boats2The responsibility to Long Island’s environment, especially its waters, has been a major commitment of the AMI since it’s start over twenty-five years ago. Members of the AMI have advocated for years for clean boating through efforts coordinated with the NY Sea Grant and the EPA.

The following information is offered to provide additional sources of information concerning clean boating and Long Island environmental issues.



  1. Become environmentally active – Understand how clean water and a healthy environment help us all to enjoy better boating, swimming and fishing. Decide to be part of the solution, not the problem.
  2. Know your environment – Read about and observe the diversity of nature around you: marsh, beach, shellfish, fish, birds, bottom life. Become familiar with the environment regulations of your state and marina, boatyard or yacht.
  3. Know your boat – Find every source of potential pollution from your boat, and understand that each is quite easy to control. Common types of pollution include: engine oil drips into the bilge, trash tossed or blown overboard, fuel squirts out of the fuel tank vent, or overflows when topping off.
  4. Prevent boat pollution from happening – It is always easier to prevent problems than to clean them up. Make a list of pollutants you can control, and what will be done. It may be helpful to post the list for your crew and guests to read. A briefing by the captain, before casting off, is the simplest, cheapest and most effective way to prevent boat pollution.
  5. Litter control – Have trash and recycling bags handy. Bring back what you take out. Recycle as much as possible. Trash and litter spoil boating for everyone, so urge other boats to also pick it up and bring it back. Ask smokers to put butts in ashtrays, not to flick them overboard. Speak out when someone forgets; ask them to pick up whatever they tossed, even if it means coming about and retrieving a drifting sandwich bag.
  6. Fuel and oil spills – Install a fuel/air separator on your boat’s vent line of the built-in fuel tank. Keep an inexpensive petroleum absorption pad/pillow tied down in the bilge to catch any oil drops. When a small fuel spill happens, sop it up with an absorption pad; if gasoline, as a safety measure, let the pad air out on deck until dry. Recycle all used engine oil and antifreeze/coolant.
  7. Sewage – No one’s favorite subject, but it still needs control. If you use a portable toilet, take it ashore and empty it into a toilet or a special portable toilet dump station in the marina. If your toilet is a MSD Type I or II flow-through treatment type, keep it working properly. If it is a holding tank MSD Type III, pump it out regularly, but never overboard; Y valves can only legally be used on salt water if beyond three miles offshore – never on fresh water.
  8. Boat cleaning – Use minimal amounts of chemical cleaners. Buy only those rated as “green”, or biodegradable; avoid cleaners with dangerous warnings about skin or eye contact. Whenever sanding tops or bottoms, don’t let the chips and dust fall on the ground to be eventually washed into the water; rent a dustless sander for a faster, cleaner job.
  9. Help clean dirty waterways and shores – Look around the marina and where you like to go boating. Tell the marina manager about any problems you observe. Can you do something to clean and improve the environment? Is there litter that can be picked up, or problems which need the attention of others? Invite other boaters to help you clean up a shore or beach.
  10. Tell others how boating waters are getting cleaner – Yes, they really are cleaner in most places in America. But this only happens when we take responsibility for our share of pollution. Talk with other boaters about the importance of clean boating.

Striped Bass:
All marine waters south of the George Washington Bridge-one fish per day; 28 inch min. size, 35 max size; season of April 15-December 15. Hudson River north of George Washington Bridge-one fish per day; 18 inch min. size, 28 max size; season of April 1-November 30.

No size limit; three fish per day (includes snappers).

19 inch min size; four fish per day; season of May 4-September 30.

Winter Flounder:
12 inch min. size; two fish per day; season of April 1-May 30.

Yellowtail Flounder:
13 inch min. size; no fish limit; open all year.

16 inch min. size; one fish per day; open all year.

Black Fish:
16 inch min. size; two fish per day; season of April 1-30 and October 11-December 9.

19 inch min. size; no fish limit; open all year.

21 inch min. size; ten fish per day; open all year /state waters.

21 inch min. size/federal waters.

Black Sea Bass:
15 inch min. size; three fish per day; season of June 23-August 31 and September 1-December 31.

9 inch min. size; thirty fish per day; open all year.

