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Old 12-12-2010, 19:08   #1
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Moorings, Pumpouts, and 'No Discharge' in Georgetown, Exuma

The prior thread is closed, I see, so I'll try to start one more objectively, particularly since I'm here, now, and have been delivered a pamphlet.

However, I'll have to come back for that, as I'm off to a Choir production that's eagerly awaited every year, now, as I'm in it, rather than at 6 when it will happen...

However, a quick note:

Moorings (only in Gaviotta Bay next to Chat'n'Chill) are 15/night, 12/night per week, or 10/night per month.

Pumpout boat's running 2x, soon to be 3x, then 5x weekly, based on demand.

Brochure states all EHarbour now a no discharge zone. Nobody's checking.

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Old 12-12-2010, 20:32   #2
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So, the pumpout boat comes alongside to deliver a brochure.

They claim to be motoring up to Emerald Bay for discharge, or, in rough weather, to a truck which will take it up there.

The brochure proclaims all of Elizabet Harbour to be a no-discharge zone, but I've not been able to come up with any authority which has made that a reality. Gord's link in the closed thread may address that? - I've not had the connectivity to pursue it.

However, the brochure has the official logo of the Bahamas on it, and I presume one may not use that without some official permission. They provide a link, ehmgmt.wordpress.com "for more information. I have likewise yet to pursue that. It claims to be a blog. The brochure also suggests visiting the tourism office or the Port Office at the Government Dock as part of the "for more information" block, so it is suggestive of having some official weight behind it.

The 15 moorings in Gaviotta Bay are as yet unoccupied. With literally hundreds of possibilities for anchoring in the area (there have been as many as 500 boats in the Georgetown area in past years, but the last couple have had only in the low 3 to high 200 range), aside from someone who just doesn't want to bother with anchoring, and wants to be right next to the blaring music from 11-7 at Chat'n'Chill, and just a tiny bit closer to St. Francis, and doesn't mind the freight, perhaps there will be some as the season intensifies.

They're limited to 45 feet, and are not hurricane proof, as they are requiring those on them to leave if weather is severe. The area in which they were placed is one which used to have lots of private moorings (boaters placing their own, or perhaps some from St. Francis; those on a St. Francis mooring got free access to their on-again, off-again WiFi).

As mentioned in the closed thread, there was a lot of conversation on the demonstration project (a demonstration project, were it in the US, would be the government throwing money at lots of trials to see if anything worth making into a program developed from the differing approaches by the different contractors) last year.

By the time cruisers got wind of it, it was already fiat. "The EHMP is a public-private partnership of Bahamian Government agencies and local businesses working to provide improved facilities for the yachting community and to protect the beautiful marine environment of Elizabeth Harbour." (from the brochure)

At the time of the discussions last year, it was stated that the moorings would be only in Kidds Cove; obviously they changed their mind about that. Cruisers signed an official position statement which was politically correct. That is, despite many of the sentiments seen in the closed thread of anger and upset and commitments to avoid Georgetown, it's impossible to present a good face to officialdom without supporting a pumpout, never before possible.

Many cruisers here with sufficient tanks do, indeed, store their waste and take it outside for disposal. However, I'd venture a guess that's a very small sample of the total here.

That said, the "season" is only a couple of months. I had to take it upon myself to start the cruisers' net when I arrived as nobody was doing it before today, and it had ended when we returned last spring from the Jumentos. Otherwise, you'll find very few boats here - such as, in all of the anchorages put together, less than 10 in the summer.

As such, the impact of lots of boats in the harbor is very limited in time. As this is a tidal flow area, it gets flushed several times a day, and, speaking for myself, when we were anchored right in the thick of it off Volleyball beach in the heat of the season the last couple of years, neither of us would hesitate to swim to shore, or go swimming in general.

Water here is generally crystal clear, and of no issue to, for example, watermakers.

So, whether or not there will be some enforcement of "no discharge" (nothing is mentioned WRT class of treatment possibilities, so it has the overtones of literally nothing, grey water included) remains to be seen. Certainly, at this stage, with about 50 boats present, there has been no indication of it, nor any on-air (during the net) discussion of local officials warning of same.

So, that's the realities on the ground at the moment. Not cheap, but not terribly expensive, courtesy only (not for protection) moorings, and pumpouts, available at a separate cost ($10 up to 20 gallons - do the math, that's the same as charged for fresh water in many places in the Bahamas - with a $0.50 per gallon charge over that). Note that the pumout boat is nothing more than a skiff with a flat top on it and some sort of pumping mechanism; it doesn't have the capacity to do more than one or two before it has to go off to be emptied. In fact, when they were starting up last year, they made it sound like their practical limit was 40 gallons, though my eyeball calculation has it that it should hold several hundred gallons (perhaps a loading issue?).

