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Marinas and Boating

marinaWater quality in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is affected by many sources. Land-based sources including runoff from urban and agricultural areas carry various pollutants into coastal waters. Water quality is further affected by pollution generated directly through harbor and boating activities. Naturally there is much diversity in boating activities in the harbors from commercial vessels to recreational boats of all sizes. Most boater-generated impacts fall under four general categories: toxic metals primarily from anti-fouling paints; oil and gasoline from motor operation and maintenance; solid waste and debris; and, bacteria and nutrients from boat sewage.

Most boater and harbor-generated pollution can be reduced or eliminated through education and training programs, the development of convenient waste disposal facilities, and the application of new paint technologies. To this end, the Water Quality Protection Program for the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary has worked with the harbormasters, resource agencies, and boating community to develop ways to address these sources of pollution through the Management Plan WQPP Action Plan III: Marinas and Boating.

pelicansSummary of Marinas and Boating Strategies:

  • Develop a public education and outreach program to communicate to boaters the environmental and economic impacts of polluting activities and simple pollution prevention methods.
  • Develop a regional technical training program on pollution prevention for harbor and boatyard staff.
  • Facilitate the collection of contaminated bilge water and waste oil by construction and operation of pumpout and waste handling sites, and distribution of oil-absorbent pads.
  • Promote the use of containment methods to reduce waste runoff from boatyards and emissions from paint stripping.
  • Encourage the use of less toxic paint on boats and improvements in underwater hull cleanings to prevent heavy scraping.
  • Coordinate regulatory agencies to develop a pick-up system for toxic materials at harbors.
  • Develop a check-off sheet for harbormasters to assess current status and annual progress of pollution control efforts.

oil pumpout signWhat's Being Done Now?

  • Bilge oil pumpout facilities are now located at each harbor within the Sanctuary: Pillar Point, Monterey, Moss Landing and Santa Cruz.
  • Educational brochures and water quality signage have been installed in Pillar Point, Monterey, Moss Landing and Santa Cruz harbors.
  • Collaborative efforts with the Santa Cruz-based nonprofit Save Our Shores and the California Integrated Waste Management Board are providing oil-absorbent pads to boaters for clean-up of small spills through the Dock Walkers program as well as brochures and maps of local harbors with locations of pumpout facilities and clean boating tips.
  • Sanctuary staff are promoting sustainable recreational boating through presentations at yacht clubs, sponsoring regattas and volunteer efforts through TeamOCEAN.

The success of this program relies on the combined efforts of a variety of federal, state and local agencies, the boating community and non-profit organizations (such as Save Our Shores). Everyone's contribution is necessary to help improve and preserve the water quality of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

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Reviewed: April 11, 2024
Web Site Owner: National Ocean Service

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