The Michigan Boating Pumpout Grant Program helps public and private marinas reduce pollution from boats by providing funds for new or upgraded pumpout stations and waste reception facilities. These projects allow boaters to safely dispose of recreational boater sewage at marinas. In mid-2020, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) and Michigan Sea Grant (MISG) agreed to collaborate on administering this program to expand its reach and impact.
Since its relaunch, the program has provided more than $500,000 in grant funding to support 26 pumpout projects around Michigan lakes.
“It’s a great program, something small business owners like ourselves really benefit from,” said Lori Walker, co-owner along with her husband, Scott Walker, of the AuGres Yacht Club, on Lake Huron in AuGres. Lori said that after 20-plus years, they knew it was time to replace their pumpout. So in 2022, they decided to apply for a grant through the program. Lori said the application and approval process was straightforward and that Chip Kosloski, Clean Vessel Act Program Manager at MDNR, was responsive and easy to work with.
In addition to the more than 300 boats at the marina, Lori’s marina provides service to many additional boaters that come from other marinas that do not have pumpouts. “We are the only ones doing pumpouts in the area,” she said. So it was important to keep that service running efficiently.
Anchorage Marina used the grant program to help defray the costs of a portable pump out system. “[W]e try to be as efficient as possible when it comes to servicing boats at our Fuel Dock,” said Cary Masters, General Manager at Anchorage Marina Yacht Club in Holland. “A boat can pull up any time we’re open needing fuel, boat accessories, a pumpout, ice, or even all four. With our current pumpout situation, it can take 20-60 minutes to pump out a holding tank depending on its size and how many tanks the boat has.”
He said that in the past, a boat with three separate holding tanks pulled up, taking their fuel dock out of commission for the duration of the pumpout. With a portable pumpout, the marina can service boats in other areas and not just at the fuel dock. “By freeing up time and space with the portable pumpout, we can continue to be efficient providers of boat services on Lake Macatawa,” he said.
The Michigan Boating Pumpout Grant Program began accepting new applications in mid-September; applications are due Oct. 31. If you would like to receive program announcements, please email MichiganPumpouts@umich.edu to be added to the email list. Or go to MichiganPumpouts.com for more information.