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Old 25-10-2021, 04:52   #1
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No MSD bringing boat in to US waters

First I would like to thank the members of these forums , both the sweet and salty, for sharing their vast knowledge and experience to the sailing community, and have learned much from the posts here. Having finally found my boat I feel that I can become an active member here as well. So, to the question.
Having navigated offer, surveys, acceptance and now pending closing, I will be bringing the US flagged vessel from the Bahamas to South Florida (Lauderdale area). There is no functioning MSD system on board, with all effluent going to thru hulls directly overboard. I have chosen the Purasan EX system to install, as I will be in the brackish waters of the Chesapeake Bay half the year. Knowing I would be in violation of codes, but planning the install on arrival, will I be given any grace period if/when boarded by the Coast Guard, or should I accept having to pay Bahamas duty and VAT, and import a device before leaving Bahama waters? Some have suggested, I close and tie wrap the through hulls, and carry a cheap port a potty for entry. Please offer your thoughts. Thank you.
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Old 25-10-2021, 05:09   #2
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Re: No MSD bringing boat in to US waters

I'd damn sure ask the enforcement agencies long before I put a query on an Internet forum, if I wanted a clear answer
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Old 25-10-2021, 05:13   #3
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Re: No MSD bringing boat in to US waters

Will do, thank you for responding. I have no desire to run afoul of the authorities, and want to be legal, and in compliance.
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Old 25-10-2021, 05:26   #4
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Re: No MSD bringing boat in to US waters

I have always found authorities very helpful if you state you want to comply and need advice.

How about disabling it when you approach America?

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Old 25-10-2021, 05:29   #5
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Re: No MSD bringing boat in to US waters

Yes disabling I believe would be mandatory
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Old 25-10-2021, 06:41   #6
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Re: No MSD bringing boat in to US waters

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Jonny.
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Old 25-10-2021, 07:20   #7
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Re: No MSD bringing boat in to US waters

Congrats on the new boat!

You would very likely be given grace if you just purchased it and this is the "delivery" trip, but a bit of a risk. To be fully legal, close head thru hulls and remove or secure their handles when you approach the US coast and carry either a port-a-potty or a 5 gallon bucket (with a lid!). Cheap, legal and temporary.

We bought a cheap port-a-potty off Amazon last year and are using that as our legal MSD while making interior modifications to fit holding tanks in our GS50. A bit bulky to ship/carry as luggage, but more comfortable than perching on the rim of a 5 gallon bucket. It works so well that holding tanks have moved down the priority list. You might contact someone local (broker?) to ask if port-a-potties are available there...

I've seen toilet seats made for buckets somewhere (camping supply store?) that would be easier to slip into your luggage and get the bucket locally before you head out. Probably make for fun conversation at the airport security check!
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Old 25-10-2021, 07:22   #8
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Re: No MSD bringing boat in to US waters

The law does not allow for any grace period. As such, I would wire the thru-hulls closed when I got within 3 miles of the coast, and plan on getting a legal system installed at my very first stop.

That said, who knows? You might get lucky and never be boarded by the CG. Or, if you are, you might get someone who is sympathetic. But, personally, I wouldn't count on that. The penalties are pretty severe if you run into someone who decides to enforce the letter of the law.

Another option, that just occurred to me, is that you might buy a cheap porta-potty that you can use once within the three miles.

Whatever you choose, good luck.
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Old 25-10-2021, 07:35   #9
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Re: No MSD bringing boat in to US waters

Thank you all for your responses. I will close, and remove handles, and dedicate one head to the Purasan system, which I will install before departure. As stated, not worth the risk, and I can then enter legally, and make good on updating the system after my arrival in US.
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Old 25-10-2021, 07:42   #10
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Re: No MSD bringing boat in to US waters

Straight from the USCG:

Quote:
No discharge zone.
While operating a vessel in an EPA designated no discharge zone, flow-through devices are only permitted if adequately secured to prevent discharges of all treated and untreated sewage. For example, closing the seacock and padlocking, using a non-releasable wire tie, or removing the seacock handle are considered to be sufficient in most cases. For short voyages, locking the door to the head with a padlock or a door handle key lock is another acceptable method. For vessels that routinely operate in no discharge zones a Type III MSD is recommended. For more information see 33 CFR 159.7 and 40 CFR Part 140.
There s no requirement to have a head. Think of dinghies, for instance, you can spend all day sailing a dinghy with no head available. If you cross into the no discharge zone and can demonstrate to the boarding party that you are moving expeditiously toward a facility that would have a toilet once you get off the boat then you will be OK. If you cross into a no discharge zone and then take three days to make landfall you would have a harder road.
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Old 25-10-2021, 07:45   #11
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Re: No MSD bringing boat in to US waters

For well under $200, you could buy a small type 3 MSD (porta-pottie with a pumpout), or even just a standard porta-pottie.

Congratulations on the new boat and have a fun, safe trip.
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Old 25-10-2021, 07:58   #12
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Re: No MSD bringing boat in to US waters

Again Thank you Heywoodj, and Lake-Effect, I had read the regulation, and am awaiting a response from USCG for their interpretation, and course of action recommended. I have considered these options,but wanted to hear from other's experience. Discontinuing the existing system and carrying a removable device (port a potty) seems reasonable, but I will be interested in the official response as well.
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Old 25-10-2021, 08:03   #13
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Re: No MSD bringing boat in to US waters

To be truly legal in US waters, the direct pump out toilet needs to have the outlet hose disconnected from the thru hull outlet.

Perhaps the simplest, least costly option would be a bucket sawdust toilet. A 5 gallon contractor's bucket (or the 3.5 gal size that will fit inside the existing marine toilet) with a snap on lid, a small length of pool noodle or pipe insulation, 8-13 gallon garbage bags and a 40 pound bag of compressed pine pellets would construct a working "collection" style toilet. This is sanitary, odor free and legal. Cost about $20 maximum.
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Old 25-10-2021, 08:06   #14
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Re: No MSD bringing boat in to US waters

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonny2hulls View Post
Thank you all for your responses. I will close, and remove handles, and dedicate one head to the Purasan system, which I will install before departure. As stated, not worth the risk, and I can then enter legally, and make good on updating the system after my arrival in US.

This is the right approach. Thank you for doing this! It keeps our waters cleaner and avoid more draconian rules applied to all of us.
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Old 25-10-2021, 08:46   #15
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Re: No MSD bringing boat in to US waters

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Originally Posted by Phantom Jim View Post
To be truly legal in US waters, the direct pump out toilet needs to have the outlet hose disconnected from the thru hull outlet.
That is simply incorrect. As stated just a couple posts above "closing the seacock and padlocking, using a non-releasable wire tie, or removing the seacock handle are considered to be sufficient in most cases. For short voyages, locking the door to the head with a padlock or a door handle key lock is another acceptable method." There is absolutely no need to disconnect the outlet hose from the thru hull outlet unless it is impractical for you to use any of the other methods listed.
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