This revised notice summarizes Rhode Island's new No-Discharge
Compliance Program, which took effect on June 1, 2006 after being
modified by several important legislative changes. This notice updates
and replaces prior notices on the program issued over the past year.
Rhode Island's new No-Discharge Rules (Revised June, 2006)
Purpose of the Program
program is aimed at bolstering compliance with Rhode Island's
No-Discharge Law by ensuring that all boaters have taken the steps
necessary to prevent overboard discharges of sewage when operating or
moored in Rhode Island waters.
The program applies to all boats with permanently installed marine toilets.
There are three categories of boats that are exempt from the program:
1. Boats with self-contained port-a-potties, or no toilet at all.
Boats already subject to mandatory U.S. Coast Guard inspection, as
demonstrated by a valid USCG-issued certificate of inspection.
3. Transient boats that are operated or moored in RI waters for less than 30 days.
boats subject to the program must obtain and display a decal issued by
an authorized Certification Agent. Decals are issued after an
inspection to verify that the boat is in compliance with RI's
No-Discharge Law. All decals are valid for a period of four years.
program has been operational since April 2006 and formally took effect
on June 1, 2006. Yet, persuant to one of the recent legislative
changes, the penalty and enforcement provisions of the program will not
take effect until June 1, 2007. Thus, all boats subject to the program
now have until June 1, 2007 to get inspected. Notwithstanding this new
deadline, all boaters are strongly encouraged to get their inspections
done during the current boating season. Those choosing to wait until
next spring may have to contend with workload delays during the busiest
time of the year for marinas, harbormasters, and other certification
agents. After June 1, 2007, any boat subject to the program that fails
to display a decal may be subject to enforcement action, including a
fine of up to $100.
agents may charge up to $35 per boat for each inspection and decal. For
boats with more than one marine toilet, agents may charge up to $25 for
each additional toilet.
inspection process is essentially twofold: determining that each boat
with a marine toilet has a proper MSD, and determining that the MSD is
properly configured and/or secured.
Type of MSD - Every boat that has a permanently installed marine toilet
must have a Type I, Type II, or Type III Marine Sanitation Device (MSD).
Status of MSD - Boats that have a Type III MSD (i.e., holding tank) and
no through-hull fitting that would allow the overboard discharge of
sewage are automatically in compliance with RI's No-Discharge law. Such
boats, upon inspection, are issued a green decal. Boats that have a
Type I or Type II MSD, or a Type III MSD with a through-hull fitting
that would allow the overboard discharge of sewage, must have their
MSDs properly secured and/or configured to prevent a discharge whenever
the boat is moored or operating in RI waters. Such boats, upon
inspection, are issued a yellow decal.
Obtaining an Inspection
Inspections must be perormed by an authorized certification agent. A lost of all such agents is available on DEM's website.
delayed penalty and enforcement provisions, and the exemption
categories, relate solely to the inspection program. All boats,
including those that are exempt from the inspection program, are
subject to the State's No-Discharge Law - in effect since 1998 -
whenever they are in RI waters. As such, no boat, under any
circumstances, is allowed to discharge boat sewage from any source into
RI waters, irrespective of the provisions of the new inspection program.
an option, any boats falling under any of the three exemption
categories m ay still get inspected and obtain a decal if the owner or
operator wishes to do so. So, for example, a boat with a self contained
port-a-poty can obtain a (green) decal, showing that it is in
compliance with the State's No-Discharge Law, even though it is not
subject to the decal requirement.
may deny mooring permits for boats that have not been inspected, but
they are under no obligation to do so. It is up to each city and town
to decide how they want to handle this issue; it is no longer a state
Boaters are not required to maintain pump-out records. That former provision has been deleted from the program.