For many of us boaters, there are few places we would rather be than out on the waters of Casco Bay. Cool, salty ocean air breezes by as we navigate around the iconic Calendar Islands that dot this amazing Bay.
As boaters, we love Casco Bay.
And what we do matters. Casco Bay is large, and so, too, is the boating community. When returning to a marina or a mooring field after a day out on the Bay, take a look around at how many hundreds of vessels you see.
It can be easy to think that our individual actions don’t influence the health of our coastal waters. But considering that thousands of boats anchor in and pass through Casco Bay each summer, the cumulative impact of our individual actions can add up fast. This is why we practice Habits for a Healthy Bay to keep our waters clean now and for generations to come.
Habits for a Healthy Bay
Don’t pee over the side and don’t dump poop in the Bay
Casco Bay is a federally-designated No Discharge Area, which means it is illegal to release blackwater (raw or treated sewage) from any vessel into the Bay – this includes peeing over the side. All boats must hold their blackwater until it can be removed at a pumpout facility. Smaller boats without an onboard toilet also must collect blackwater and human waste to be disposed of at facilities on land. Many boaters keep an emergency bucket onboard for such situations.
Leave no trace, nothing over the side
A wide variety of trash and litter can be found on the shores and in the waters of Casco Bay. Marine debris harms wildlife, disrupts biological productivity, and releases toxins into the Bay. Always secure plastic bags, cans, and other potential litter while out on the water and properly dispose of them on land. Just like hikers on their favorite trails, we boaters on Casco Bay are expected to leave no trace.
Gas up the boat, not the Bay
Gas, oil, and other petroleum products are toxic to marine life and do not belong in Casco Bay. As power boaters, we have all made the mistake of spilling fuel at the gas pump. We keep spill pads on our boat to clean up these spills. If you do not have a spill pad available, ask your marina operator for one.
Report what you see, become a Water Reporter
As boaters on the Bay, we often encounter conditions that go unnoticed from shore. If you are on the water and notice the strong smell of gasoline or observe an oil spill, report it immediately to Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s Oil Spill hotline: (800) 482-0777.
In addition to oil spills, boaters can help report nuisance and harmful algal blooms, pollution, and sightings of marine life. To report phenomena like these, we ask boaters to sign-up to be a volunteer Water Reporter — our citizen observing network that documents changing and concerning conditions on and around Casco Bay.
The health of our waters depends on us.
Find out more at cascobay.org/boating.