The State Organization Index provides an alphabetical listing of government organizations, including commissions, departments, and bureaus.
Top-requested sites to log in to services provided by the state
Boats are like cars—using and maintaining them can have an impact on the environment. Fuel spills, oil leaks, detergents, and boat sewage discharges all can pollute the water. Boating in sensitive and shallow areas can also harm delicate habitats if not done with care. With minimal effort and expense you can help keep our coastal waters clean and healthy—a key ingredient for great boating. Many websites provide useful tips for minimizing boating impacts, including Clean Boating in the Commonwealth, an article on page 52 of the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) 2007 Coastlines (PDF, 38 MB) magazine. The following information gives specific steps for handling fuel and oil, sewage and graywater, boat cleaning and maintenance, boating in sensitive areas, marine debris, and invasive species, along with links to additional information.
While large spills of oil and gasoline are rare, the small drips from regular boating activities can add up. This oil and gasoline degrades marine water quality and is toxic to humans and marine life. These simple steps can help you keep oil and fuel out of the water.
Boat sewage can contain bacteria and viruses, nutrients, and chemicals—and graywater left over from dishwashing and showering can contain soaps, detergents, and other materials—all of which can be harmful to water quality and public health. These simple practices can help manage sewage and graywater.
One of the best ways to keep pollutants out of the water is to save maintenance projects for the boatyard, where it is much easier to collect waste. If work must be done in the water, do all you can to contain and catch drips and debris for proper disposal.
Boats allow us to explore places not accessible on foot, such as salt marshes and shallow flats, but improper boating practices can cause environmental harm. Boating in shallow waters can do severe damage to eelgrass beds, which are the nursing grounds for many important fish species. Salt marshes, which provide flood control and critical habitat for fish, migratory birds, and other wildlife, are also susceptible to vessel traffic. These low-energy environments are particularly susceptible to erosion from waves created by boat wakes. Chapter 4 of the Massachusetts Clean Marina Guide (PDF, 216 KB) gives specifics on how to minimize your impacts to sensitive coastal areas. In particular, please remember to:
Trash and discarded materials, known as marine debris, can have a large impact on boating and marine life. Plastic bags can clog engine intakes, causing overheating and expensive repairs. Fishing line can get wrapped around a propeller, disabling the boat. Marine life can mistake debris for food, and fishing line, six pack holders, and other garbage can entangle animals. Use the following tips to help reduce marine debris:
Invasive species are plants (such as Codium [PDF, 306 KB] seaweed) and animals (such as the European green crab [PDF, 354 KB]) that have become established in a new location and can harm the ecosystem or economy of the invaded area. Boating can be a source of these introductions when organisms become attached to the hull, entangled in motors, are drawn into the bilge water, or otherwise "hitchhike" on a vessel from one water body to another. Bait is another potential source of introductions. To help stop the spread of invasive species while boating:
Here are a few additional resources to explore.