RBOC Supporting Inclusion of Liveaboards in Clean Vessel Act Services

RBOC has submitted formal comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, urging USFWS to include live-aboards as recreational vessels for purposes of access to services funded by the Clean Vessel Act [CVA].

RBOC is concerned with the interpretation of the USFWS that recreational vessels used as live-aboards [anchor outs, and houseboats] are not considered recreational vessels by the federal government and are therefore not eligible for use of equipment or services funded by the CVA grant including vessel pump-outs, pump-out boats [mobile boat-to-boat services], pump-out services, or any equipment operated and maintained with CVA grants.

In California, the CVA program has funded construction of hundreds of vessel pump-outs, most of which are used by both pleasure vessels and live-aboards.

RBOC is concerned that the USFWS interpretation does not allow live-aboards to use the CVA funded equipment [vessel pump-outs] or allow CVA funded pump-out boats or services.  The exclusion of recreational vessels used as live-aboards could have a significantly negative impact on water quality and would be detrimental to the objectives of the CVA. 

The USFWS regulatory proceeding is Docket Number FWS–R9–WSR–2015–0006.


BoatU.S. Action Alert - Comment Now on EPA Ethanol Mandate

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is asking for comments on a proposal to increase the amount of ethanol that must be blended into the nation’s fuel supply for 2015 and 2016.  

If adopted, these proposed levels will require the use of a record amount of ethanol, forcing higher-level fuel blends (including E15 or 15% ethanol) into more gas stations.

Remember that most marine engines are built to only work with up to 10% ethanol and it is prohibited to use gas containing more than 10% ethanol in all marine engines.

Please take a moment to send a message NOW urging the EPA to lower the ethanol mandates to ensure an adequate supply of fuel that will work in your boat.


The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is the 2005 law that requires the blending of biofuels such as corn-ethanol into our gasoline. When written, it was assumed that America’s use of gasoline would continue to rise and therefore mandated escalating amounts of biofuels to be blended with our fuel. Since 2005, U.S. gasoline usage has actually dropped steadily and now the law forces more ethanol into fewer gallons of gasoline.

To keep up with this mandate, in 2010 the EPA permitted E15 (fuel containing up to 15% ethanol) into the marketplace, for some engines. E15 is prohibited from being used in marine engines, snowmobiles, motorcycles, small engines like lawnmowers and leaf blowers, as well as any vehicle made before 2001. In multiple studies, E15 has been proven to damage boat engines.

E15 and higher ethanol blends fuel can now be found in 24 states, often at the very same pumps as E10 gasoline. The only warning you may have is one sticker mixed in with all the other warning labels on the pump. This creates a huge potential for mis-fueling and puts boaters at risk of using fuel that will damage their engines. CLICK HERE for more information on E15 and the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Thanks for taking action to let EPA hear how you care about the ethanol level in the fuel you buy for your boat engine. Help us out and please FORWARD TO A FRIEND.


Margaret B. Podlich

President, BoatU.S.

703-461-2878 x8363


BoatU.S. Urges Boaters to Ask Their U.S. Senators to Co-Sponsor Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2015

From BoatUS President, Margaret Podlich

For years, BoatUS has been battling in Washington to make sure you can buy gasoline that works properly in your boat engine. And while we have long recognized that renewable fuels are a key part of America's energy mix, we continue to work to reform the government fuel mandate that forces higher levels of ethanol in gas; levels beyond 10%, which can void boat engine warranties.

Now we have a chance to fix this broken policy. After last month's request, over 10,000 BoatUS Members contacted their congressmen, requesting support for H.R. 704, "The Renewable Fuel Standard Reform Act of 2015." A HUGE thank you for taking action! With bi-partisan support from 46 co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives, this bill will effectively remove the government mandate for higher blends of corn-based ethanol fuels (E10 and up) and allow for investment in other, more compatible biofuels.

Today I am asking you for more help. Senators Diane Feinstein and Pat Toomey introduced S. 577, the "Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2015" which also helps ensure that we will continue to have safe fuels for our marine engines. Please click here to ask your Senators to become co-sponsors and supporters of this bill.


