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Old 05-04-2016, 08:41   #16
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Re: "Y" Valves and locks

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Most great lakes boats (I'm Lake Ontario) just aren't plumbed with Y valves or overboard discharge. Head just connects straight to the holding tank and the holding tank is emptied via a Deck fitting. there's been no other way for 40 years! pump outs are everywhere. I haven't run into a marina that didn't have the ability to empty a holding tank.
Pump outs on the ontatrio side of the lake are between $20 - $30. Pump outs on the US side are free - $2.00

I've surveyed thousands of boats in the Great Lakes (mostly Lake Ontario) and find that 50 - 60% of sailboats and about 2% of powerboats are actively dumping in the Lake (Ican;t account for the difference). I am at a yacht club with 400 boats and the vast majority are never seen at the "free" pumpout.

I am particularly sensitive about this issue because as a liveaboard I here from the yachties/racers and club jacket wearing types blane liveaboards for this all the time. Take for example the LO300 mile race .... 6-8 guys and 8 gallons of chilli. six cases of beer and four bottles of rum on a 3 day non-stop race. You think they put it in baggies ?

How about the many 40-50 foot Beneteaus with 8 gallon holding tanks and a whole family onboard for a weekend .... we got a whole bunch of those I've never seen at the pumpout and I've been here for 20 years.
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Old 05-04-2016, 08:47   #17
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Re: "Y" Valves and locks

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Interesting. Our small boat was built in the lakes 30 years ago. Toilet to holding tank, as you say, but then to a Y valve for pump out or discharge.

There a lot of "loopers" going through the lakes and they mostly will have provisions for direct discharge, I think?

I ask because I'll be going up the Erie Canal and down the St Lawrence this summer.
might be a difference between American and Canadian builders maybe? Lots of people add it but. generally from my experience, if it was built for use in the great lakes and after 1976. then by default it wasn't installed with a Y valve as the law doesn't allow it (technically)
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Old 05-04-2016, 09:20   #18
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Re: "Y" Valves and locks

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In Florida, at least, they are VERY particular about doing it to the letter. They are not friendly and not lenient. I'm here to tell you . . . They are as efficient and ruthless as any storm troopers ever were.

Is it "Barnie Fife" syndrome? Maybe -- but in that case, it's universal down there.

After half a dozen fines, and in the last case despite cable ties (our arguments that this is supposed to be acceptable fell on deaf ears -- "You can fight it in court if you like; have a nice day"), we finally installed a Lectra San and permanently isolated and closed the direct discharge. Note that we were never caught with the valve open -- just "not properly secured"; once there was even a padlock on it but the key was in my pocket, which I stupidly admitted . . .


That brought relief from the dreaded Potty Police, and they didn't notice or care during the couple of years the device was not working . . .
having heard of a local boat being fined $400 when returning from way offshore and forgot to peplace the cable ties I was fairly paranoid. Our toilet goes via a y valve to the holding tank or overboard direct but is locked with a tie in the holding tank position. however the holding tank is a vrtical one and gravity drains overboard when the overboard thru hull is opened. To comply we have extra cable ties on the overboard thru hull too but also added hasps with locks to the heads lockers where access is needed to get to the Y valve and overboard thru hulls. The locks are actually a combination type and a sign is on the doors saying ' overboard discharge is not permitted, access code only available from the captain'. I did this because removing and replacing the cable ties in any seaway would be very difficult for me ( 3 years after a stroke and in a confined space on the floor of a heeling/pitching boat) so hoping that securing the locker doors with a lock in that circumstance would be an acceptable solution since i read somewhere that locking the heads door was accepted. We had, ie requested, a voluntary coastguard inspection after installing our system and I explained the logic which was accepted and we got our 'pass' . That was just one individual CG person of course and the Jobsworth that fine a boat $400 locally was actually a marine Sherriff not USCG so who knows. BTW I did hear the fine was reduced after the owner's appeal to the Sherriff's office You cannot legislate for dumb and Flori-duh does dumb very well. I hope never to have my method tested and that the CG sticker displayed will help get us a simple wave by, by any LE that might otherwise take an interest. We have a free in-slip pump out service at our home marina so are unlikely to fall foul unless maybe returning from the islands sometime and forgetful of the need to redo all ties but the access locker door locks will be in place anyways.

When we lived on a motor cruiser here too for a year, it had 2 heads and one holding tank. The holding tank macerator pump had a keyswitch installed by us to prevent accidental discharge overboard because the thru hull shut off was mounted in a very inaccessible spot behind a huge engine exhaust waterlift Again the boat had passed a voluntary USCG inspection without comment.

Oh and there is a small bucket handy in the cockpit on a line, normally use to hold the 'fish' zinc anode we hang over the side when in our slip. Any secondary use is purely speculative
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Old 05-04-2016, 10:38   #19
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Re: "Y" Valves and locks

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We had, ie requested, a voluntary coastguard inspection after installing our system and I explained the logic which was accepted and we got our 'pass' . That was just one individual CG person of course
I assume you mean Coast Guard Auxiliary. As far as I know, the regular CG doesn't do voluntary inspections.

