Table of Contents

Download the PDF Version

Hazardous Substances and the Boater

No paint or varnish product is environmentally safe, and all are toxic to both humans and marine life. When cleaning or painting your vessel, it's important to protect the water.

Minimize your use of toxic materials while the vessel is in the water. Use biodegradable and low-phosphate products whenever possible.

Use an absorbent sponge in your bilge to soak up oil. Have oil absorbent pads or rags on hand in case of a spill. When changing engine oil, wipe up any spills so that the oil isn't pumped overboard with the bilge water.

Use a suspended tarp to catch spills, paint scrapings, or debris that would end up in the water.

Inspect your fuel lines periodically. Replace bad ones with USCG–approved Type A alcohol-resistant, fuel line hoses.

Dispose of old antifreeze and oil on shore in a recycling container.

Antifouling paint is used to prevent the growth of organisms on vessel bottoms. Some antifouling paints use tributyltin, which has been found to cause abnormal development and reduced reproduction in marine life. Instead, use a "non-fouling" (silicon- or teflon-based) antifouling paint.