Every harbour authority must provide adequate facilities to receive the following types of waste from ships using the harbour:

  • food, domestic and operational waste generated during the normal operation of the ship, excluding fresh fish and parts of fish
  • cargo residues
  • ship-generated sewage
  • oil and oily mixtures
  • noxious liquid substances.

You may be charged for using these facilities. The harbour will usually have a waste management plan that includes information on the costs, availability and type of facilities on offer. Very small facilities may not have such a plan and in these cases the information should be available from the Harbour Master or local council.

What you must do

You must make sure that you know and comply with the bylaws which apply in all ports you use. All ports have their own bylaws which are likely to include banning the disposal of:

  • waste on the harbour side, including fish or parts of fish
  • fish, bilge or anything which may be offensive, either visually or because of odour, in the harbour waters.

Many of the port authorities publish their bylaws on their website. The British Ports Association list their members on their website.

British Ports Association

Good Practice

If you store liquid wastes on land or on your boat, make sure that they are stored securely and cannot escape or be pumped by mistake into drains, watercourses or coastal waters, or contaminate the land where they are stored.

Minimise the waste you produce by reusing or recycling materials wherever possible.

DAERA: Environmental guidance for ports and harbours

In Scotland, you should manage your on board waste in such a way as to allow for high quality recycling once it is landed at a port. check with the port for details of their waste management requirements.

Certain materials can be disposed of at sea, but non-biodegradable materials, such as plastics, must only be disposed of on shore.

SEE ALSO: Disposal of waste at sea

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