Best Practices

The health of the Hudson River has come a long way in the past few decades. The Croton Yacht Club supports the efforts of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in safeguarding the river. 

The Yacht Club operates in strict compliance with the Storm Water Pollution Prevention (SWPP) program regulating marina operations. Rules and regulations are communicated annually to all boaters and compliance is monitored by all officers.

In its commitment to complying with regulatory issues, the Yacht Club established a “Regulatory Compliance Committee Chairman” whose responsibility is to keep the membership aware of all current and new marine related regulatory rules and regulations as well as to be a consultant and enforcer of these rules. The rules are as follows:


Oil Changing Practice

  1. Change Oil at beginning of season before launching vessel or at end after removal
  2. Pump or drain oil into sealable container. Utilize spill pad under container to contain any spillage.
  3. Drain oil filter and bag for proper disposal.
  4. Waste oil must be transported to an approved recycling center. Used oil is not to be left or stored on CYC property.
  5. When performing engine maintenance if oil, gas or diesel gets into the bilge, soak up all floating petroleum with sorbent pads to remove ALL free floating liquid before pumping bilge out. 
  6. All boats greater than 25 ft are required to have a sign regarding oil pollution control regulations in the engine compartment (Coast Guard).


  1. No used oil can be placed in dumpster
  2. Empty oil containers need caps replaced and recycled
  3. Close cover on dumpster after putting garbage in it.
  4. If the cover will not close move things around so that it will.
  5. If liquid is seen draining from dumpster notify club officer
  6. If fuel or oil filters are changed they need to be fully drained and sealed in plastic bag and taken off-site for disposal.
  7. Empty paint containers need top to be resealed and carefully placed upright in bottom of dumpster or bring them home for recycling.
  8. Any containers with paint remaining need to be removed from the Marina and disposed of at local Hazardous Material location.
  9. No boat batteries should be left by anyone; they cannot be thrown away or recycled by the Club.  Bring them with you to the place of purchase. 
  10. If absorbent pads or booms are used in maintenance or in cleaning any oil/gas/diesel, they should be placed in a sealed plastic bag before placing them in the dumpster.


  1. Trash Collection around boat storage should be continual (if you see wood, nails, screws, bottles, caps, rope or other garbage under or around your boat and trailer, pick it up)
  2. Any loose garbage floating up to docks or ramps should be collected whenever it shows up and thrown away.
  3. Tarps used for boat covering should not be frayed and if so should be removed and discarded.
  4. Cutting of pressure treated lumber leaves large amounts of chromium and arsenic laden material ready to be blown in the basin.  Institute a procedure to sweep, vacuum or collect this.  Bag it and place it in the dumpster.

Yard Boat Maintenance:

  1. Hull scraping and repainting must be performed with a tarp to collect paint chips. All paint chips must be bagged, sealed and disposed of in the dumpster.
  2. Hull washing cannot be performed on ramps that allow water to drain back into the basin or River.  Washing should be performed on an unpaved area and if any scraping is included a tarp needs to be placed under the boat.
  3. Do not use cleaners that contain ammonia, sodium, chlorinated solvents, petroleum distillates or lye.  Substitute chemical cleaners with natural cleaners such as; vinegar, citric juices, borax and baking soda. 
  4. Hull repair such as caulking, scraping, fiberglassing or brush painting should be performed in the yard in a designated location with proper ground covering.    
  5. No sandblasting will be performed in the yard without permission of the Commodore.  Strict procedures are required beyond those of more typical maintenance and extreme care needs to be taken to prevent waste from entering the Basin or River.
  6. Fueling should be performed using a hand pump or spout can.  Directly pouring fuel into a boat from a funnel or directly into the fill opening is prohibited.  Anytime fueling is performed a sorbent pad should be placed beneath the vent or fill to catch any overfill or spill.  There is absolutely no fueling allowed inside of the marina basin.
  7. Flammable storage container labeled properly for all gas and diesel cans.

In-Water Boat Maintenance:

  1. Scraping of any boat with a painted hull is prohibited while in the water. 
  2. Only brush cleaning of tops, sides and bottoms of boats are allowed while in the water. 
  3. Only use biodegradable or phosphate cleaners on decks. Have sorbents and containment on board when performing even minor maintenance of fuel lines, system, etc.
  4. Keep supply of sorbent pads for use in bilge to prevent sheen from being pumped out of bilge during dock storage.

Recycling of Used Materials:

  1. Shrink wrap can be saved and stored for use by anyone performing bottom work.  After it is used it should be rolled up to prevent paint chips and other waste from falling out and securely put in the dumpster where the wind will not open it up. 
  2. All bottles, cans and EMPTY oil containers can be placed in the container labeled “RECYCLABLES”.  If the container is full, do not leave anything on the ground next to it, bring it home. 
  3. Previously mentioned car/boat batteries cannot be recycled by the club and cannot be stored in the yard, take them home.
  4. All rope and cord should be rolled up, tied and placed in the dumpster or taken home. 


