harbor, Newport Bay (Upper and Lower), and Sunset Bay

San Diego County: Mission Bay, Oceanside Harbor, and San Diego Bay

Ventura County: Channel Islands Harbor

How to secure your MSD:

  • Padlock the overboard discharge valves in the closed position.
  • Close the overboard discharge valves and remove the handle.
  • Lock the door to the space where the toilet is kept.

Identifying Pump-Out Stations

If a marina has a Pump-Out Facility for your MSD, there will be a clearly visible sign to identify the Pump-Out Station.

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LET'S WORK TOGETHER

 

Go boldly, tell your story. Campfire is building a collective of ambassadors who share a passion for the wild. If you’re an influencer, publisher or sport expert drop us a line. Let’s hook up and inspire others.

CAMPFIRE STORIES

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to get the latest stories from around the fire.