California: Visiting yachts to have dye placed in holding tank

Published 13 years ago, updated 4 years ago

As reported by

The routine is spreading – is it a sign of things to come to the world over?

California’s Log reports that beginning this month (September 2010), visiting boats on Newport Harbor guest moorings will be inspected by Harbor Patrol officers and have a dye tablet placed in their holding tanks, to indicate leaks or illegal dumping of sewage.

It’s already been the case in nearby Avalon Harbor for some time. There, Harbor Patrol officers routinely board vessels entering the harbor, check to hold tank valves and flush a dye tablet down an onboard toilet to ensure that the boat’s holding tank system is working properly.

“We are looking at developing the policy and the dye tabs that are effective for this harbor,” explained Orange County Sheriff’s Harbor Patrol Lt. Mark Long, Newport Beach’s harbormaster.

The Harbor Patrol’s new duty to administer the dye tab program was included in the agency’s recently signed five-year contract with the city to continue managing Newport Harbor moorings. Officers will soon board vessels and ask to inspect each boat’s holding tank system.

Under the program, visiting boaters who secure moorings will check in at the Harbor Patrol office, where an officer will inspect the boat and drop a dye tablet in the tank. If an officer is unable to check the tank at that time, the boater’s name will be noted and an officer will conduct the test at a later time, said Deputy Carlos Contreras, who oversees the moorings.

While the tests are an effort to catch – and prevent – holding tank dumping, Contreras does not expect to find many boaters doing illegal dumping in the harbor. Most pollution comes from other sources, Mr. Long explained.

That’s generous of Mr. Long, but it’s a sure-fire winner – with dye in your holding tank, you’d probably always hold on until you found an official outlet. It’d be like wetting your pants in public.



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