Although most CG Aux and Power Squadron examiners are very competent, and may even know the local LE practices, that's not guaranteed. For years the old-times would fuss over the "Y" valve, but couldn't comprehend a system where the head pumps directly to the holding tank, and overboard discharge is via macerator from there. Some newer examiners are only familiar with the job aid they're given, not the actual CFRs.

And even if your CG Aux or PS examiner knows the regs inside and out, it's very possible that the boarding officer you get knows only what he/she has been taught. And we know how poor that training can be.

I've seriously thought about installing a do-nothing Y valve is a prominent location and putting a big padlock on it. While I've never had the problem, I've heard so many horror stories I'd rather give the boarding officer what they want than have to argue the finer points of the law in court.
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Old 05-04-2016, 11:49   #20
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Re: "Y" Valves and locks

use a Dremel with a extension. If you can get your hand in there to place the lock, you can fit a Dremel cutting disc in there as well. Faster than sawing.
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Old 05-04-2016, 12:12   #21
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Re: "Y" Valves and locks

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I assume you mean Coast Guard Auxiliary. As far as I know, the regular CG doesn't do voluntary inspections.

Although most CG Aux and Power Squadron examiners are very competent, and may even know the local LE practices, that's not guaranteed. For years the old-times would fuss over the "Y" valve, but couldn't comprehend a system where the head pumps directly to the holding tank, and overboard discharge is via macerator from there. Some newer examiners are only familiar with the job aid they're given, not the actual CFRs.

And even if your CG Aux or PS examiner knows the regs inside and out, it's very possible that the boarding officer you get knows only what he/she has been taught. And we know how poor that training can be.

I've seriously thought about installing a do-nothing Y valve is a prominent location and putting a big padlock on it. While I've never had the problem, I've heard so many horror stories I'd rather give the boarding officer what they want than have to argue the finer points of the law in court.
I called the number advertised in our marina and yes it was a CG auxiliary that came to do our inspection, but was a retired CG anyway.

The whole process it seems is hit and miss at best and the stink when the local land stuff is released, whether accidentally or deliberately I know not, advertising it's presence as it does on occasion makes it even crazier to comprehend. But we will 99% of the time only ever need to empty the tank when back in our home slip with the 'free' service and make a note to always remember to re-instate all temporary removed cable tie locks before evenraising the anchor and setting off homeward bound from the islands, just in case weather conditions make it a difficult task later. Also will have our AIS TX turned off when arriving back inshore too, no point in advertising ourselves as a waypoint to the latest junior recruits.
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Old 05-04-2016, 12:32   #22
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Re: "Y" Valves and locks

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Originally Posted by Robin3 View Post
I called the number advertised in our marina and yes it was a CG auxiliary that came to do our inspection, but was a retired CG anyway.

The whole process it seems is hit and miss at best and the stink when the local land stuff is released, whether accidentally or deliberately I know not, advertising it's presence as it does on occasion makes it even crazier to comprehend. But we will 99% of the time only ever need to empty the tank when back in our home slip with the 'free' service and make a note to always remember to re-instate all temporary removed cable tie locks before evenraising the anchor and setting off homeward bound from the islands, just in case weather conditions make it a difficult task later. Also will have our AIS TX turned off when arriving back inshore too, no point in advertising ourselves as a waypoint to the latest junior recruits.
If you plan on staying there much longer, you might consider installing a Lectra San. Saves an immense amount of hassle.
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Old 05-04-2016, 14:15   #23
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Re: "Y" Valves and locks

Note that the Act he cited is a CANADIAN regulation. The State of NY has a similar one for Lake Champlain, but ONLY Champlain, not all the Great Lakes.--which, btw, have been NDZs in both US and Canadian waters since before the CWA of 1978 established any marine sanitation regulations in the US.

That Canadian reg and the Champlain reg are no different from the regulations some states have applied on their inland intrastate lakes (lakes entirely within a state's borders that have no access to any INTERstate waters, all of which are NDZ under federal law)....their thinking being that since there's no possible way short of putting the boat on a truck to take it offshore beyond 3 miles, any plumbing that provides the means to dump a tank could only be used illegally. It's fairly strictly enforced on those inland lakes...I have no idea how strictly it's enforced on Champlain. Because Champlain is an interstate navigable waterway, I question whether it could even stand up to a court challenge, at least when it comes transient vessels.
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Old 05-04-2016, 14:51   #24
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Re: "Y" Valves and locks

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They are as efficient and ruthless as any storm troopers ever were.
Is their aim and field of vision as bad?
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Old 05-04-2016, 15:23   #25
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Re: "Y" Valves and locks

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Originally Posted by boatpoker View Post
Pump outs on the ontatrio side of the lake are between $20 - $30. Pump outs on the US side are free - $2.00

I've surveyed thousands of boats in the Great Lakes (mostly Lake Ontario) and find that 50 - 60% of sailboats and about 2% of powerboats are actively dumping in the Lake (Ican;t account for the difference). I am at a yacht club with 400 boats and the vast majority are never seen at the "free" pumpout.

