The Bay Foundation Boater Education Program has announced the annual return of the Honey Pot Day program for its seventh consecutive year. Honey Pot Day is offered from April 1 – August 31, in four Southern California harbors: Marina del Rey, King Harbor (Redondo Beach), Port of Los Angeles, and Port of Long Beach.

The program launched in 2009 as a means to reduce levels of bacteria in local harbors by offering boat owners a convenient option to properly dispose of sewage. One toilet flush of untreated sewage from a boat can cause the same environmental impacts as 10,000 flushes of a homeowner’s toilet where the waste is processed by a municipal sewage treatment plant. (San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board, 2009)

Since its inception, over 800 boaters have been educated about the adverse effects of discharging sewage directly into waterways, and over 24,000 gallons of sewage, from across the four harbors, were properly disposed. Through the installation of pumpout facilities and educational programs, like this one, recreational boaters become better informed, understand the importance of proper waste disposal, and directly benefit water quality.

The Honey Pot Day program complements the Absorbent Pad Exchanges program, which has four new locations in Los Angeles and San Diego Counties (there are 15 total public locations now), and the statewide Dockwalker Program, which trains volunteers to promote and educate boaters on environmentally-sound boating practices in California.

“I am very proud of our staff who have worked so diligently over the past years to develop this program into a regional approach to help keep our harbors and coastal waters clean,” says The Bay Foundation Executive Director Tom Ford. “We all enjoy eating local seafood, and recreating in and around the water, so we thank the 800 boaters to-date who have used this program and have directly contributed to improving the water quality of our Bay and the region.”

Honey Pot Day and the Dockwalker program are part of The Clean Vessel Education Program, which centers around four strategies: (1) developing pollution prevention services, (2) creating networking opportunities, (3) providing technical assistance, and (4) direct outreach. These programs bring to local boating communities the tools and resources needed to improve water quality in their favorite boating playgrounds. The Honey Pot Day Program and Dockwalker Program are funded by California State Parks, Division of Boating and Waterways, and Clean Vessel Act Program. The new Absorbent Pad Exchanges are funded by a grant from CalRecycle.

To sign up for the program, boaters should visit http://www.honeypotday.org. Here, they will take an online quiz, watch a video on how to operate a sewage pump out station, and read three brief publications by the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways.

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