I can state with absolute certainty that large commercial vessels DO, in fact, get fined and sometimes even criminally investigated by the USCG for not properly managing their oily bilge water. It's simply a matter of getting caught. USCG takes it very seriously. The fact that you sometimes see big boats going by and leaving a rainbow in their wake doesn't mean they wouldn't get fined if the CG knew about it anymore than the cops don't care about the guy that passes you on the interstate every day on the way to work doing 89 miles per hour. Sooner or later, he'll get caught and get a ticket.
The simple answer as to why you can't just pump your oily bilge water out is that it's a violation of federal law. And EPA is proposing more regulations to make it even more complicated - specific bilge water management requirements for small pleasure craft.
I also can state with absolute certainty that owners of personal small pleasure vessels also can and will be fined for sheens on the water that are traced back to their boats. USCG or state officials will either respond to a complaint or report, or will trace a sheen that they come upon themselves. If they find it coming from your boat, you get your ticket punched. Just ask my father about it...
- Bill T.
- Richmond, VA
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do, than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
- Mark Twain