Friends of Casco Bay’s boat pump-out service opened for the 2023 season on May 30. The marine advocacy organization operates the mobile service with a pump-out vessel, Headmaster, providing a convenient and legal way for boaters to get rid of their sewage. The service is offered to boats between South Portland and Harpswell.
Casco Bay is a federally designated No Discharge Area, making it illegal for any boat to discharge raw or partially treated sewage into the bay. The Friends of Casco Bay pump-out service helps boat owners comply with this law. Since 1995, the service has helped boaters keep more than 165,000 gallons of sewage out of the bay.
“Getting a pump-out is one of the best things boaters can do,” said Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca. “It keeps the water free from bacteria and sewage that foul the bay and make it unsafe for recreation, fishing and wildlife. With our pump-out service offering a safe and legal way to dispose of sewage, there is no reason to not pump out your boat.”
The service charges a $10 pump-out fee per 20 gallons of sewage, and offers holding tank flushes for $15. To request a pump-out, boat owners must fill out a form at cascobay.org/pumpout.
“The combined effects of pump-outs, the Clean Water Act and the No Discharge Area have transformed Casco Bay,” said Will Everitt, executive director of Friends of Casco Bay. “Just 50 years ago, sailing magazines warned boaters to avoid the bay because the water was so polluted. Today the bay is far cleaner. Yet as boaters, we all must play our part to keep the bay clean and healthy for everyone.”
In addition to pumping out their sewage, boaters should avoid fuel spills at the gas pump, keep trash out of the water, and properly dispose of marine flares. Boaters can learn more about best practices at cascobay.org/boating.