Headed out on your boat? Remember to pump out your sewage

Planning some time on your boat as summer kicks off? A reminder not to empty your boat’s holding tank into Puget Sound or inland waters.

Map showing the No Discharge zone border that stretches east from the New Dungeness lighthouse and includes lakes Washington and Union.
The Puget Sound No Discharge Zone

Puget Sound is a No Discharge Zone, meaning that vessels in the Sound can’t release sewage, either raw or treated. This doesn’t just apply to commercial vessels, it applies to recreational boats, too. If your boat’s sanitation system has a Y-valve, which directs waste either into a holding tank or overboard, you must keep it closed while you’re in Puget Sound.

Pumping out your blackwater, instead of dumping it, helps keep beaches open and waters clean and healthy. Sewage contains bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens that can make people sick or make shellfish unsafe to eat.

many boats docked in a marina

Pumpout stations are widely available. Over 100 marinas offer pumpout services. You can even find free mobile pumpout services throughout the No Discharge Zone, from Olympia all the way up to Point Roberts. Use the handy Pumpout Nav app (available for both iOS and Android devices) to help you find the closest pumping facilities, dump stations, and restrooms, courtesy of our friends at Pumpout Washington.


  1. Not sure but if the valve isn’t wired shut you can get cited. That said how is boat discharge any greater than city or county or state overflow or breakdown discharges any different? They pay no penalty I have been out there in what amounted to a giant pickle pond more than once and it wasn’t caused by recreational boaters, I can agree with the sentiment but until government holds itself accountable I see no purpose in holding taxpayers accountable.

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