Originally Posted by S/V Illusion
The rules are pretty clear in Florida:
“If you have a recreational vessel with installed toilet facilities, it must have an operable, USCG–certified marine sanitation device (MSD) on board.
All vessels 26 feet or more in length that have an enclosed cabin
with sleeping facilities, must be equipped with a toilet if on Florida state waters.”
Any valve allowing direct discharge must be “secured”.
The Federal Clean Water Act would allow the use of porta potties for boats which do not have an installed toilet, in lieu of a certified marine sanitation device.
The State of Florida has its own sanitation laws which also must be complied with.
If you have a recreational vessel with installed toilet facilities, it must have an operable, USCG–certified marine sanitation device (MSD) on board.
I would recommend securing the head or the installed toilet, e.g., seal the Y value shut and / or clamp the toilet seat cover so that the bowl is not accessible, or lock the door to the head. You might be able to fit the porta pottie in your shower
stall, depending on the configuration. Be sure to securely stabilize the porta potty, when the tip over they can make a horrendous mess.
All vessels 26 feet or more in length that have an enclosed cabin with sleeping facilities, must be equipped with a toilet if on Florida state waters.
On a vessel other than a houseboat, the toilet may be portable or a permanently installed toilet properly attached to an MSD.
Type III MSD
Consists of holding tanks
or portable toilets. Type III MSDs have the least effect on the environment
since the waste is to be discharged on shore into a local sewage treatment facility.
*There may be a Y valve that directs untreated waste material for discharge or directs waste material for treatment prior to discharge. The Y valve must be secured to direct waste to the MSD at all times within Florida waters (three miles or the edge of the Gulf Stream
, whichever is greater, off the Atlantic coast or nine miles off the Gulf of Mexico
Which crafts are required by Florida Statute 327.53 to have a working toilet on board when in state waters?
Any vessel 26 feet or longer with an enclosed cabin and berthing facilities.
Any houseboat, defined as a vessel used primarily as a residence and not moved for 21 out of 30 days in a county of this state.
Any floating structure with enclosed living space with berthing facilities or work
space with public access.
What are the coastal boundaries for waters in Florida?
Coastal boundary limits are nine nautical miles on the Gulf and three miles on the Atlantic Ocean
What are marine sanitation devices?
A marine sanitation device (MSD) is any equipment
on board a vessel, other than a toilet, which is designed to receive, retain, treat or discharge sewage and any process to treat such sewage (Florida Statute 327.53).
MSD TYPE 1: Flow-through device that treats sewage by chemical or thermal means
MSD TYPE 2: Device that treats the sewage by biological means and uses bacteria
MSD TYPE 3: Holds the sewage. Prevents direct overboard discharge or sewage
How do you tell if an MSD is U.S. Coast Guard approved?
For Type I or Type II a label is affixed to the device or there is a letter or document on board for Type 1 or 2 MSD; Type 3 does not require a label.
What are the guidelines for Y-valves?
Under federal law, if a boat
has a Y-valve allowing direct overboard discharge of untreated waste, it must be closed while operating in all inland and coastal waters. It is suggested you use a non-releasable wire tie or lock, or remove the valve handle to secure the device. When you are more than three miles offshore
in the ocean, the Y-valve may be open allowing direct discharge overboard.
A Y-valve may also be found on boats having both a Type I or II MSD and a holding tank. This gives the boater an option to discharge treated waste overboard or to contain it for pumpout later.
What is a No Discharge Zone?
A No Discharge Zone is approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which prohibits boats from discharging treated or untreated sewage into water bodies. In these waters, a Y-valve has to be closed. Currently, there are three No Discharge Zones in Florida: Destin Harbor, the Florida Keys
Marine Sanctuary and the city of Key West
Are marine sanitation devices subject to inspection
Yes. When the owner or operator is aboard, an officer may board a vessel with consent or if there is probable cause or knowledge to believe that a violation has occurred or is occurring. An officer may also board a vessel if the operator refuses or is unable to display the safety
or marine sanitation equipment.
What are the fines for non-compliance?
$50 infraction for compliance issues
$250 civil penalty for discharge of raw sewage
Portable toilets are Legal
on any boat.* They does not fall under USCG regulations