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Environmental reporter Christopher Dunagan discusses the challenges of protecting Puget Sound and all things water-related.
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Cleaner boat motors in the works

July 28th, 2008 by cdunagan

The Environmental Protection Agency continues to develop rules to reduce pollution from small-boat motors. For details, check out the Environmental Protection Agency’s Web page on Gasoline Boats and Personal Watercraft.

The latest round of regulations deals with carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides, since EPA has found that boat motors are a significant source of air pollution.

Whenever I think about boat pollution, my thoughts go to the killer whales that are followed by boats all day in the San Juan Islands. The amount of pollution lying across the water must be significant, though many of the whale-watch boats have switched to cleaner engines. But that’s another story.

In today’s Kitsap Sun, reporter Rachel Pritchett desccribes an emerging business that claims to have developed a catalytic converter for boat motors that reduces hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide levels almost to zero. See today’s story.

The business is seeking a patent for its device and may be one of the first businesses involved in the Kitsap Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) project at Olympic View Industrial Park.

For the boaters among us, here are some tips from the EPA to reduce emissions no matter what kind of motor you have:

  • Limit engine operation at full throttle.
  • Eliminate unnecessary idling.
  • Avoid spilling gasoline.
  • Close the vent on portable gas tanks when the engine is not in use or when the tank is stored.
  • Transport and store gasoline out of direct sunlight in a cool, dry place.
  • Use caution when pumping gasoline into a container at the gas station.
  • Carefully measure the proper amounts of gasoline and oil when refueling.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule.
  • Prepare engines properly for winter storage.
  • Buy new, cleaner marine engines.

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One Response to “Cleaner boat motors in the works”

  1. Bob Meadows Says:

    There are a couple of amazing claims made in that article about the catalytic converter: It reduces the bad stuff “almost down to zero” and “greatly increases fuel efficiency.” Since a catalytic converter is in the exhaust stream, I wonder how it could increase fuel efficiency. Indmar Marine and Volvo Penta must be green with envy about that nearly zero emissions accomplishment.

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"In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught."Baba Dioum, Senegalese conservationist