Boat pumpout service opens on Cuttyhunk Island

This week, the Coalition and the town of Gosnold began operating a free boat waste pumpout station in Cuttyhunk Harbor. This station will serve the thousands of recreational boaters that visit Cuttyhunk annually and help prevent harmful boat sewage from polluting Buzzards Bay’s waters.

A large silver metal box labeled to show it is the new holding tank for Cuttyhunk's new boat pumpout station.

The holding station for Cuttyhunk’s new, permanent boat waste pumpout station.

For the more than 5,000 boaters that will visit Cuttyhunk this year, there’s now an easy solution to deal with waste before heading onward to their next adventure: a free, easy-to-use, self-service pumpout facility, conveniently located at the Cuttyhunk Harbor fuel dock. This new facility will be open from dawn to dusk, May through September.

The new pumpout station replaces the mobile pumpout service previously offered by the Coalition’s R/V Buzzards Baykeeper®, which visited Cuttyhunk 1-2 times a week in season from 2000 to 2016. In those years, we removed a total of approximately 25,000 gallons of sewage from nearly 2,000 boats. But with a 200-gallon capacity, the Baykeeper was unable to meet the demand in busy Cuttyhunk Harbor alone.

In contrast, the new facility will provide an eight-fold increase in capacity. That doesn’t just make for more convenient boating around Cuttyhunk. It also helps ensure a healthier Buzzards Bay.

All coastal waters around Massachusetts, including Buzzards Bay and Vineyard Sound, are designated No Discharge Zones, making it illegal for boats to dump any waste into the Bay. Boat waste can contain bacteria that is potentially harmful to humans who might ingest it while swimming in coastal waters. It’s also rich in nitrogen that can cause algae to grow, which leads to a loss of eelgrass, fish, and shellfish in coastal waters.

“We hope this new facility will encourage more boat waste pumpouts and reduce the chance of illegal discharges,” said Maureen Thomas, the Coalition’s water resource specialist, who managed the development of the new Cuttyhunk facility.

The Coalition has donated the equipment formerly used aboard the Baykeeper to the town of Marion, which has added it to the mobile pumpout service they provide for boats around Sippican Harbor. This service, as well as the new Cuttyhunk facility, operates with funding through the Clean Vessel Act.

If you’re entering Cuttyhunk Harbor, look for Buzzards Bay Coalition signs at the Harbormaster building and the fuel dock to find the pumpout station.

Category: On the Bay

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