Spillage — Reportable Incidents:

Any spillage of gasoline or diesel that cannot be completely captured and contained immediately should be reported to a club officer.  Reporting is not a punishable offense (not reporting is a very serious offense); it is an attempt to gain control of any seemingly small incidents that could be a major Regulatory problem if an inspector sees or notices them.  Inspectors are trained to see all signs of petroleum spills and they are very obvious to the trained eye. 

Overview of Spillage Requirements:

  • What is a spill?
  • What do I do if I see or create a spill? 
  • How do I cleanup a spill?
  • Who do I inform and When?
  • What Hazmat/Spill equipment is available?
  • What information do I need to Report?
  • Why is it better to Report a spill rather than ignore it? 

Spill Reporting Procedures:

What should be reported and what is a spill defined as?

Spills include: all types of petroleum, motor oil, gasoline, diesel, transmission fluid, hydraulic fluid, as well as antifreeze, paints, thinners and battery acid.  Basically any chemical you cannot drink should be considered among those materials that should not be dumped on the ground or in the River.

How much is considered a spill?

The State of New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) consider anything that is not able to be immediately cleaned up to be a potential spill.  This includes into waters of the State as well as on the ground; one important reason why it is so important to address any release, leak or spill immediately.

What do I do if I spill something that I can completely pick up?

Land:  If it is less than 5 gallons, immediately stop the leak from spreading by putting sorbent pads on or around the liquid, use soil from the local area to prevent further spread of the spill by making a berm,  scoop up the spill/pads/soil and put it in a sealed garbage bag (double bag), place the bag in the dumpster without making a hole in the bag (DO NOT PLACE GASOLINE IN THE DUMPSTER), immediately contact a club officer to notify them of the incident and what was done for cleanup.  The key and most important thing to do is cover and surround the spill to prevent it from reaching the water.  Use whatever is available in the area to contain the spill, then pick it up and place it in a bag. 

Water:  Immediately stop the release, place sorbent pads on the spill and if necessary surround the spill with the containment booms located in the storage trailer, collect the pads when the sheen has been absorbed and place them in a water tight garbage bag, follow the same procedures as above.  Always notify a club officer with specific information.  Do not hesitate to ask for help from other members.

What do I do if a spill cannot be cleaned up or is too large?

Land:  Immediately place sorbents on spill, soil or booms around the spill to prevent or slow its spread as much as possible, call for assistance from anyone available, call or have someone call a club officer immediately,  do not leave the area until an officer arrives at the scene.

Do whatever you can to prevent anything from reaching the basin or River.  The following emergency number should only be used in the event that the spill cannot be stopped, is reaching the River or there is imminent danger of fire and a club officer cannot be reached:

Emergency numbers:

NYSDEC 24 hr emergency hotline: 1-800-457-7362  (The call will be recorded.)

Coast Guard Emergency number: 1-800-424-8802

IMPORTANT:  Calling these numbers initiates a Spill Response action from NYSDEC or the Coast Guard and they should only be used by members and associates as a last resort.  Spills should be reported to club officers first and an assessment will be made regarding additional notification.

Information that you should be ready to provide to an officer includes the following:

  1. Your  name
  2. Date and time of the incident or discovery
  3. Where the incident or discovery took place
  4. Type of material spilled or discovered
  5. Source of the problem (i.e. boat name, dumpster, etc)
  6. Approximate or estimated volume of material spilled, size of the container and how much remains in that container or the size of the area of ground that is impacted (stained)
  7. Was the spill able to be contained and completely cleaned up, what materials were used, where was the affected material placed (i.e. soil, sorbents, bagged and in dumpster, etc)
  8. Names of others assisting in the cleanup
  9. What Club officer was contacted

Important Notes:

  1. Spills are considered accidental and reporting a spill is not a punishable offense, however, not reporting is a very serious State and Federal offense.   
  2. Trained inspectors can easily identify signs of a release long after they have occurred and so not reporting it does not mean it will go unnoticed. 
  3. Immediate action to clean up a small problem can prevent the need for reporting saving the Club significant costs later 
  4. Costs related to State mandated investigations can cost $30,000 - $50,000 and spill cleanup under a State program can cost hundreds of thousands of $ so the importance of handling any incident as soon as humanly possible cannot be overstated.

Materials that could be potentially used in the event of a release:

  • Dirt from the yard can be shoveled on a puddle or used to make a berm to prevent spread.
  •  If speedy dry is available use it to absorb and prevent spread.
  • Use a 5 gal. Bucket to catch liquid.
  • Tarps or shrink wrap can be used to wrap up soil and then bagged for placement in the dumpster. 
  • Sorbent pads booms and other materials made especially for collecting spills (note that the sorbent pads at the Club will not work for water based spills such as battery acid, anti-freeze, etc).

Equipment currently located in the Trailer:

  • 200 Oil Mats (15 in. X 20in.) 
  • 6 Spaghetti Booms (5 in X 20 ft)
  • 25 Bilge Sump Logs (3 in X 18 in)
  • Spill Cart Stocked with various pads and material
  • After using any of these materials the cost must be reimbursed for restocking.