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For a cleaner, greener Hampton Roads
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Boaters in Hampton Roads don't need a reminder of the importance of our local waterways. From beauty to water sports to fresh seafood, our local waterways give back to us in so many ways. We must all do our part to protect the waterways we love so much.

GOOD TO KNOW

  • Boaters play an important role in protecting local water quality.
  • Pollution sources from boats include litter, motor fluids, cleaning products, and on-board toilets also known as marina sanitation devices.
  • No discharge zones (NDZ) are designated bodies of water that prohibit the discharge of treated and untreated boat sewage. The Lynnhaven River, Sarah Creek, and Perrin River are designated as NDZ.
  • HRSD manages the Hampton Roads Boater Education and Pump Out program that provides free year-round pump outs of onboard toilets at local marinas and residences to help boaters comply with local discharge laws.

GOOD TO DO

  • Keep it Clean – Opt for cleaning your boat with plain water or, if needed, a phosphate-free, biodegradable and non-toxic cleaner. Park your boat over grass or dirt to allow dirty wash water to be absorbed instead of running off into a nearby waterway.
  • Secure Your Trash – Drink bottles/cans and food wrappers are easily swept off a boat by the ocean breeze. Use containers with lids to collect trash and recyclables and dispose of them responsibly once on shore. And remember, cigarette butts are litter too!
  • Be Kind with Fishing Line – Fishing line is extremely dangerous for a variety of wildlife including fish, turtles and water fowl. Animals tangled in fishing line often die from injury or starvation. Look for fishing line recycling containers at your marina as a safe disposal option.
  • Don’t Mix Oil and Water – Your boat’s motor can leak toxic chemicals into waterways. Preventative maintenance is key! Find and repair oil, gas, and antifreeze leaks before they become a problem.
  • Pump Out, Don’t Dump Out – Always use pump out/dump stations at marinas or make a free appointment with the Boater Education and Pump Out program. They will come to you and provide a pump out of up to 25 gallons.
  • Respect No Discharge Zones – While in a no discharge zone, your Y valve must be closed and locked. This is Coast Guard regulated and you could be issued a civil penalty for noncompliance.
  • Heed the No-Wake Signs – Wake can cause erosion along shorelines, damaging the natural barrier that filters polluted stormwater runoff produced by landlubbers and their impervious structures.
  • Support Clean Marinas – The Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) offers the Virginia Clean Marina program to marinas that voluntarily implement best management practices to reduce pollution.
  • Become a Clean Boater – Take the pledge to protect our waterways with the Virginia Clean Boater pledge. The Virginia Clean Boater program will acknowledge your efforts to protect local water quality with a sticker to display on your boat.

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IS YOUR HOME OR BUSINESS A BAY STAR?

We live in a beautiful region surrounded by water. It impacts everything from the food we eat to the fun we have as well as our economic livelihood. Our daily actions have a lasting impact and it's up to us to protect and restore our waterways. It takes a community of individuals making small changes to make a difference. Getting involved in the Bay Star programs is one way you can be part of the effort to protect our region's most defining natural resource, water.

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