Boat owners and rig operators must adhere to strict marine sanitation regulations to ensure the environment's safety and those around them. The use of marine sanitation devices is heavily regulated, and non-compliance can result in severe consequences. 

In 2024, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) will update its regulations for marine sanitation devices to align with the latest technological advancements and environmental standards. These new regulations aim to reduce the ecological impact of boating and safeguard the health of marine life. 

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3 Reasons Your Boat Needs a New Marine Sanitation Device

Your vessel’s marine sanitation device (MSD) is a piece of equipment that has specifically been designed to treat and discharge your sewage in a safe—and compliant—manner. Not only is your MSD important for keeping you and your crew safe and sanitary, but it’s also vital for helping you avoid pesky and expensive Coast Guard fines. 

If your MSD isn’t working properly, you’re going to need to fix it. However, there are some times when you don’t need a fix—instead, you need a new MSD. These devices don’t last forever! Even high-quality marine sanitation devices have an expiration date. 

Updating or even upgrading your MSD on a regular basis is crucial for the health and safety of your vessel. By keeping your MSD up to date or even getting a better one, you’ll avoid myriad unsanitary scenarios. You’ll be better able to keep up with the growing needs of your crew. And, because you’ll be complying with boat sewage regulations and avoiding fines, you’ll be helping out your bottom line. 

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2022 Boat Sewage Regulations: What Boat Owners Need to Know

Boat owners or rig operators face stern boat sewage regulations and steep repercussions surrounding the use of their marine sanitation device.  There are many good reasons for this. For one, if you’re operating a sewage marine sanitation device, you want to make sure that you’re keeping the environment around your boat safe for the good of everyone, including yourself.

In order to ensure that everyone in U.S. waters follows the same rules, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) issues a set of regulations for appropriate marine sanitation device use. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also have comprehensive, easily accessible information to ensure that everyone knows how to make the sea a safe place for everyone to be. 

What are these boat sewage regulations? Do they apply to every marine sanitation device (or all types of MSDs?) Are there any updates boat owners need to know about for 2022? Have the events of the past few years have any impact on marine sanitation device use, or best practices for managing safe discharge? What can happen if you aren’t in compliance—and what do you need to do to ensure that you aren’t going to get slapped with any hefty fines? We’ll cover all of this and more in this handy guide.

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3 Types of Marine Sanitation Devices (MSDs)

When you’re crafting, purchasing, or maintaining your vessel, it can be easy to get caught up in the exciting specifics of boat care: the equipment you use to perform daily tasks, the engines and motors your boat needs, and other aesthetic or performance upgrades.

Other systems, such as your vessel’s marine sanitation device (MSD), can often go unnoticed. However, your MSD is crucial to the enjoyable, safe function of your boat. Just imagine what would happen if you didn’t have a properly working sewage treatment system. The resulting smells, sights, and gross sludge would be unpleasant, to say the least. 

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How to Size Your Marine Wastewater System

While you’re spending time on your offshore vessel, it’s important to ensure that you can enjoy a safe, sanitary life at sea. For both your guests and your crew, this includes simply and effectively getting rid of the waste your personnel produces on a daily basis. 

Not only is this crucial for a pleasant atmosphere on your vessel, but it’s also required in regulations set forth by the International Marine Organization (IMO) and the United States Coast Guard. Failing to have a smoothly running wastewater system can net you serious fines, as well as an unhealthy environment for everyone aboard your vessel. 

Fortunately, there’s a simple way to ensure that your vessel’s waste management system is always taken care of. With a correctly sized marine wastewater system, you’ll be able to make sure your boat is safe in no time at all.

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Wastewater Case Study: BP Trinidad and Tobago


The Juniper project is in the East Mayaro Block (EM) off the south east coast of Trinidad and Tobago.

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Stinky Boat Bathroom? Common Marine Sanitation Problems and Solutions

When you’re working on a boat or rig over a period of several days, there’s no getting around it: You’ll be using the facilities several times and, well, if your marine sanitation device isn’t maintained properly, that can result in less-than-aromatic situations.

It might seem like a small thing, but an unclean or stinky boat bathroom can definitely affect your quality of life. More than that, a perpetually unpleasant smell coming from your boat’s bathroom can signal a larger issue with your marine sanitation device or other systems aboard your vessel. What might be the root cause of this issue? Is there anything you can do about it? 

In this blog post, we’ll go over common problems that may arise with your marine sanitation device, as well as the ways you can work to make the problem (and the smell) disappear.

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Sewage Treatment Systems: Which Sanitation Unit Works Best?

When you’re looking for sanitation units for your boat, you’re likely looking to achieve some pretty basic goals. You want the sewage treatment process to be streamlined and contained, you don’t want to have to deal with the sewage directly or notice any unpleasant aromas, and you want all discharge to be compliant with U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) or International Maritime Organization (IMO) standards so you don’t face any fines.

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Marine Sewage Treatment Chemicals: A Yearly Schedule for Boats

If your boat has a marine sanitation device, you already know how important it is for your vessel’s overall function. Having that system properly up and running will make your multiday excursions much more pleasant (not to say possible). Your sewage treatment system also ensures all of the waste that is discharged from your boat is completely up to U.S. Coast Guard or International Maritime Organization regulatory standards. 

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4 Replacement Parts You'll Need for Your Marine Sanitation Device

Your marine sanitation device is a hugely important part of your boat, keeping conditions aboard your vessel sanitary, safe, and enjoyable for you, your crew, and your guests. It also helps you treat and dispose of your waste in a way that meets maritime regulations and is good for the environment.

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