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New Environmental Protection Agency Regulations

Download the EPA Boater's Handbook Below

In an effort to comply with the U.S. EPA in a new round of inspections and penalties, local marinas are instituting strict new mandates regarding "best practices" for both boat owners and marina workers. Items on the checklist may include the use of only vacuum sanders, a requirement for tarps below each boat as they are prepared and painted, an edict that no materials can be left below the boat on the ground when the boat is unattended, and the mandatory use of biodegradable products such as soap whenever possible.

Because of the ways in which the laws are written, items considered to be hazardous waste if left in marina dumpsters, can be simply disposed of in the garbage at a boat owner's home. Therefore, many local marinas have been foced to place locks on their yard dumpsters to protect themselves. While boatyards agree their customers are, infact, their guest, they understand just one large fine from the federal government could be enough to put them out of business.

In addition to the rules imposed upon themselves and thei customers, many local marinas are being forced to undertake massive and expensive equipment upgrades. Gone are the days when a boat could be hauled out on a marine railway and power-washed while still in the cradle. Instead, boatyards are investing in environmentally friendly machinery. Point Judith Marina for example, has installed an enormous filtering system at their haul-out well. Now, as each and every boat is washed, the runoff water is collected below the well, where it is then filtered to remove the bottom paint and chemicals before being recycled for use on the next vessel.

Both local marinas and the EPA have stated that the rules are nothing new. Both have been extremely active in past years, trying to ensure that the boating community is doing everything in its power to preserve the environment. For instance, the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association is proud to say local businesses recycled 94,000 pounds of shrinkwrap last year. No small feat indeed! Local marina owners and managers stress that good practices today can ensure future generations have the ability to enjoy our natural resources for years to come.

The following "Best Practices" list was complied using the EPA's sample booklet:


1. Sand boats only in an area that helps prevent sanding dust from blowing away.
2. Place a non-absorbent tarp, such as a geotextile filter cloth, under the area of the boat to be sanded.
3. Use a vacuum sander only for mechanical sanding or wet sand for dust control.
4. Contain dust from manual sanding if sanding within a tarped area if done outdoors.
5. When done sanding, vacuum dust from the tarp. Next, fold, bag, and put away the tarp.
6. Empty dust out of the vacuum sander and place, with used sandpaper, in a suitable storage area.

Preparing Surface for New Paint:

1. Do not use paper towels for surface preparation.
2. Keep acetone container in a drop pan throughout the process to prevent and contain spills.
3. Position a drip pan under the area to be cleaned.
4. For cleaning, pour acetone onto a rag, wipe surface and repeat until clean. Replace the lid tightly on the acetone container.
5. Dispose of used tags in a proper recepticle.

Painting Surface:

1. Place absorbent floor covering in an area big enough to capture all dripping paint.
2. Clean brushses and rollers properly, taking care to avoid spilling any paint or chemicals.
3. Place absorbent floor covering pieces that are dry and not heavily covered with paint aside for later use.
4. Dispose of paint-contaminated absorbent floor coverings, stir sticks, brushes, rags, etc. properly.

60 Reynolds Street
Wickford, RI 02852
24 Hour Dispatch: 401-295-8711