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Tox Town - Environmental health concerns and toxic chemicals where you live, work, and play
Marina and Boatsen español

Why are marinas and boats a concern?

A marina has docks, moorings, supplies, and other facilities for privately-owned recreational boats. Because marinas are located at the water’s edge, pollution created by boats, marinas, and water runoff can enter the water directly. The growth in recreational boating has increased the impacts of marinas and boats on coastal resources. 

Potential pollutants from marinas and boats include oil, gas, diesel, antifreeze, detergents, and cleaning solvents. These can be released when refueling, doing boat maintenance, or pumping out bilge water that collects in the bottom of a boat. Heavy metals used in boat maintenance include arsenic and chromium in paints and wood preservatives; zinc to prevent corrosion of engines and hulls; and copper in antifouling paints that prevent barnacles from growing on boat bottoms. Boat sanding and painting can create dust and paint drippings at marinas. Boat engines also release air pollutants that contribute to ground-level ozone and smog. 

Dumping untreated sewage into the water from a marina or boat can pollute water and spread bacteria, viruses, and parasites, causing illness and even death in humans and marine life. Sewage can contaminate shellfish and feed algae blooms. It can also damage delicate coral reefs. The U.S. Clean Vessel Act helps reduce pollution from boat sewage and provides pumpout and dump stations for boaters to dispose of their waste in an environmentally safe way. 

When anglers clean their fish at docks or marinas, they often toss the fish waste overboard. As fish waste decomposes, it can rob the water of oxygen, harm other fish and marine life, and cause odors. Trash dumped into the water from marinas and boats can hurt or kill fish, birds, turtles, and other marine animals. Trash can also clog propellers. 

Wetlands, shellfish, plants, and marine habitat can be destroyed by marina-related activities such as construction of docks and piers, dredging of channels for boat traffic, and speeding boats.

This description is based on the information found in the Web links listed with this topic.

Web Links from MedlinePlus (National Library of Medicine)
Motion Sickness
Water Pollution
Water Safety (Recreational)

More Links
Boating Pollution Prevention Tips (Environmental Protection Agency)
Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
Shipshape Shores and Waters: Handbook for Marina Operators and Recreational Boaters (Environmental Protection Agency)
Vessel Sewage Discharge Program: Homepage (Environmental Protection Agency)
Water Safety and Drowning (University of Maryland Medical Center)

Chemicals and Marinas
Are these chemicals in MY community?
Carbon Dioxide
Carbon Monoxide
Crude Oil
Ethylene Glycol
Natural Gas
Nitrogen Oxides
Particulate Matter
Perchloroethylene (PCE, PERC)
Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)
Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs)
Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)
Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
Sulfur Dioxide
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Last Updated: November 8, 2016

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