b'Trash Trash is the most visible pollution in our waters. Designate a storage area on your boat specifi cally for trash and regularly take the trash to shore for proper disposal. Beverage cans, Styrofoam cups, plastic bags, fi shing line fragments, and other debris can trap, injure, and kill aquatic life and birds. Most of this debris doesnt disintegrate; instead it remains in the waterways for years and continues to kill wildlife, foul propellers, and clog engine-cooling water intakes. It is illegal to dispose of any trash in navigable waters and within three nautical miles off shore.Federal violations are subject to substantial civil penalties and/or criminal sanctions, including fi nes and imprisonment.Local violations are subject to fi nes up to $200 per off ense.Call the Coast Guard or the local Harbormaster if you see any boat, commercial or recreational, dumping plastics or other trash overboard. Erosion Boat wakes contribute to shoreline erosion, especially in narrow streams and inlets. This loss of land is a problem for Cape towns and also aff ects boaters. Eroded sediments can cause unwanted shoals and shallows, cut offlight to underwater life, especially plants, and create tremendous problems for aquatic ecosystems. The extent of shoreline erosion caused by boat wakes depends on the wakes energy. This energy is based on four factors: distance from the shore, hull size, speed, and water depth. The closer to the shore, the greater the hull size, and the shallower the water, the more damage a boat wake can cause. To minimize shoreline erosion, boats should reduce wakes within 500 feet of the shore. Excessive wakes are prohibited within 150 feet of any shore being used as a swimming area; violations are subject to local fi nes.Many habitats near the shore, and the animals and plants that inhabit them, are sensitive to disturbance. Boaters, skiers, and jet skiers should avoid speed and excessive traffic in these fragile areas. Erosion from boat prop wash (agitation produced by the boats propeller while the engine is in gear) is very often seen along docks and piers. If the boat is run in gear while tied up, sediments are stirred up and washed away, creating an artifi cial dredged area beside the dock. As these sediments resettle, they suff ocate marine life in the surrounding area. Docks and Piers Excessive numbers of private docks collectively have negative impacts on our coastal bars and ultimately depreciate the value of waterfront homes. They may impair water circulation, alter bottom sediments, shade eelgrass and restrict access to shellfi sh beds. Rather than imperil the water body you live on with a new dock, consider sharing a communal pier or keeping your boat on a mooring. Further, many docks and piers are constructed with pressure-treated wood. The toxic materials used to help the wood last longer in the marine environment leach out slowly over time, killing marine plants and animals. Alternatives such as heart wood and many new plastic construction materials should be considered for new structures, repairs or replacements. Keep in mind that boats tied to docks can cause sediment changes that can destroy shellfi sh habitat.Page 55bluepages.indd 55 8/26/2009 1:52:55 PM'