I am particularly sensitive about this issue because as a liveaboard I here from the yachties/racers and club jacket wearing types blane liveaboards for this all the time. Take for example the LO300 mile race .... 6-8 guys and 8 gallons of chilli. six cases of beer and four bottles of rum on a 3 day non-stop race. You think they put it in baggies ?

How about the many 40-50 foot Beneteaus with 8 gallon holding tanks and a whole family onboard for a weekend .... we got a whole bunch of those I've never seen at the pumpout and I've been here for 20 years.

That's definitely not my experience on Lake Ontario. I've had the opposite experence! Most boaters I've run into tend to use the marina facilities instead of filling their tanks, but I've yet to run into anyone who is setup to dump overboard that is planning on staying on the Lakes. people just generally don't do that as we're all aware of the steep fines for getting caught!
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Old 05-04-2016, 19:37   #26
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Re: "Y" Valves and locks

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
If you plan on staying there much longer, you might consider installing a Lectra San. Saves an immense amount of hassle.
I have neither space nor finances to over build what already exists to allow me to use the on board facilities within the law, as in no overboard discharge where such discharge is not permitted. All else would be engineered merely as a preventative to getting a wrongful ticket from an over enthusiastic LEO. I hope not to fall foul of such misplaced enthusiasm but e'nuff is e'nuff.
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Old 05-04-2016, 20:04   #27
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Re: "Y" Valves and locks

To me this seems like a moving target. Every year I' have the CG Aux do their voluntary "inspection". The first year they accepted my removing the Y-valve handle. The next year, they wanted the seacocks secured or the handles removed. Since I didn't have a way to secure them closed, I had to remove their handles. This was a bit of a problem because the Forespar marelon seacocks have an internal o-ring and the handle is part of the seal). Last year I drilled small holes in the handles and tied them closed with wire-tie. I got into an argument regarding the macerator seacock/thruhull. It didn't seem to matter that the holding tank does not discharge without running the pump, with the switch in the nav-station.

If I do the inspection again, I'm going to (1) remove the handle from the Y-Valve and tie the seacock handles together with wire-ties. Perhaps I should put tape over the macerator pump switch with a big warning !

Also, my thruhull seacocks are behind a cabinet door. I think I could put a lock on the door and that would satisfy the regs too.
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Old 06-04-2016, 06:07   #28
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Re: "Y" Valves and locks

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To me this seems like a moving target. Every year I' have the CG Aux do their voluntary "inspection". The first year they accepted my removing the Y-valve handle. The next year, they wanted the seacocks secured or the handles removed. Since I didn't have a way to secure them closed, I had to remove their handles. This was a bit of a problem because the Forespar marelon seacocks have an internal o-ring and the handle is part of the seal). Last year I drilled small holes in the handles and tied them closed with wire-tie. I got into an argument regarding the macerator seacock/thruhull. It didn't seem to matter that the holding tank does not discharge without running the pump, with the switch in the nav-station.

If I do the inspection again, I'm going to (1) remove the handle from the Y-Valve and tie the seacock handles together with wire-ties. Perhaps I should put tape over the macerator pump switch with a big warning !

Also, my thruhull seacocks are behind a cabinet door. I think I could put a lock on the door and that would satisfy the regs too.
That was my hope also as mentioned in an earlier reply, together with signage stating only the captain has access into that space.


When we lived on a motor yacht we replaced the macerator switch with a keyed switch . Our current boat, back to sail, has a gravity drain holding tank and no macerator pump.

we inherited this boat with the outlet through hulls having their handles removed and guess whatthe P.O had 'lost them somewhere and 'just swap a handle over from elsewhere'. I never did find the missing handles and the boat was built in France, so USA handles did not fit. I got very lucky in having a friend in the UK send me his old EORopean thru hulls after his replacing them all in his refit for a RTW and fortunately the handles from those fitted our missing ones perfectly. this was the start of my rethink culminating in both cable tied valves and locked access doors. The ties are the first line of defence but the locked access doors are the backup that can be quickly locked in the event conditions at sea are not conducive to my re-installing the ties on re-entering the 3 mile zone from being well offshore.

This whole thing is like playing Russian roulette, not simply in correctly complying with the rules as written or even their good intention, but in getting stopped by an over zealous 'man with badge and attitude'
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Old 06-04-2016, 08:49   #29
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Re: "Y" Valves and locks

Just came back from a weekend sailing with a friend in the Keys. I noticed that since my last visit he changed his method of securing the discharge valve from plastic ties to a screw down bolt. As to my question why he said that he kept running out of ties (he goes outside the no discharge area often and opens it up then) so he switched to the bolt down arrangement. He was already boarded a few times by both local LE and CG and it passed w/o any problem.

What he did was fiberglass a piece of wood with a built-in nut under the valve handle and drilled a hole in the handle (or it was there) to take a regular 3/8"(?) bolt. I was surprised that it would pass but he swears by it.
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Old 14-04-2016, 16:20   #30
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Re: "Y" Valves and locks

Look out for the dye packet in the head as well. They put dye in and flush. If dye appears outside the hull, you're done.


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