VIP Marina Lake Travis

What Is A Pump Out After Boating?

Nov 28, 2017 | Watersports | 0 comments

Nobody ever wants to talk about the potty business, and boats are no exception to the rule. But if your boat has a holding tank, then the commode discussion is inevitable. In layman’s terms, a pump out simply means to pump out – or empty – your boat’s on-board sewage waste holding tank. It’s true there are alternative systems such as Eco-friendly composting toilets and heads, as well as modern, full on-board treatment devices. However, most boats come factory equipped with an on-board waste management system found at the marine head and connected to its holding tank. Learning how and why you should pump out your boat’s holding tank is an important operation that every boat owner needs to know – as the repercussions of failing to do so can be disastrous and costly for both you and the environment.

Good Potty Habits

The poo business can be a breeze or your worst nightmare. Forming good ‘potty’ habits and following some simple tips and tricks can save you the hassle of big messes, big repairs and big headaches. Establishing a routine pump out schedule is a good way to verify there is always plenty of room in your holding tank when you need it. Additionally, frequent pump outs will help you avoid minor holding tank component problems before system failure occurs.

During pump outs, always take a few extra minutes to inspect for leaks or seepage, hardware slipping or breakage, unfamiliar or abnormally strong odors and anything else out of the ordinary. Make sure you are aware of the nearest clean and well maintained pump out stations in the area. Always keep a box of disposable nitrile gloves on board that are easily accessible and great for protecting you from the harmful bacteria and germs – because poo happens!

Use proper toilet paper that is rated for marine use only. Marine rated toilet paper is available in one-ply or two-ply, is rapid dissolving and biodegradable – meaning it will dissolve quickly and require less water. Regular household toilet paper is a big no-no in recreational vehicles such as boats – causing clogs and big, stinky messes. You can control odors during flushing by installing a charcoal filter in your vent line, and fill it with activated charcoal available from most pet stores. Alternatively, you might consider an inline deodorizer like a K02 Knocks-Out-Odor Kit from Raritan®.

Pump Failures – Now what?

The most common malfunction on pump out stations are insufficient suction. Typically, it is due to worn or faulty diaphragms. Contact the marina pump out supervisor and either wait for them to repair the problem or seek a pump out elsewhere. If the pump’s suction is operational but nothing is emptying from your tank, then check for a clog in the hose. Filling your holding past capacity or using toilet paper not rated for marine septics can cause this. It’s a good idea to keep a snake handy for these occasions.

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