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The Straight Poop on Pumpouts

Writing about pumping out human waste from holding tanks is almost as uninspiring as actually performing that occasional chore. But it’s a very important topic.

First, let us remind you that you can be fined up to $2,000 for discharging untreated sewage into inshore waters or within three miles of the coast — this includes the entire San Francisco Bay and Delta. And here on the North Coast, the vast Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, the Monterey Bay NMS and the Cordell Bank NMS share the same — no-pumping-out — protections as inshore waters. 

Locations in red indicate existing pumpout stations. Fortunately there are lots of them, but as marina mangers will tell you, they are often a pain in the ass to operate. 

© CA Dept. of Boating and Waterways

So what’s a boater to do? Luckily, the Bay Area is peppered with free or low-fee pumpout stations, mostly at marinas and launch ramps. That said, though, operating them is expensive and often troublesome for marina staff. We’re happy to report, however, that $12 million in grant money is now available for the construction, renovation, operation and maintenance of public boat pumpouts. This, according to a recent statement from BoatUS. These funds were generated from taxes and fees paid by boaters, and are made available through the US Fish & Wildlife Service’s Clean Vessel Act program.

"The deadline to apply for the 2017 grant cycle will soon draw to a close," says BoatUS. The organization urges would-be applicants to get the process started ASAP by contacting California’s grant coordinator.


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A run on Saturday, the windiest day of the Express 27 Nationals. © Louis Benainous The 35th Express 27 National Championship was sailed on the Berkeley Circle during the first storms of the season on October 14-16.