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Nantucket Harbor in the season.

Pump out, don't dump out!

Practice proper boat sewage etiquette this weekend.

A full harbor. —Photo courtesy of the Nantucket Boat Basin.

The Figawi is this weekend, an event that fills up our harbor with boats sailing in a race across Nantucket Sound and back, and with other boats for the Memorial Day Weekend, which means the potential for pollution is huge. To those planning to sail or motor over to Nantucket and those of us just getting our boats into the water, as chairman of our Harbor & Shellfish Advisory Board, I can't stress enough the need to utilize either the town's boat holding tank pumpout station at the end of the town pier, its pumpout boat, the Headhunter, or if you're staying in the Nantucket Boat Basin, the boat basin's pumpout system available to every boat docked there.

Besides the fact that the waters surrounding our three islands three miles out from shore were designated a federal no-discharge zone in 1993, the careless discharge of your boat's sewage, gray water and bilge wastes into the harbor are deadly to the marine creatures and vegetation in the harbor. Getting your boat tanks pumped is easy and the right thing to do if you care about Nantucket's harbor life-sustaining eelgrass beds, bay scallops, fish and the continued clean water quality of our harbor.

Those boats staying in the boat basin should connect with boat basin staff to arrange for holding tank pump outs. Those whose boats are moored in the harbor should either come to the town pier for a pumpout or call Nantucket's Marine & Coastal Resources Department at the head of the town pier on Channel 14 of their VHF radios to schedule a pumpout session. For bilge sock disposal, find the nearest Dumpster, as bilge socks, which contain pellets that soak up bilge wastes and then biodegrade them over time, can go right into the household trash at the Nantucket Landfill.

If you see anyone discharging their boat sewage or gray water into the harbor, note the boat's name, home port and call Nantucket's harbormaster at 508-228-7261 and report what you saw, where and when you saw it. If you see a neon green slick around a boat, that means they've just emptied their tank(s). Boats tying up at the boat basin and those in the Figawi race are issued dye tablets that go in their tanks so any discharge is immediately identifiable.

Please report anything you see to Nantucket's harbormaster.