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Is Charles Doane surf­ing the Wash­ing­ton propol­lu­tion wave in his ar­ti­cle Chil­dren of the Corn (Au­gust)? While there is no doubt that ethanol fuel is harm­ful to out­board en­gines, what does he mean by “ir­ra­tional toi­let laws,” as well as ban­ning of two-stroke en­gines and toxic bot­tom paint (which he spins as “ef­fec­tive bot­tom paint,” im­ply­ing in­cor­rectly that the le­gal and safe op­tion is not ef­fec­tive).

There are three types of toi­let sys­tems called Ma­rine San­i­ta­tion De­vices, or MSDs. Types I and II al­low dis­charge of treated waste with low co­l­iform counts and no solids. Type III is a hold­ing tank for pump­ing out. Doane con­sid­ers the re­quire­ment for an MSD to be ir­ra­tional? Per­haps he’s not a swim­mer or is boat­ing in the wrong mil­len­nium.

The high dis­charge from two-cy­cle en­gines has been well doc­u­mented, with as much as one-third of the oil and petrol mix­ture dis­charged un­burned into the wa­ter. While the re­sults of stud­ies vary, most show that two-cy­cle en­gines are se­ri­ous pol­luters and in­ef­fi­cient.

He is con­cerned about al­low­ing E15 while not­ing that he only burns a few gal­lons of gaso­line a year. Find a ma­rina that sells ethanol-free fuel and fill a five­g­al­lon con­tainer. It will last 2.5 years. — Larry Sch­nell, Coop­er­stown, NY Yes, I am well aware of the three types of MSDs. What I find ir­ra­tional is that types I and II, the more ef­fec­tive on­board treat­ment de­vices, have been crip­pled by the great pro­lif­er­a­tion of No Dis­charge Zones, where even treated waste can’t be pumped over­board. In most places we must use Type III de­vices and store our waste on­board while search­ing for pump-out sta­tions that are few and far be­tween. In a ra­tio­nal regime types I and II would be fa­vored, not prej­u­diced. As to bot­tom paint, I have tried many eco-al­ter­na­tives and none are nearly as ef­fec­tive as paints which are banned for recre­ational use, but are still al­lowed for com­mer­cial use. The to­tal sur­face area of com­mer­cial bot­toms far ex­ceeds recre­ational ones. Ban­ning toxic paint for recre­ational use only does lit­tle for the en­vi­ron­ment and is ar­guably un­con­sti­tu­tional. Fi­nally, I have found rel­a­tively few mari­nas sell­ing ethanol-free fuel. Rather than pol­lute our gas with al­co­hol, we need to move to less messy al­ter­na­tives—propane or elec­tric—as noted in my col­umn. — Charles J. Doane


If you are look­ing for ma­rine fuel, you might look at The site shows lo­ca­tions of sta­tions sell­ing non-ethanol fuel. Choose your state and you will get an al­pha­bet­i­cal list of cities.

— C. Henry Depew, Tal­la­has­see, FL

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