2004-05-28 / Community

NY/NJ Baykeeper Launches Free Pumpout Boat

By Brian Magoolaghan

NY/NJ Baykeeper Launches Free Pumpout Boat


Co-Captains Jimmy Ferchland, left, and Joe Grant stand aboard the pumpout boat.Co-Captains Jimmy Ferchland, left, and Joe Grant stand aboard the pumpout boat.

By Brian Magoolaghan

Doing the right thing by the environment just got easier for many recreational boaters on Jamaica Bay as a brand new sewage pumpout boat, which provides the service free of charge, was launched last week.

The Jamaica Bay Pumpout Boat, the first of its kind to operate in local waters, is a 24-foot Carolina Skiff outfitted with a 250-gallon capacity holding tank, an air and water-tight suction system and a fendered gunwale. She’s powered by a gleaming 90 horsepower Honda four-stroke outboard – another gift to Mother Nature since it’s much more fuel-efficient than a comparable two-stroke engine.

Federal law prohibits boaters with onboard sewage management systems – a toilet device connected to a storage tank – from discharging in the bay. But when faced with inconvenient options and little chance of being caught, many boaters open their "Y" valve and flush into the bay. Representatives from New York/New Jersey Baykeeper, the Department of Environmental Protection and Gateway National Recreation Area lauded the free service, which they said is clean and convenient. The pumpout boat will discharge into the DEP’s sewage system.


The Jamaica Bay Pumpout Boat, a modified 24-foot Carolina Skiff, docked at the Gateway Marina.The Jamaica Bay Pumpout Boat, a modified 24-foot Carolina Skiff, docked at the Gateway Marina.

The pumpout boat was purchased through a $25,000 grant from the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation, under the Clean Vessel Assistance Program. Broad Channel resident Joe Grant and Rockaway resident Jimmy Ferchland will switch off captaining the boat, which will dock at the Gateway Marina in Brooklyn. Grant and Ferchland will also meet with yacht clubs and civic groups to educate them about proper marine waste disposal.

Boaters can arrange for service at their own dock or while anchored in the bay, by contacting the pumpout boat on VHF Channel 9, or at 732-337-9262.


David Sterman, State Environmental Facilities Corp. and NY/NJ Baykeeper Andy Willner hold the pumpout boat’s $25,000 grant check. Chris Soller, GNRA Jamaica Bay Unit, left, attended as well.David Sterman, State Environmental Facilities Corp. and NY/NJ Baykeeper Andy Willner hold the pumpout boat’s $25,000 grant check. Chris Soller, GNRA Jamaica Bay Unit, left, attended as well.

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