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Marine Environment
Protecting the Marine Environment

When the water in rivers, lakes, and oceans becomes polluted, it can endanger wildlife, make drinking water unsafe, and threaten the waters where we swim and fish. EPA research supports efforts under the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act.

Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Prevention Program goals are to prevent the spread of AIS threatening waterways and to prevent new introductions of AIS. Implementation of the program includes the development and approval of AIS regulations, seasonal inspection and decontamination stations, monitoring, coordination with stakeholders and government entities, and AIS prevention education and outreach for the public.

Marine pollution can occur accidentally, as when a boat accident causes a boat to sink, therefore introducing fuel, oil and battery contaminants alongside any Marine Sanitation Device issues. Also, the accident any pollution must be contained and reported.

In addition, people leave large amounts of trash in waterways and along the shoreline. Boaters and the general public should always take with them what they bring, and leave the waterways better than how they found them.

Best Practices

Read BoatBeat’s General Best Practices, in addition to the following tips, for more recommendation and information.

  • Hidden Dangers: Share the potential for hidden dangers, such as encountering or colliding with wildlife (jumping carp, sharks, sea rays and beavers, to name a few).
  • Hazards: Identify the hazards to humans, wildlife, water sources, laws, regulations and responsibilities for pollution control.
  • Environment: Mention pollution, which might include gasoline, diesel or sewage spills or battery leaks.
  • Before Leaving: Stress the importance of examining the boat and equipment and removing any visible mud, plants, or animals before a boater leaves the body of water and transporting equipment.

Fact Sheets

Aquatic Invasive Species

Boating Clean Practices

Clean Water Act

Pollution Issues

Browse All Fact Sheets

Expert Sources

U.S. Coast Guard, Office of Auxiliary & Boating Safety

National Safe Boating Council (NSBC)

National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA)

States Organization for Boating Access (SOBA)

Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF)

Browse Federal and State Point-of-Contacts

External Resources

For hazardous waste recycling or collection centers, call 1-800-CLEAN-UP or visit


Case Study Sources