Sound Friendly Boating

Sound-friendly boating helps keep our coastal waters healthy!

What You Can Do

Boat Maintenance

Avoid harsh cleaners and copper-based boat paints, which are toxic to aquatic plants and animals.

  • Perform maintenance on land, using drop cloths to catch debris and cleaners.
  • Reduce the need for harsh cleaners by rinsing your boat frequently with plain water.
  • Ask your marina or marine supply store for biodegradable and non-toxic cleaning products and copper-free paints.
  • Protect yourself and the environment by ensuring that sanding dust is captured in a vacuum sander and disposed of in an appropriate waste facility.
  • For a list of non-toxic cleaning products, click here for our Clean Boating Brochure, which can be printed and kept onboard for easy reference.  See also CT DEEP’s clean boating site.

The “S” Word

It is now illegal (with fines up to $25,000) to discharge sewage in the waters of Long Island Sound, including Fishers Island Sound.

  • Use the free or low-cost pumpout services at your marina, call the pumpout boat on VHF Channel 68, or call 860-514-7664.
  • For a list of pumpout facilities from Watch Hill, RI to Groton, CT, click here for our Clean Boating Brochure.
  • When in port, use marina restrooms and showers.

For information, contact Connecticut DEEP’s Boating Division at 860-434-8638.


One of the easiest ways to keep our waterways safe is to dispose properly of fish waste, food waste, and trash, especially plastic. Fishing line, plastic bags, and sixpack rings can be sucked into an intake or propeller; thousands of marine animals die each year from eating or becoming tangled in marine debris.

  • Keep a covered trash bin on the boat and use it.
  • Take trash home for proper disposal.
  • Never toss cigarette butts overboard; the filters contain toxins and are made of plastic—they are deadly to fish and birds.
  • Never throw fish waste into the water.  Clean fish in the designated area at your marina, and discard the waste in covered containers. Fish scraps can also be frozen for chum or bait.

Hazardous Waste

Leftover oils, batteries, antifreeze, paints, varnishes, turpentine, pesticides, and other chemicals

  • Winterize your boat properly, consulting marina staff or your owner’s manual.
  • Always use orange-pink antifreeze (non-toxic propylene glycol).  Avoid blue-green antifreeze (toxic ethylene glycol).
  • Consider installing a manual override switch on the bilge pump and an oil filter or oil/water separator in the bilge discharge line.
  • Pump only water overboard.  Place an oilcloth or drip pan in the bilge under the engine, and carry an oil-absorbent kit in case of drips or spills.
  • Prevent spills by fueling slowly. Know your tank’s capacity and never fill it over 90%–gas drawn from cool storage tanks will expand as a boat warms up.
  • Keep the engine well tuned and avoid unnecessary idling.

Finally, please watch for and report all pollution and spills – oil, fuel, sewage, hazardous materials, or marine debris. If you see anything that doesn’t look clean or safe entering the Sound from storm drains or surface runoff, report it by contacting the U.S. Coast Guard National Response Center toll-free at 800-424-8802 or the Connecticut DEEP Emergency Response and Spill Prevention Division toll-free at 866-DEP-SPIL (866-337-7745), 860-424-3338. Pr 860-424-3333.

Thank you, boaters, for keeping our waterways safe, clean, and beautiful!

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