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Springtime greening: Earth Day tips for boaters

Video: How to use a pumpout

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[April 22, 2014]  ANNAPOLIS, Md. About 70 percent of the Earth is covered by water and that's where you'll find recreational boaters spending their time. With Earth Day's arrival on April 22, what can boaters do to help keep the waters they enjoy clean and healthy? Here are three easy tips from the BoatUS Foundation that any boater can do:

Springtime greening: When you uncover the boat this spring, recycle your shrink wrap. If your marina does not have a recycling program, have them check, where they can learn about starting one, courtesy of "Dr. Shrink." Be sure to give your marina any discarded fluids such as engine oil to recycle. However, always label used oil and never simply leave it in a location unattended. Once the contents cannot be confirmed, discarded fluids fall into the "orphan" category of hazardous waste, will not be recycled and won't make your marina very happy.

Change your refueling habits: If you sometimes seem to accidentally get a little fuel in the water during refueling, try some different ways to refuel, such as always having an absorbent pad, a "donut" or "bib" for the fuel nozzle (to soak up back-splashes), before you start the pump. Learn by listening to changing sound coming from the fuel vent when your fuel tank is nearly full; then stop refueling. It's OK to leave a little air at the top of the tank. Ninety percent full is best and will help to prevent a rough sea or expansion from causing any fuel to exit the vent. Fueling basics, including smart refueling tips, are available at

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Potty training: When you've got to go, you've got to go. We all know it is illegal and just downright gross to discharge untreated sewage within 3 miles of shore. If your boat has a "head" or toilet facility, ensure that the Y-valve is closed to prevent any overboard discharge, and learn how to use a pumpout station by watching the short video at If you have an onboard treatment device, know the location of any "no discharge zones" where you boat, as even a treated discharge is not allowed in these areas.

[Text from file received from BoatUS]

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