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Florida Sea Grant Extension & Education Program

Florida Sea Grant Extension & Education Program

MSD Tips to Protect Water Quality

  • Use onshore facilities before leaving the dock, at locations along the way, and when you return.   
  • Get equipped with the sewage management option that works best for you, you can properly maintain, and will prevent waste from entering our waterways.  
  • Don’t discharge overboard, especially in sensitive areas, over seagrass, shellfish beds, in low tidal flushing areas or near recreational swimming and fishing areas.  
  • Pumpout regularly and use a pumpout log to keep track of your holding tank capacity.  
  • Use the right toilet tissue. Choose rapidly dissolving paper to prevent clogging in your boat’s sewage system.  Recycled paper options are available.  Never flush ‘flushable’ wipes, even at home, they do not dissolve and will clog pipes.  
  • Rinse with fresh water regularly.   
  • Clean with a vinegar solution immediately after a tank has been emptied and before you add holding tank treatments. This reduces scale buildup, keeps the walls of the hose clean, and extends the life of the hose.  
  • Use enzyme-based treatments over harmful chemical deodorizers and disinfectants. Enzyme treatments effectively break down solids, reduce odors, and are biodegradable and less toxic.  
  • Clean and deodorize with borax and baking soda. Use a mix of ½ cup borax per 1 gallon of water. Clean with baking soda and water, and sprinkle baking soda around the rim.  
  • Change hoses when needed. Over time, system hoses absorb the sewage smell. Wet a rag with hot water and put it around the hoses for a few minutes.  Remove the rag, if it smells it may mean the odor has permeated through the hose and it is time to change it.   
  • Report illegal discharges of oil, chemical and sewage spills to your local coast guard office, the national response center at 1-800-424-8802, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 1-888-404-FWCC (3922), or your local law enforcement officer. 


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