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Pumpout Station sign
Signs like these are posted at pump-out stations in Alabama.

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency inspects marine sanitation devices on both recreational and residence vessels and issues yearly MSD inspection decals.

If you have a recreational vessel with installed toilet facilities, it must have an operable marine sanitation device (MSD) on board.

Pump-out station
Typical Marine Sanitation Device

There are three types of MSDs.

  • Types I and II MSDs are usually found on large vessels. Waste is treated with special chemicals to kill bacteria before the waste is discharged. Types I and II MSDs with Y valves that would direct the waste overboard must be secured so that the valve cannot be opened. This can be done by placing a lock or non-reusable seal on the Y valve or by taking the handle off the Y valve.
  • Type III MSDs provide no treatment and are either holding tanks or portable toilets. Collected waste should be taken ashore and disposed of in a pump-out station or onshore toilet.

Vessels 65 feet or less in length may use a Type I, II, or III MSD. Vessels more than 65 feet in length must install a Type II or III MSD.

All installed devices must be U.S. Coast Guard–certified.

Vessels with a Type III MSD are prohibited (except in an emergency) from docking, storing, anchoring, or mooring at a marina unless the marina has a pump-out or waste disposal system.