As to whether Georgetown will prove to be an unfriendly place for the usual casual, cheap, cruiser in the future remains to be seen. However, there's already a bit of a movement to Long Island by long-time GT visitors, not only to get away from the above discussion, but to leave the "harbor Nazis" - as Lydia terms them (folks who have been coming here for a long time and feel they can dictate what happens, what place you can anchor because someone left where you're heading to throw your anchor, and they'll be back in a week, and other dictatorial stances) - but that's hardly the only place where one may freely move about (responsibly), have the beauty and isolation of the Bahamas at your bow and stern, and, if you want it, the company of other cruisers.

Probably the ones which would be most put out by feeling they'd have to leave are the ones who get off on the myriad of activities the regulars put together during the high season - characterized as day camp for seniors :{))

I'll be subscribed to this thread, of course, so I should be able to see any questions which may arise, but, absent some other links which have more info (see above about why I've not been to them yet), that's pretty much the picture here.

L8R

Skip, lying Kidds Cove Georgetown Exuma Bahamas
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Old 13-12-2010, 09:02   #3
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Skip,

Thanks for keeping us apprised of the reality on the ground (so to speak).
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Old 13-12-2010, 21:46   #4
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I finally got the ehmgmt link to open.

From their FAQ page:

"Is pumping out required by law in Elizabeth Harbour?

It is illegal to dump sewage in the coastal waters of The Bahamas. Although, there is no specific law applicable to boat sewage discharge, the Environmental Health Services Act (Chapter 232) clearly states that direct discharge is an illegal activity and persons guilty of an offence may be fined up to $1000.00. Therefore, while in Elizabeth Harbour, you are required to use your holding tank.(BOLDING THEIRS) If you do not want to leave the harbour and travel offshore to pumpout, the pumpout service is a convenient way to empty your holding tank without breaking the law and harming the environment."

Mooring System | Elizabeth Harbour Management shows why they are not approved for severe weather or seas approaching 4' - for myself, I don't believe I'd want to be on that mooring in anything approaching a gale...

L8R

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Old 14-12-2010, 05:44   #5
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Not clear if this ban includes treated discharge from Lectrasans?

Thnx
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Old 14-12-2010, 08:35   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gettinthere View Post
Skip

Not clear if this ban includes treated discharge from Lectrasans?

Thnx
Technically, there is no ban. The law is silent in the specifics of boats, but ehmgmt has taken the position that anything which puts sewage directly into coastal waters fits the statute quoted.

As there are no specifics (yet - that may come) addressing boats, the class of treatment is also unaddressed.

Further, I didn't find (perhaps Gord, with his superior searching skills, could do better) any reference to enforcement measures.

In the US, as I'm sure you know, the CG can come aboard, and there is a presumption of guilt which, if you have an open - or could MAKE it open without removing a lock - seacock connected to your head, you're fined. If they aren't sure, they'll put dye in your head and pump it out; if it shows up in the water, regardless of whether you've just entered the waters in question from a large passage and have yet to lock off your discharge, or have actually used the head, you're guilty.

So far as I know, there are no such enforcement mechanisms in place, BICBW. Certainly, the FAQ cited is the only info available from the Elizabeth Harbour area.

It's like the old joke:

Summer cottage on a little lake, the guy goes out fishing in the morning in his rowboat. Comes back in, breakfast with wife, who then rows out into the middle to read, with the fishing gear still in the boat.

Game warden comes up and demands a fishing license. Lady sez "I don't have one." Warden sez "I'm writing you a ticket."

"What for? I'm not fishing. I'm reading."

"It doesn't matter. You have all the means and ability to do so."

Lady sez "Well, if that's how it goes, I guess you can write me a ticket. However, when I row to shore, I'm filing a rape complaint against you with the police."

"What for???? I haven't so much as touched you."

"I haven't so much as touched the fishing equipment either - but you certainly have the size advantage and equipment to fulfill the rape. If you can give me a ticket for having equipment to fish, it's only fair!"

:{))

L8R

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Old 14-12-2010, 08:52   #7
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I put a composting head in a month ago. Full time liveaboards and we were out in some local islands for a couple of weeks as well; worked really well. It's been really nice transcending the pump out issue.
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Old 14-12-2010, 09:20   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skipgundlach View Post
I finally got the ehmgmt link to open.

Mooring System | Elizabeth Harbour Management shows why they are not approved for severe weather or seas approaching 4' - for myself, I don't believe I'd want to be on that mooring in anything approaching a gale...
My experience with these moorings is that there is no method of checking them to see if they are still in good shape. The rod that attaches to the "manta" plate is subject to metal fatague. I was in Sampson Cay when one broke during a storm. We found the boat many miles away. Sampson Cay didn't even want to refund the mooring fee - "Not their mooring - Just collecting the funds for the park."
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Old 22-03-2011, 17:15   #9
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Re: Moorings, Pumpouts, and 'No Discharge' in Georgetown, Exuma

A wastewater treatment plant was recently commissioned in Georgetown to deal with, among other things, the issue of cruising yacht waste discharge. When possible, please do you part to protect Elizabeth Harbour, and utilize the services of the pumpout boat. The article states that a pumpout is $10.


Waste water processing plant commissioned in Exuma
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