Vessel Pump-Out Services
In 2013, Monroe County partnered with the State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection Clean Vessel Act (DEP CVA) Program to create a Keyswide Mobile Vessel Pump-Out Program to provide free pump out service to anchored-out vessels. Monroe County’s service is provided by Pumpout USA, which provides pump-outs to recreational vessels anchored throughout the waters of the Florida Keys.
The program has been a great success by preventing sewage from entering the sensitive marine environment. In 2017, 1 million gallons were pumped using the program.
The program has an annual operating expense of $850,000 and is funded in part by state and federal funding assistance as well as through recreational vessel registration fees.
How can I schedule a pump-out with Pumpout USA?
- Call 305-900-0263
- Register online for routine pump-outs at www.po-keys.com
Boaters utilizing the routine service will be provided with a sticker to be displayed on the vessel indicating participation in the pump-out program and an orange flag to be flown when in need of a pump-out.
The Florida Keys is entirely within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS). Waters of the Florida Keys have been designated as a No Discharge Zone by the Environmental Protection Agency and FKNMS in order to help preserve the water quality of our nearshore environment which surrounds the only coral reef system in the United States. This fragile marine environment, which draws over two million visitors each year and provides for one of the largest fisheries in Florida, is vulnerable to the overboard discharge of vessel sewage containing both nutrients and pathogens which can cause human health issues and degrade water quality.
Due to the warm climate and excellent boating in the Florida Keys, the nearshore waters of Monroe County are popular for transient and local boaters, many of which liveaboard. However, many of those boaters anchor out for extended periods of time and do not boat into shore to have their marine sanitation devices properly emptied. For the last ten years, Monroe County has managed a mobile vessel pump-out program to ensure that boaters in our many anchorages have the means to properly and legally pump out. The service was first established in Key Largo, and in 2012 was expanded and contracted out to a private vendor (Pumpout USA) to provide the service Keys-wide.
The program has grown into a highly successful service currently performing more than 1,800 pump-outs per month in a 120-mile long county with numerous areas where boaters anchor and live. This translates into the annual disposal of more than 280,000 gallons of sewage, which might otherwise be discharged directly into the water. The provision and use of the vessel pump-out service further the objectives of, and compliance with, the federal No Discharge Zone.
In 2017, the Florida Legislature required all vessels within Monroe County waters to show proof of pump out. This can be satisfied by obtaining a sticker from Pumpout USA when a boat owner is provided with a pump out service.
Other Pump-out Services:
In addition, there are more than 30 other pump-out facilities, including both mobile and land-based operations, located throughout the Keys.