NOTE: All measurements are total length.

For updated information concerning marine recreational fishing regulations, call 800.REGS.DEC or visit the DEC website.

An estuary is a partly enclosed body of water, with an opening to the sea, where fresh and salt water mix. Long Island is bordered by the South shore Estuary, the Peconic Estuary, and the Long Island Sound Estuary. Marine Recreation in Long Islands Estuaries.

Pollution from non-point sources, such as storm water runoff or ground water, or point sources, such as factories or sewage discharge pipes, have been shown to contribute greater that 90% of all pollutants in Long Island Sound Estuary. While the impact of a single boat on a body of water is insignificant, multiple boats in limited areas may have the possibility of impacting water quality. The Association of Marine Industries (AMI) and Long Island’s Estuary Programs are working to educate boaters to assist them in preserving the best of both worlds – enjoying the experiences of boating while helping to safeguard the quality of these beautiful environments.

Boater’s: Know Your MSD!
The Clean Water Act states “discharging of raw sewage directly into waters within the three mile limit is illegal.” Increasing regulations throughout the northeast make it important to know how your vessel is equipped for sewage disposal. As a boater, you should know what type of head or MSD you have on board. Vessels use four types of sewage disposal systems. Some boats use portable toilets, which should be drained at dump stations.

Boaters with vessels over 26 feet typically have one of three types of Marine Sanitation Devices (MDS):

Type I & Type II devices use a variety of methods to treat sewage. These devices use electric currents, chlorine, or other chemicals to further disinfect the treated, ground sewage and then discharge. While boats with Type II devices can discharge treated sewage within the Federally recognized three mile limit at this time, they are not able to do so in designated No-Discharge Zones. Thus, it is highly recommended to convert a Type II into a Type III head with deck fitting for pumpout. Type III MSDs are designed to prevent the discharge from your vessel. These devices allow waste to be held on holding tanks and then removed at pump out stations onshore or by a pumpout boat. The Type III MSD is recommended in an estuary.

Pumpout Stations
New York Sea Grant and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation provide a Pumpout Facilities directory that lists current Marine District Pumpout Facilities on Long Island. Additionally, the AMI Boater’s Guide lists pumpouts provided by members and in several Townships on Long Island (see map). Vessels can hail pumpout boats on VHF73 in East Hampton or Southampton Town waters or VHF 9 in Huntington Harbor.

No-Discharge Zones
Water quality is critical to the health of the estuary and to boaters, swimmers, and fisherman. An increasing number of harbors in the region, such as Huntington Harbor, Block Island, and Newport Harbor, are designated No-Discharge Zones. In a No-Discharge Zone it is illegal to discharge any boat sewage, treated or untreated, within a designated No-Discharge Zone. The Township of East Hampton expects to have an officially designated No-Discharge Zone in Three Mile Harbor and Lake Montauk in 1999.

What does a No-Discharge Zone mean to boaters?
-If you have a Type III MSD (ie. There is an operable holding tank onboard), simply enjoy the free pump-out services that are often provided in these areas. -If you have a Type I or Type II MSD, place the unit’s “Y-valve” or thru-hull seacocks into the closed position and install a simple lock, such as a wire tie, and use shoreside facilities and pumpout facilities.

>The Peconic Estuary is a paradise to all “users” of the system – whether they are human, marine life, or flora and fauna. In fact, the Peconic Estuary watershed contains a higher percentage of undisturbed habitats and a greater diversity of natural communities than anywhere else in all New York State! Because of this vast diversity of habitats – Pine Barrens, bluffs, dunes, wetlands, beaches, harbors, creeks and bays are all part of the Peconic Estuary. Northern species and southern species meet together at the extremes of their range in Eastern Long Island’s waters and lands. From upland Pine Barrens to the bottom of the Bays – the East End plays host to over 111 rare and endangered species – the highest concentration of rare and endangered species in the State! No wonder this region has been cited as “one of the last great places on earth”.

The Peconic watershed is comprised of the five East End Townships – Southampton, East Hampton, Shelter Island, Southold and Riverhead (with a bit of Brookhaven Town, around the headwaters of the Peconic River, thrown in as well). Although only 100 miles away from New York City, the time warp as you enter the Peconic region takes you 100 years back in time! One of the last vestiges of small town living in the metropolitan area, the East End is a place suspended in time, where our fishing and farming heritage is still our present day reality.