BoatU.S. Action Alert: Protect Your Boat, Ask Congress to Fix the Renewable Fuel Standard

For years, BoatU.S. has been battling in Washington to make sure you can buy gasoline that works in your boat engines. On Wednesday, February 4, 2015, U.S. Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) introduced The Renewable Fuel Standard Reform Act of 2015. This bill, which has both Democrat and Republican support, will effectively remove mandates for higher blend ethanol fuels (more than 10%) and allow for investment in other more compatible biofuels. We believe it is a critical step and we are writing you to ask your Congressman to become a co-sponsor and support it.



The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is the 2005 law that requires the blending of biofuels such as corn-ethanol into our gasoline. When written, it assumed that America’s use of gasoline would continue to rise and mandated escalating amounts of biofuels to be blended with our fuel. Since 2005, gasoline usage has actually dropped steadily and now the law forces more ethanol into less gasoline.

 To keep up with this mandate, in 2010 the EPA permitted E15 (fuel containing up to 15% ethanol) into the marketplace. Even though E15 is prohibited from being used in marine engines, snowmobiles, motorcycles, small engines like lawnmowers and leaf blowers, as well as any vehicle made before 2001, this fuel can now be found at over 100 stations in 16 states at the very same pumps as E10 and ethanol-free gasoline. (In fact, there is not a single marine engine warrantied to run on any fuel with over 10% ethanol.)

Over 60% of BoatU.S. Members fill their boat’s fuel tanks at roadside gas stations where the higher blend ethanol fuels are often the cheapest fuel at the pump. This creates a huge potential for misfueling and puts boaters at risk.

Please contact your Congressman by clicking HERE. Ask them to co-sponsor the Renewable Fuel Standard Reform Act of 2015. In the last Congress, this bill had 82 co-sponsors.

CLICK HERE for more information on E15 and the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Thank you for being a BoatU.S. Member!

 Margaret B. Podlich
President, BoatU.S.

(703) 461-2878 x8363

BoatUS Report: Life Jacket Type Code Labels Go Away

Step Toward Eliminating Confusion and Introduction of New Designs

ANNAPOLIS, MD. September 30, 2014 -- In a move that’s expected to benefit recreational boaters, on Oct. 22 the US Coast Guard will drop the current life jacket type code scheme  -- Type I, II, III, IV and V -- that has been used for years to label and differentiate the types of life jackets and their specific use. Chris Edmonston, BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety President and Chairman of the National Safe Boating Council, said, “The boating safety community believes this move by the Coast Guard will help lead the way toward more comfortable and innovative life jacket designs, help boaters stay on the right side of the law, lower costs, and save lives.”

Explains Edmonston, “This is positive news is that we will no longer see a Type I, II, III, IV or V label on a new life jacket label after Oct. 22. This type coding was unique to the United States, tended to confuse boaters, limited choice and increased the cost of life jackets.” He says removing the type coding is a first step towards the adoption of new standards that will eventually simplify life jacket requirements for recreational boaters.

“This move is expected to lead to the introduction of new life jacket designs, especially those made in other countries as US standards will be more ‘harmonized,’ initially Canada and eventually the European Union,” said Edmonston. “Along with a wider variety, aligning our standards with those to our neighbor to the north and across the Atlantic will help reduce prices as manufacturers won’t have to make products unique to the US market.”

However, Edmonston cautions boaters must still abide by the current standards when using older life jackets marked with the Type I-V labeling, as they will remain legal for use. “We must continue to have a properly fitted life jacket for all aboard, and as always, you’ll need to follow the label’s instructions regardless of when it was made. Simply put, if you follow the label, you’re following the law.” A full list of the current life jacket types and descriptions can be found at BoatUS.org/life-jackets, and any update on new life jacket types and styles will be posted here when available.

