How to Pump Out Your Holding Tanks (and get rid of pesky smells)

Boaters share a common desire to play in and on sparkling clean waters. Growth in boating is placing an additional environmental on crowded recreational waters. Good environmental citizenship will help ensure our continued delight in clean waters.

How to pump out holding tanks:

  1. Remove the cover from the sanitation service discharge. This cover typically uses a locking mechanism; it may screw on or be held in place by another type of closure. The discharge port on your boat will be clearly marked, typically with the word “Waste.” After opening the discharge port, it is highly recommended to wear rubber gloves.
  2. Lower the collection hose into the boat waste compartment. Depending on the type of pump out being used, the hose may either suction directly onto the top of the waste compartment, or need to be lowered to the bottom of the tank. Either way, you will need to insert the hose until the hose valve and cover are in place over the discharge port, and the sight glass is readily visible.
  3. It is helpful to have an assistant on the dock to operate the pump and the emergency shut down switch for the pump. To start the actual pumping out, you will need to open the valve on the hose.
  4. Once the valve is open, you will see waste moving through the sight glass on the hose. Continue pumping until you no longer see waste in the sight glass.
  5. Be sure to close the hose valve to prevent any back flow from the hose. Once closed, you can signal your assistant to stop the pump.
  6. Remove the hose from the discharge port and pass it to your assistant, who should then place the suction-end of the hose into a bucket of clear water and turn on the pump for 15 seconds to rinse the hose.
  7. The assistant must close the hose valve before removing the suction-end of the hose from the bucket and shut down the pump. Secure the hose at the pump out station and replace the cap on the cover on the sanitation service discharge.

Please note – if using a portable pump out station at your boat, it is common courtesy to dispose of your waste into the larger waste container so that it is empty and ready for the next person to use.

If your holding tank develops an unfavorable smell, click here and here for ways to banish those pesky odors.

Happy Boating!

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