Green Boating

Ocean Solutions

Vessel Sewage Pumpouts Project

Photo by Mike RichardsDespite new regulations, boats will still be allowed to dump sewage in popular areas such as the Gulf islands and Desolation Sound.

The new regulations will make it illegal to discharge raw sewage within 3 nautical miles of our shores - except in areas with less than 6 miles between shores and where no pumpout services exist. This is the loophole that will allow continued sewage discharges in the Gulf Islands, Desolation Sound, Discovery Islands and other popular boating destinations.

Canada’s marine sewage disposal options are woefully inadequate. In fact, the Strait of Georgia has less than 40 facilities available for the approximately 350,000 vessels that use this coast and will need this service.

Currently there is no agency plan to supply more sewage pump-out services. Boaters want to do their part to protect the marine environment, but if pump-out services are not available, they will have no choice but to dump raw sewage in or near many sensitive areas.

Used with permission of Nanimo Port AuthorityTo address this problem, Georgia Strait Alliance wants to supply, maintain and service a network of solar-powered “ecodock” pump-out wharfs along BC's coast.

These will be serviced by a custom designed disposal vessel, which will initially treat the effluent using shore-based facilities. Once in place the "ecodock" network will set the world standard for clean boating.

A Senior Marine Inspector from Transport Canada recently conducted an inspection of the Nanaimo solar powered Eco Barge, a similar facility to our proposed ecodocks. See his report.

Ocean Solutions is an innovative and exciting project that will help create a sustainable future with clean water in our region. It will have lasting benefits for all who live, work and play here.

We are partnering with the T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation to achieve this vision. We have been working with T. Buck on vessel sewage issues since 1997.

Watch this site or contact Michelle Young for updates.

Learn more:

  • View Project Supporters and Details of proposal.
  • See letter to Minister of Transport calling on government to fund and enforce comprehensive marine waste disposal (signed by approximately 400 concerned boaters and other citizens).
  • Funds are still needed to make Ocean Solutions a reality, so your contributions are welcome