Skip to main content

Course Outline

The Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships places limitations on the discharge of garbage from vessels. It is illegal to dump refuse, garbage, or plastics into any state or federally controlled waters. Many forms of litter can kill birds, fish, and marine mammals.

  • 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 a Garbage Disposal Placard in a prominent location. The Garbage Disposal Placard is a durable sign that is at least 4 × 9 inches and notifies passengers and crew about discharge restrictions.
MARPOL trash placard

Boaters in Massachusetts have a role to play in preserving the aquatic environment. What we do as individuals can make a real difference in keeping our waters safe and clean for everyone.

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.

  • Unit 4 of 6
  • Topic 15 of 19
  • Page 3 of 6