As you enter these magical waters and terrain we know you’ll come to a greater clarity as to why we East Enders are so protective of our natural resources. You’ll begin to understand why we devote years of our lives to ensure that the vibrancy, productivity and beauty of our homelands and waters are preserved for all eternity and the generations to come. You too will experience that feeling of awe and ownership as you experience, first hand, the majesty of the Peconics.

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE PECONICS is a culmination of some of the things we users of the estuary system can do to not only protect but to ENJOY this magnificent resource.

Welcome to the Peconic Estuary!
Welcome to Paradise!!

Flounder: Bottom Fish
Can Be Found: On the edges of channels or drop offs (channels only in Spring)
Caught: By drifting or trolling
Time Caught: Moving water (tide change) in spring
Bait: Mussels, blood or sand worms, clam strips
Lures: Small spoons, spinner or feathe
Hook: Chestertown 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 (The smaller the better)
Tip: Use yellow bead on hook leader
Fluke: Like Flounder but bigger
Can Be Found: On the edges of channels or drop offs
Caught: By drifting or trolling
Time Caught: Moving water (tide changes) in spring
Bait: Squid, sand eels, killies, shiners, smelt
Lures: Buck tails, fin-s, rubber grubs
Hook: Carlisle 3/0 4/0 5/0 6/0


Weakfish: (Tide runners)
Can Be Found: In deep holes
Caught: At anchor or drifting
Time Caught: Moving water in spring/early summer
Bait: Squid, sand or blood worms (whole), crabs, killifish, butter fish
Lures: To use at drift, buck tails, rubber bait
Hook: Top: Sproat 2, 3, 4
Bottom: Carlisle 1/0 2/0 3/0 4/0 5/0 6/0
Tip: Use Ultralite tackle & Have Fun


Black fish:
Can Be Found: By rocks, warfs or wrecks
Time Caught: Spring, Summer, Fall
Bait: Crabs, clams, worms
Hook: Virginia 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Tip: Fresh hermit crabs


Can Be Found: By rocks or wrecks
Time Caught: Summer
Bait: Clams, blood or sand worms, squid
Hook: Sproat 1, 2, 3, 4,
Carlisle 1, 2, 3, 4


Striped Bass: (Bass eat almost anything)
Can Be Found: At the bottom of ledges or holes
Caught: Drifting or trolling
Time Caught: Moving water, moon tides, full moon
Bait: (Trolling): Umbrella rigs, bunker, spoon, large plugs, buck tails, parachute, hopkins, jigs
(Drifting ): Flounder, live eels, bergauls, black fish, clams, squid, porgies, fluke


Can Be Found: At the bottom of ledges or holes
Caught: Drifting or trolling
Time Caught: Moving water in the summer
Bait: (Trolling): Lures, umbrella rigs, bunker, spoon, large plugs, buck tails, parachute, hopkins, jigs
(Drifting): Flounder, live eels, bergauls, black fish, clams, squid, porgies, fluke
Hook: Carlisle, long shank 4/0 5/0 6/0 7/0 8/0,
Snappers: Bridgeport, snapper hook 1/0 1, 2, 3

dingy-at-sunsetAdditional environmental links:

The Clean Marina Program
A voluntary, incentive-based program promoted by NOAA, AMI and others. This website has information for marina operators and recreational boaters to educate in the protection of coastal water quality and to promote clean boating.

Sea Grant Link
The New York Sea Grant (NYSG)is a statewide network of integrated research, education, and extension services promoting the wise use and protection of marine and Great Lakes resources.

Boating and Marina Best Management Practices
Best Management Practices, or BMPs, are buzzwords being used more and more when people are talking about environmental protection and water quality. This is just one of many links available through the Sea Grant site containing a vast source of information.

beachNo Discharge Zone
Laws, tips and other information avaiable toward the disposal of sewage. Without proper consideration, this is harmful to human health and water quality and could gravely effect infect people who swim in such contaminated waters.