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Old 25-02-2018, 15:42   #1
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How do I avoid "discharging oil"?

A naive reading of the boating laws suggests that it is "illegal" to discharge oil into US waterways, but simple logic dictates that every single boat over about 25 feet in length discharges oil.

For example, residual oil and other chemicals used on a boat will collect in the bilge, then as soon as somebody takes a shower, the bilge will fill with soapy water and discharge. Therefore, the boat will be pouring soapy water mixed with oil and other chemicals into the water.

What is the story on this? Everybody just knows this and ignores the law and it goes unenforced unless the oil discharge is large?
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Old 25-02-2018, 15:53   #2
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Re: How do I avoid "discharging oil"?

Keep your bilge clean, and there'll be no oil in your bilge. All spills should be wiped up immediately.
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Old 25-02-2018, 15:56   #3
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Re: How do I avoid "discharging oil"?

Why is your gray water going in the bilge?
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Old 25-02-2018, 15:59   #4
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Re: How do I avoid "discharging oil"?

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Originally Posted by DotDun View Post
Why is your gray water going in the bilge?
Does he even have a boat? Seems all of his previous posts are theorising
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Old 25-02-2018, 16:32   #5
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Re: How do I avoid "discharging oil"?

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Does he even have a boat? Seems all of his previous posts are theorising
Pretty sure he stated he is currently looking at a boat. My take is that he is reading up on ownership and has questions.
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Old 25-02-2018, 16:37   #6
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Re: How do I avoid "discharging oil"?

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Pretty sure he stated he is currently looking at a boat. My take is that he is reading up on ownership and has questions.
If you don't have one and don't know, asking is one way to learn.
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Old 25-02-2018, 16:42   #7
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Re: How do I avoid "discharging oil"?

https://moxietraining.com/products/m...s-oildischarge

These absorption products help clean any oil from your bilge water if it happens. They are available at most marine suppliers.
https://www.absorbentsonline.com/bilge.htm

The EPA,CG & Harbor Authorities take even a tiny oil spill very seriously.
It is to the point where you run a risk just by having a auto bilge pump.

Len
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Old 25-02-2018, 16:43   #8
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Re: How do I avoid "discharging oil"?

I do not have a boat. I am getting a boat and trying to anticipate problems.
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Old 25-02-2018, 16:44   #9
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Re: How do I avoid "discharging oil"?

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Originally Posted by jsc7 View Post
A naive reading of the boating laws suggests that it is "illegal" to discharge oil into US waterways, but simple logic dictates that every single boat over about 25 feet in length discharges oil.

For example, residual oil and other chemicals used on a boat will collect in the bilge, then as soon as somebody takes a shower, the bilge will fill with soapy water and discharge. Therefore, the boat will be pouring soapy water mixed with oil and other chemicals into the water.

What is the story on this? Everybody just knows this and ignores the law and it goes unenforced unless the oil discharge is large?

While conducting your free Vessel Safety Check, the professionals at the U.S. Power Squadron will be able to clear up any confusion:


I Want a Vessel Safety Check!

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Old 25-02-2018, 16:49   #10
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Re: How do I avoid "discharging oil"?

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I do not have a boat. I am getting a boat and trying to anticipate problems.
Shower (gray) water does not go in the bilge, if it's below the waterline, it goes to a sump and is pumped out separately from the bilge pumps. Above the waterline, it's plumbed straight out.

And, keep the bilge clean (as possible). There is typically a well under an engine to contain oil so it never gets to the bilge.
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Old 25-02-2018, 16:54   #11
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Re: How do I avoid "discharging oil"?

It depends on the type of oil. cooking oil or oils from your own body is legal to discharge.

What does length have to do with it?

I have seen dingys that discharge oil. My own boat is 27ft, and the coast guard informed me that I do not need the oil discharge placard.

I also watched a grumpy old man pump the oil from his bilge on a 25ft boat. I told the guy it was not good to the environment. He replied "**** the environment" and then proceeded to tell me why he hates seals.
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Old 25-02-2018, 16:55   #12
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How do I avoid "discharging oil"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DotDun
Shower (gray) water does not go in the bilge, if it's below the waterline, it goes to a sump and is pumped out separately from the bilge pumps. Above the waterline, it's plumbed straight out.



And, keep the bilge clean (as possible). There is typically a well under an engine to contain oil so it never gets to the bilge.

Depends on the boat. My shower drains to the bilge. And there is no well under the engine. If my engine was drippy (which it fortunately is not), and I used the on board shower (which I do not), I would be pumping a bit of oil overboard, just like the OP suggests.
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Old 25-02-2018, 17:26   #13
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Re: How do I avoid "discharging oil"?

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Depends on the boat. My shower drains to the bilge. And there is no well under the engine. If my engine was drippy (which it fortunately is not), and I used the on board shower (which I do not), I would be pumping a bit of oil overboard, just like the OP suggests.
Fix your boat.
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Old 25-02-2018, 17:26   #14
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Re: How do I avoid "discharging oil"?

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Originally Posted by jsc7 View Post
I do not have a boat. I am getting a boat and trying to anticipate problems.
Fair enough! My humble suggestion would be to stop worrying about what might be, could be or might happen and find a couple of boats that suit your anticipated use, thoroughly inspect them and if one ticks all or most of the boxes, get it surveyed and go from there. You may well find that much of what appears to worry you is in fact a nonsense and the enjoyment of time on the water and learning your new to you boat is actually extremely satisfying.
Or that is how I found the experience.
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Old 25-02-2018, 17:44   #15
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Re: How do I avoid "discharging oil"?

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Fix your boat.


Nothing to fix.
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