WSG News Blog, Boating

First pumpout station in two decades opens on Orcas Island

May 6, 2018

Aaron Barnett, WSG Boating Program Specialist


Just in time for summer boating season, the first pumpout station in the San Juan Islands in nearly 20 years is up and running at West Beach Resort on Orcas Island. The new pumpout site is the only one on the north side of the island, and boaters heading to or from remote places such as Sucia Island or Canada can easily stop in and use the free service to offload their sewage quickly and safely.

Managed by Washington State Parks, the Pumpout Washington program is part of The Washington Clean Vessel Act program. The program has expanded the number of pumpouts in recent years as boater demand has risen. The new site was also developed by Washington State Parks and the West Beach Resort site was chosen in part due to survey responses from boaters who identified a need for a location near Sucia Island, which is only seven miles away. Boats up to 60 feet in length can tie up to the dock and an attendant will help them use the new equipment. “I’m excited about this location because it’s on one of the main travel routes through the San Juan Islands and Canada, and it is accessible for bigger boats,” said Al Wolslegel, manager of Washington State Parks Clean Vessel Program.

When boaters stop in at West Beach Resort, they can also pick up a free pumpout adapter kit designed by Washington Sea Grant to make it easier for boaters to use pumpout stations without making a mess. They are available in West Beach Resort’s marina store. For more information about the Pumpout Washington program, including a Google map showing pumpout station locations in Washington State, visit

Along with the opening of boating season comes an increased concern for small oil spills, which account for 75 percent of the oil dumped into local waters. The Washington Sea Grant Small Spills Prevention Program provides boaters with the knowledge and tools they need to stop oil pollution at the source, including a free Small Oil Spills Prevention Kit consisting of a small absorbent pillow that is placed alongside bilge pumps to prevent oily discharge from entering the water. The Small Spills Prevention Program is managed by Washington Sea Grant and Washington Department of Ecology, with distribution help from Washington’s District 13 Coast Guard Auxiliary.

The Washington Clean Vessel Act program is part of the Clean Vessel Act of 1992 supported by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Sportfish Restoration Fund from special taxes on recreational boats, fishing gear and boat fuel. In Washington, the program is managed by Washington State Parks. The pumpout adapter kits are made available through Washington Sea Grant to marinas, yacht clubs or other organizations that serve recreational boaters. Contact Aaron Barnett, Washington Sea Grant Boating Specialist, at 206-616-8929 or for more information.

Washington Sea Grant, based within the College of the Environment at the University of Washington, helps people and marine life thrive through research, technical expertise and education supporting the responsible use and conservation of coastal ecosystems. The National Sea Grant College Program is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce.