Filed Under (Boats and Boating Gear) by Debbie on 17-04-2008

Right now the EPA is gearing up to begin the Clean Water Boating Act this means you’ll be required to buy a permit to use your boat.  I wanted to give you a bit of history so you can understand how this all started.

In 1999, several environmental groups filed a lawsuit against the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) because they wanted to control the aquatic nuisance species spread by requiring treatment of the water ballast in large commercial ocean going ships.

The U.S. District court ruled in the fall of 2006 that the EPA must develope an operation discharge permit for all vessels in the U.S. by September 30, 2008.  Vessels incluce: wakeboard boats, ski boats, jet skies, sailboat, dinghies and anything else not mentioned.

 The EPA is working on this permit system right now.  If legislation isn’t passed before the 9-30-08 deadline, then I expect all of us will need to apply for this permit for each boat we own.  It will most likely need to be renewed every five years.

Knowing how the government works, once they get a foot hold, I wouldn’t be surprised to find we’ll also need to get a permit for each state we boat in.  If that happens then I’m looking at four just for the sailboat.  One for the sailboat, one for the dinghy and as I tack back and forth on the Columbia River…one for Oregon (tack) and one for Washington (tack)…or should I say tax?

During this past year there have been several federal bills introduced to try to help keep recreational boats exempts from this permit system.  I’ve talked before about “The Recreational Boating Act of 2007” it until recently it was our best bet.  However, last fall Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) set out to fix the issue.  This resulted in S. 2766 “The Clean Boating Act of 2008” and it was formally introduced in March of this year.

As recreational boaters we need to act now and we need to help spread the word.  The EPA is working on the permit system and it has to be in place and working by 9-30-08.  Compound all of this with an election year and we don’t have much time.  Most of the Congress will be returning to their homes to run for office again.  If you’re like me, you hate to see tax dollars wasted and we need to get support for S 2766 now so the EPA doesn’t spend more money putting together a permit system that we won’t need.

S 2766 at this writting has 21 sponsors, you can click here to see the current status.  This bill has the best chance of gaining support from both parties.

The three major points of S 2766- The Clean Boating Act of 2008 are:

  • Recreational boats (includes charter boats) are exempt from the permit for normal operational discharges.
  • There’s a three year, three part framework to study the normal discharges of recreational boat and decide if any management practices should be required.  The EPA, US Coast Guard and other government agencies will work on this to see if (other than sewage) they need to develop new management practices that are “reasonable and practicable”.  They will take into account the different sizes, ages and types of boats as well as economic impact and safety.  Then the Coast Guard will develop regulations for the discharges.  There will be a public comment period.  (We need to comment at that time!)
  • No existing environmental restriction are recinded by this bill.  So it’ll still be illegal to dump plastic, garbage, oil, fuel or sewage.

There are 15 MILLION Recreational boats in this country.  We all need to speak up.  Please call or email your Congress person right now.   You can read more about this, read the bill itself and find out who to contact by clicking here.  There’s a bit more information about this but near the bottom you’ll find links.  Copy this link in the browser bar above and email to your friends and encourage them to get involved.

If we don’t move this forward, then “The Clean Water Boat Act” will move the permits into place come the end of September.  I don’t know about you but I’ve paid for enough government taxes…boater’s card (license) boat registration (times 2), trailer registration and of course the tax on the gas we buy when we’re trailering the ski boat.  Act now and lets get the “Clean Boating Act of 2008” into law.

1 Comment posted on "Clean Water Boat Act"
S 2766 Clean Water Act 2008 on April 17th, 2008 at 8:44 am #

[…] If you’d like to read the bill click here.  You can also look under ‘Archive’ for more boating information.  Wakeboardes in the Portland Oregon area will want to see the new restrictions coming.  You can read about the history by clicking here. […]

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