As part of its efforts to protect and restore Eastern Shore waterways, ShoreRivers regularly works to identify and address all pollution sources, including nutrient pollution and harmful bacteria that can be introduced from recreational boaters’ waste. Boat discharge, especially in marinas, high boat traffic areas, and sheltered coves, can lead to pollution hotspots that pose serious health risks to humans and animals.

ShoreRivers’ pumpout boat—a convenient way to properly dispose of marine waste—recently wrapped another season on the Miles and Wye rivers assisting local boaters committed to more river-friendly boating practices. The 2023 season saw 16,245 gallons of waste pumped out of 291 tanks, bringing the boat’s total to 129,962 gallons kept out of our rivers since the program began in 2016.

“It’s important that we all work together to make our waterways cleaner and safer for swimming, fishing, and recreation,” says Ben Ford, Miles-Wye Riverkeeper. “Using the free pumpout service is a great way for boaters to enjoy the beautiful Miles and Wye rivers and Eastern Bay while doing their part to keep harmful nutrients and bacteria out of our rivers.”

The pumpout boat program operates with funding from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and in partnership with Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels. CBMM donates free dockage, storage, and use of their land-based pumpout station to offload the waste from the boat. The sewage then goes directly to the St. Michaels wastewater treatment plant. For more details on this free service, which is offered between May and November, visit