In additional effort to help change the mindset of what a life jacket must look like, The BoatUS Foundation, the Personal Floatation Device Manufacturers Association (PFDMA) and the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), recently kicked off a “Innovations in Life Jacket Design Competition” to seek out the newest technologies and design ideas. Running through April 15, 2015, the contest seeks entries from groups or individuals, including collegiate design programs, armchair inventors or even boat and fishing clubs. Entries may be as simple as hand-drawn theoretical designs to working prototypes and will be judged based on four criteria: wearability, reliability, cost and innovation. For more, go to BoatUS.org/design.


About the BoatUS Foundation:

The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is a national leader promoting safe, clean and responsible boating. Funded primarily by donations from over half-million members of BoatUS, it provides innovative educational outreach directly to boaters and anglers with the aim of reducing accidents and fatalities, increasing stewardship of America's waterways and keeping boating safe for all. A range of boating safety courses – including 33 free state courses – can be found at BoatUS.org/courses.

RBOC to Attend June 17 Forum on Navigation Service Modernization

RBOC representatives will be attending the June 17 "listening session" to be conducted in Long Beach by the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey.

This is one of a series of public discussions on navigational aid technology and how it will affect the future of America's waterways.

From the US Coast Guard:

"The Future of Navigation-21st Century Waterways public listening sessions will be held in several locations across the country and will provide venues for open communications between various federal agencies and U.S. Maritime Transportation System stakeholders to discuss the joint federal agency initiative to use modern technology to support a safer, more efficient, more secure and environmentally-sound Marine Transportation System.

"These listening sessions will provide the maritime community — both professional and recreational mariners — and waterways stakeholders an opportunity beyond traditional venues to express their emerging needs for navigational information and service delivery systems necessary to improve the safety and efficiency of transits on the nation's waterways."

From the NOAA:

"Over the past few decades, mariners have witnessed the rapid development, reliability, and availability of e-navigation components, such as the global positioning system (GPS) and electronic chart display and information systems (ECDIS). These systems, and other technology, have fundamentally changed mariners’ reliance on traditional navigation services. In addition, the ability to manage data and information provided to the mariner through the automatic identification system (AIS) and cellular service has enhanced the interconnectivity between shore side information providers and shipboard users. These technological advances and data flow will help the mariner receive data, transmit data, and generally improve bridge resource management, situational awareness, and navigational safety.

"These fundamental changes present the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey with an opportunity to take the next steps in modernizing federal navigation services. Technology development compels these federal agencies to optimize the current aids to navigation, other maritime information systems, and nautical charting.

"We want to hear from you, as we develop a federal development portfolio that will provide coordinated and timely delivery of navigational information and services. We invite you to attend one of our listening sessions, to tell us your emerging requirements for navigational information and service delivery systems in an eNAV environment."

RBOC Supporting Federal Bills Designating Delta National Heritage Area

RBOC in conjunction with our federal government relations partners at BoatUS is supporting pending federal legislation S.228 (Feinstein) and H.R. 1004 (Garamendi) – The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area Establishment Act. This legislation would designate the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta as the first National Heritage Area (NHA) in the State of California.

RBOC representatives had been involved in the public process to develop the Delta Protection Commission’s NHA Feasibility Study and applaud the Commission for the extensive public involvement and engagement efforts which had been undertaken.

RBOC firmly believes that this project is closely aligned with our principles to protect and enhance the recreation and boating interests of California including the Delta. What impresses us most about this project is the commitment to establish a federal recognition of the Delta due to its assemblage of cultural and historical resources.

NHA designation has the potential to help gain visibility to the role the Delta has served in the nation by being an important location for water based recreation, dating back to the Gold Rush era in the 1850s. A Delta NHA can also link recreational and historic sites of the Delta, utilizing the waterways as corridors.

Recreational Boaters of California gives full support for the NHA designation and looks forward to future collaborative planning and implementation.

RBOC Urging USEPA to Complete Review of Biotic Ligand Model

RBOC is urging that the USEPA Office of Water complete its review of the Copper Marine Biotic Ligand Model [BLM] for metals in salt water.

