Pump out safety
During a summer trip with fellow Sea Scouts, one of my jobs was pumping out the forward waste tank aboard our charter vessel North Star. Instructions seemed simple: Uncover port, hold waste vacuum hose on the port, and have an assistant at the pump station turn on the pump.
Told to hold the hose on the waste port tightly, I leaned over to make sure I could see something through the glass window as the flow started. Suddenly I was baptized with a geyser of brown yuck. Trying to recover from the embarrassment, I shouted, “I’m OK, I’m OK, it’s not in my face!”
From this experience, my dad and I came up with the following pump out safety tips:
- Plan ahead. Know the area you will be traveling in and what pump out stations are available. Know your boat and the procedure used to pump out your waste tank.
- Protect the environment. Ensure that your valves are set properly to contain waste before leaving the dock. You can be fined if waste valves are set in the wrong position within a certain distance to shore.
- Carry safety equipment onboard. Have disposable gloves on hand. I also recommend a pair of safety glasses. Germs from human waste can make you sick. Wash up after pumping out!
- Ask for help. Have an assistant man the pump station controls on the dock. If something goes wrong, your helper can stop the waste flow.
- Position waste valves. Ensure the waste valves are positioned correctly before pumping out.
- Hold the position. After pumping starts, do not take the hose off your waste port until the pump turns off at the dock.
Prepare for any crisis
Learn how to handle any emergency while underway by taking our Emergencies Onboard seminar.