A new sewage pumpout boat is providing free service to recreational boaters in the San Juan Islands. The Port of Lopez received a grant in 2021 from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to build an electric powered pumpout vessel. A separate grant from the Washington State Parks Clean Vessel Act Grant Program is supporting the operations and maintenance of the vessel, along with financial backing from the Port.
Named “Blackwater,” the vessel has already provided several pumpouts despite only being in service since mid-August.
“We’re thrilled to assist the Port in establishing this new service and hope to see others like it in the region,” said Catherine Buchalski Smith, Clean Vessel Act Grant Program manager. “The Port of Lopez looks forward to providing a service that will help to protect the surrounding waters of Lopez Island and the Salish Sea. We are very grateful to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Washington Clean Vessel Act Grant Program for making it possible to purchase and operate this vessel.”
Pumpout services are free to recreational vessels, but boaters must call to make an appointment ahead of time. Boaters can request a pumpout appointment by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), phone at (360) 504-7982, or by hailing VHF channel 78.
In addition to funding the construction and ongoing operation of pumpout and dump stations across the state, the Clean Vessel Act Grant Program funds Pumpout Washington – a boater education initiative managed by Washington Sea Grant. Introducing new boaters on how and where to pumpout their boat’s holding tank is the key to maintaining local water quality.
Washington Sea Grant provides educational outreach to boaters on marina docks during summer months and provides boaters with a variety of helpful tools, such as the free pumpout adapter and a new video on the Pumpout Washington website demonstrating how to use the more than 140 free public pumpout facilities in the state. A free mobile phone app, PumpoutNav, is another popular tool helping boaters locate the nearest pumpout or dump station, from Washington to California.