This issue is important to boaters as it impacts decisions made by the state and regional water quality control boards that address copper including the copper-based anti-fouling paints used on boat hulls in salt water.

When adopted by USEPA, this water quality criteria document will be available for use in California and will allow for more accurate marine and estuarine water quality criteria to be developed to protect the environment and to create more scientifically defensible regulatory actions rather than the arbitrary one-size-fits all number that is currently used. 

This BLM uses the latest science to calculate water quality criteria for copper on the basis of water quality conditions at a specific water body/site. The water chemistry is measured at that site and put into the model to calculate protective water quality criteria for that specific site. This is widely recognized as a scientifically proven method.

Adoption of the action by the USEPA will help all parties involved establish protective and accurate water quality criteria.

BoatUS Speaks Up for America’s Boat Owners at EPA Ethanol Hearings

The blending of ethanol into the nation’s gasoline supply was the topic of a hearing held today by the EPA to discuss the 2014 Standards for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Program. Last month, EPA released the 2014 proposed standards which reduced the amount of corn ethanol mandated under the RFS for the first time since the law was implemented. This was a small but tide-changing victory for boat owners whose vessels cannot operate with ethanol above a 10% blend level without serious harm or safety concerns. BoatUS Government Affairs Program Manager Nicole Payla Wood, along with a coalition of representatives from environmental groups, fuel and manufacturing associations as well as food, restaurant, poultry and meat producers testified at today’s hearing to lower the Renewable Fuel Standard.

“We believe in a national renewable fuels policy, but one that is both safe for boaters and sound for the environment,” said Wood, “However, until the current ethanol mandate is removed, there is little room for investment in other renewable fuels that may not have the current negative impact of corn-based ethanol.” Wood explained that the real success would come if Congress changes the law to recognize today’s decreasing fuel usage in the US.


In her testimony, Wood advised the EPA, “We want to commend the EPA for taking a giant step towards addressing the current day realities of the Renewable Fuel Standard with the drafting of the 2014 proposed renewable volumetric obligations. We applaud their pivotal recognition of the shrinking demand for fuel and hope this sends a signal to Congress of the dangers that an impending blend wall presents to the average consumer. The EPA is trying to do its part for the consumer in addressing these market changes, and now is the time for Congress to do so as well.”


Wood added: “As the Renewable Fuel Standard policy pushes higher blends of ethanol gasoline into the market, there is an increased potential for misfueling and engine failure that needs to be made clear. Not all Americans can afford to drive tow vehicles made after 2001, and for boaters these higher blends are poison to our marine engines.”


“There is a critical safety and soundness issue related to the use of higher blends of ethanol in marine engines that cannot be denied. More than half of Boat Owners Association of The United States members fuel their boats at roadside gas stations. With 11 states now approved to sell E15 – a fuel that no marine engine is warrantied to run on – the opportunity for misfueling is growing. And what may result in a roadside breakdown for a car, can quickly lead to a search and rescue mission or search and recovery in a boat.”


“We think it’s also important to point out that EPA’s role in the Renewable Fuel Standard is to implement the policy, not reform the law. Although there are implicit waiver authorities written into the law, the EPA shouldn’t have to use that authority to modify policy to meet the realities of the current marketplace every year. It is the responsibility of the EPA and Congress however, to ensure that the fuel they approve for our consumers is a safe and reliable fuel for our engines, all engines. It is our hope that Congress will now accept the baton, and continue their work on a permanent fix for the Renewable Fuel Standard.”


For more information, a two-page 2013 E15 and the Renewable Fuel Standard Issue Brief by BoatUS Government Affairs is available at:http://www.BoatUS.com/Assets/www.boatus.com/gov/pdf/Issue Brief - Ethanol.pdf




About BoatUS:


Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is the nation’s leading advocate for recreational boaters providing its over half-million members with government representation, services such as 24-hour on water boat towing as well as roadside assistance for boat trailers and tow vehicles, feature-packed boat insurance programs, money-saving benefits that include marina and West Marine shopping discounts, and vital information that improves recreational boating. Go to BoatUS.com for more.