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It's the Law

Discharge of Trash

It is illegal to dump refuse, garbage, or plastics into any state or federally controlled waters.

You must store trash in a container while on board and place it in a proper receptacle after returning to shore.

If boating on federally controlled waters and your vessel is 26 feet or longer, you must display, in a prominent location, a durable Garbage Disposal Placard (sign) that is at least 4 x 9 inches. It must notify passengers and crew about the discharge restrictions of the Marine Pollution Act (MARPOL).

Garbage disposal placard

Chapter 270
(Selected Section)

Whoever places, throws, deposits, or discharges upon Massachusetts coastal or inland waters trash, bottles or cans, refuse, rubbish, garbage, debris, scrap, waste, or other material shall be punished by a fine of not more than $5,500 for the first offense and a fine not to exceed $15,000 for each subsequent offense.

Help Keep Massachusetts Waters Clean

Boaters in Massachusetts have a role to play in preserving the aquatic environment.

To help keep our waters clean:

  • Make it a policy on your vessel that nothing goes overboard. If you had room to bring it, there’s room to take it back!
  • Take reusable containers and recycle your paper, cans, and bottles whenever possible.
  • Encourage your marina to establish recycling facilities and pump-out stations.
  • Avoid products that remove stains or make your boat shine—they can be very toxic.
  • Use or request that your boatyard use the least damaging bottom paints available.

For more information, contact Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management at 617-626-1200.

Map of Massachusetts No Discharge Areas