World Oceans Day is June 8th. Greenovate is celebrating by taking a look at the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act, and featuring a few Bostonians who help to make the Act’s goals a reality. This post is about James Senterfitt, whose pump-out service and “Clean Harbor Club” help to keep Boston Harbor and its surrounding wetlands clean.
The Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act exists to protect the State’s water supply and shorelines, maintain wildlife habitat, and prevent pollution. James Senterfitt supports the Act’s mission of keeping our waterways healthy by preventing contamination of Boston Harbor.
Senterfitt wants to make it convenient for boaters to keep the Harbor clean - so much so that those who use his boat waste pump-out service call him “Captain EZ.” Captain EZ partners with the City of Boston to make safely discharging waste from vessels in Boston Harbor easier than ever before.
How did you get started providing pump-out services in Boston Harbor?
I moved to Boston on a 70-foot vintage classic yacht called Flying Colors in 2011, arriving like the Pilgrims in the nearby hinterlands of Marina Bay in Quincy, before finding my way to the historic North End. In July of 2015, I began operating a pumpout boat service in partnership with the City of Boston in order to improve compliance with “No Dumping” regulations in greater Boston Harbor’s official No Discharge Zone.
What do you wish boaters in Boston knew about their impact on the environment?
I wish boaters knew that the general public take cues from boaters about prevailing community standards and marine regulations on issues like, what types of boat cleaners are safe for the environment, what is allowed to be 'thrown overboard,’ and legal and proper waste management. Adopting a sense of stewardship for these wonderful water resources helps create a sentinel effect of good conservation by those less familiar and experienced.
What can boaters do to promote water quality in Boston Harbor?
As the most frequent users of the harbor, recreational and commercial boaters are assumed by the public to be the de facto community experts regarding legal, safe, and smart boater behavior. When boaters embrace this stewardship role the public takes notice. When boaters embrace this role they begin to recognize that water quality management begins before we reach the waterfront and they can extend a positive influence within their neighborhoods and workplace communities.
For example, remembering to take used paints, solvents, oil, and gas to a proper disposal facility versus pouring them down sewer or storm drains, is something everyone should do regardless of how close they live to the waterfront.
What might surprise people about your job?
It’s not really a very smelly job! We use special odor guard hoses and connections that attach to our customer's boats and to our pump out facility where we discharge into the City's sewer system for treatment just like ordinary toilets. And our boat is a very handsome craft kept pristine clean. Also we actually like jokes about our business, like: “We're number 1 in the number 2 business!”