New pumpout stations expand options for boaters

Shaw Island General Store owners Terri and Steve Mason and employees Nick Burne and Jonathan Hogue stand by the pumpout facility that was installed last summer. (Photo courtesy Washington Sea Grant)

When boaters get out onto the water this boating season, they will find more pumpout stations to help them keep Washington’s waters clean from sewage spillage. Washington’s two newest pumpout stations can be found at Captain’s Landing on Shaw Island in the San Juans and at Seattle Boat Company’s SkyLaunch Marina on Lake Union.

The pumpout at Captain’s Landing costs $5 to use, while the pumpout at SkyLaunch Marina is free. Both facilities can be found on the Pumpout Washington website. Check before you go to be sure the facilities are open.

According to a Washington Sea Grant announcement, pumpout facilities are installed and maintained with grant funding from the Washington State Parks Clean Vessel Act (CVA) Grant Program. The program expanded the number of pumpouts in recent years to meet increasing boater demand for these types of facilities, such as the pumpout that was installed on Shaw Island last summer. Pumpout facilities allow boaters to offload their sewage quickly and safely, preserving the water quality of Washington waters, the announcement said.

With support from the CVA Grant Program, the Pumpout Washington team — a partnership between Washington Sea Grant and the Washington State Parks Boating Program to conduct boater outreach and education — is conducting a statewide inventory of public pumpout and dump stations to address common maintenance issues. The data collected through the inventory is being used to update an online map showing boaters where functioning pumpout facilities are located in Washington State. The information will also be used to identify areas where new boat sewage disposal facilities are needed. Boaters can help by reporting broken pumpout facilities to boatpumpouts@parks.wa.gov.

Pumpout stations make it easier for boaters to comply with the Puget Sound No Discharge Zone (NDZ) ruling, which went into effect May 10, 2018. The ruling established Puget Sound and certain adjoining waters as areas where boaters may not release treated or untreated sewage from Type I and Type II marine sanitation devices.

Pumpout Washington has distributed more than 10,000 pumpout adapters to boaters, making it easier for them to empty their boat’s holding tank without making a mess. Boaters who would like to receive a free adapter kit, a Pumpout Washington pen-shaped hand sanitizer, or a clean bilge kit can contact Aaron Barnett, boating specialist at Washington Sea Grant, at aaronb5@uw.edu or 206-616-8929.

The Washington CVA Grant Program was established after Congress passed the Clean Vessel Act of 1992. The program is funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through the Sportfish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, which is supported by special taxes on recreational boats, fishing gear and boat fuel.

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