Swabbing the deck? Let’s see your papers, please.


Lauren Ruhland, 2008 MCPP intern

Boaters would be required to get a discharge permit for all waste released into the water under an EPA proposal, mandating authorization for about 100,000 commercial vessels and 13 million recreational powerboats and sailboats across the country, the Bay City Times reports.

The original proposal was intended to prevent the spread of invasive species hitchhiking in ballast water, and this is a worthy and reasonable goal– organisms like zebra mussels and lamprey (among many others) have caused problems for the Great Lakes’ native inhabitants and the ecosystem as a whole.  However, extending the requirement to include smaller non-commercial vessels isn’t going to make a significant impact.  Critics point out that as written, even rainwater that washes off the deck of small, engine-free sailboats would be considered “discharge” for which a permit is required.

I’m putting off digging through the actual proposal until later, but expect more on this subject.

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One thought on “Swabbing the deck? Let’s see your papers, please.

  1. Before too much longer, it will be illegal to wash your car in the driveway as well…

    Actually, I understand the desire to keep invasive species out of the Great Lakes, but there must be better ways to do it than to heavily regulate every sailboat, powerboat, and canoe that paddles along in the Great Lakes. Also, where do we draw the line with invasive species? Horses are invasive species, as is grass. Yet, the EPA has not come out with a proposal to ban horses yet, at least not to my knowledge. So, where is the line?

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