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Water: Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments

E. Boat Cleaning Management Measure

For boats that are in the water, perform cleaning operations to minimize, to the extent practicable, the release to surface waters of (a) harmful cleaners and solvents and (b) paint from in-water hull cleaning.

1. Applicability

This management measure is intended to be applied by States to marinas where boat topsides are cleaned and marinas where hull scrubbing in the water has been shown to result in water or sediment quality problems. Under the Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments of 1990, States are subject to a number of requirements as they develop coastal nonpoint source programs in conformity with this measure and will have some flexibility in doing so. The application of management measures by States is described more fully in Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program: Program Development and Approval Guidance, published jointly by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce.


2. Description

This measure minimizes the use and release of potentially harmful cleaners and bottom paints to marina and surface waters. Marina employees and boat owners use a variety of boat cleaners, such as teak cleaners, fiberglass polishers, and detergents. Boats are cleaned over the water or onshore adjacent to the water. This results in a high probability of some of the cleaning material entering the water. Boat bottom paint is released into marina waters when boat bottoms are cleaned in the water.


3. Management Measure Selection

This measure was selected because marinas have shown the ability to prevent entry of boat cleaners and harmful solvents as well as the release of bottom paint into marina and surface waters. The practices on which the measure is based are available, minimize entry of harmful material into marina waters, and still allow boat owners to clean their boats.

4. Practices

As discussed more fully at the beginning of this chapter and in Chapter 1, the following practices are described for illustrative purposes only. State programs need not require implementation of these practices. However, as a practical matter, EPA anticipates that the management measure set forth above generally will be implemented by applying one or more management practices appropriate to the source, location, and climate. The practices set forth below have been found by EPA to be representative of the types of practices that can be applied successfully to achieve the management measure described above.


  • a. Wash the boat hull above the waterline by hand. Where feasible, remove the boat from the water and perform cleaning where debris can be captured and properly disposed of.

  • b. Detergents and cleaning compounds used for washing boats should be phosphate-free and biodegradable, and amounts used should be kept to a minimum.

  • c. Discourage the use of detergents containing ammonia, sodium hypochlorite, chlorinated solvents, petroleum distillates, or lye.

  • d. Do not allow in-the-water hull scraping or any process that occurs underwater to remove paint from the boat hull.

The material removed from boat hulls treated with antifoulant paint contains high levels of toxic metals (see Table 5-1).




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