As a former captain traveling across the ocean on a routine basis, I saw plenty of trash floating atop the surface. Additionally, when snorkeling, there is an equal amount on the seafloor below. Polluting our oceans by dumping trash is not necessary compared to sending it off to landfills. In fact, while working on private yachts, we would store bags of trash while underway until we reached the shore. At times, the lockers were filled to the top, especially on long crossings. However, as a recreational boater, it is equally as important to place trash in bags and not in the sea. Ocean dumping trash can lead to serious consequences. 

Getting Caught Because You’re Often On Camera

Today, it seems as though every move we make either onshore or offshore is recorded. With that said, you’re likely to get caught if your dumping trash into our oceans or waterways. 

First Hand Encounter Of Dumping Trash

Recently, a group of young boaters in my neighborhood were on film emptying buckets of garbage into a coastal creek. A resident, on the shore, pulled out a phone and turned on the camera. Furthermore, the resident posted the video on the local Facebook group exposing the criminal act for thousands to see. 

Viral Trash Dumping Videos

Unfortunately, a group of partiers were busted, leaving the Boca Inlet while unloading buckets of garbage into the ocean. 

Wavy Boats is a popular YouTube channel that records boats passing in and out of numerous South Florida inlets. Recently, the crew caught the young group of boaters via drone. The drone captured more than just unloading trash. The hull identification number and celebratory kids aboard were also aired on the internet for all to see. 

With that said, the boaters are at risk of facing criminal charges for polluting the ocean. 

Criminal Implications For Dumping Trash

Without a doubt, if you’re caught on camera or in person, that is plenty of evidence to be charged with a criminal act. It should be noted that some types of garbage can be dumped at specified distances from shore legally. 

However, in general, if you’re caught dumping illegally as a boater, you can face up to 75,000 dollars and 5 years in prison. 

For this reason, you need to bag up your trash and bring it back to shore for proper disposal. 

In the situation with the young boaters in my neighborhood and in the Boca Inlet, they were caught in the act. Being caught in the act is common because of today’s technology. However, as boaters, we need to be responsible for keeping our oceans clean. 

Why Recreational Boaters Ocean Dump Trash

There are a multitude of reasons why recreational boaters dump trash into the ocean. Here are the primary reason that our oceans are polluted by recreational boaters. 

Disposing Of Evidence

In my neighborhood and down in Boca Inlet, it appears as though the trash was dumped to hide the evidence of a party. 

In some cases, kids are under a legal drinking age, or they are afraid to have too many empty bottles on the vessel. Rather than taking it home where the parents can see it, they take it upon themselves to toss it over the side. 

Too Lazy To Bag It

Another reason that recreational boaters toss garbage over the side is because they are simply too lazy to bag it. 

Without question, it sounds easier to toss the trash overboard, where it will sink or drift off in the distance. However, the implications to our ecosystem are long-lasting. 

Unfortunately, some recreational boaters feel more burdened to keep a bag on hand to store the garbage. When I boat for fun, I always bring along a grocery bag to toss empty drinks, food wrappers, and more. 

Additionally, bagging the trash means that you have to empty it from the boat and place it in a trash can. For some reason, this sounds all too complicated for some recreational boaters, both in salt and freshwater. 

Furthermore, the trash bag needs to be secured to the boat. The combination of wind and traveling at a high rate of speed is likely to make the bag go airborne and into the water if you’re utilizing one. 

Don’t Dump Trash In The Ocean

There is no question about it: common sense says not to use the ocean as your garbage can. However, some cannot resist. It is imperative to keep our oceans clean by utilizing trash bags and returning the waste back to shore. Remember, you’re likely to be on camera if you’re illegally disposing of garbage into the water.