View Full Version : Effect of inboard engines on water quality

10-10-2007, 10:58 AM
I am in the process of proposing a ski club to the local parks department and their paramount concern is water quality. Currently, there are no gas powered motors allowed on the lakes.
Does anyone have information on inboard engine emissions and hydrocarbons? I dont know much about engines and exhaust but I'm sure some of the more mechanically inclined can chime in.

I have received the USA Waterski manual and its helpful but most of the studies are from the 60's and involve outboard motors. Does anyone know of more recent studies conducted on newer engines? Thanks

east tx skier
10-10-2007, 11:12 AM
I'd suggest posting this on www.thewaterskiforum.com. You'll have the info by day's end I'd suspect.

10-10-2007, 11:29 AM
als where in the north east are you?

10-10-2007, 11:44 AM
As long as your not filling up with gas in the water there should be little enviromental impact. The boat sucks up water goes through cooling system and spits it back out. The exhaust also exits same area but I have noticed in older boats some of the exhaust smoke mixes with the water to produce some black soot that floats and sticks to the waterline on the boat. I don't know how impactful this is??

10-10-2007, 11:51 AM
East Tx, Its up on Thewaterskiforum as well. thanks.

DMayer, I'm in Rockland county, ski on greenwood lake.

roonie, My sense of it was the same, but apparently there is thought that gas powered motors will emit pollution into the water. If anyone can describe to me the way the fuel and exhaust is discharged I can fully understand the polltion effects.

10-10-2007, 11:52 AM
If you submit and still run into issues, you may be able to look more into the new catalatic (spelling?) convertor equipped engines. I think Indmar has some 3 letter acronym for it.

This would probably be better on the environment (their ad is green), and a last ditch effort to for approval if they shoot you down. May require upgrading the manifolds / or worst case, the boat, but if that's what it takes, that's what it takes....

10-10-2007, 12:09 PM
I'm pretty sure all engines still emit a small amount of unburnt fuel. That is going to end up in the water. Everything else should be a gas that would bubble out of the water.

10-10-2007, 12:14 PM
Contact the Mastercraft dealer in Port Jefferson, NY. I stopped in there last month, and they were telling me about their attempts to open a waterski complex in Calverton, Long Island. One of the hoops they had to jump through was a water quality test. Apparently they did this and it showed very minimal impact. The government wants them to line the lake because of a feared impact to aquafir.

They might be able to help, and they are close.

10-10-2007, 12:40 PM
Educated guess that the emissions from running a couple on inboards in on lake is negligible. While inboards and the new four-stroke outboards and E-Tech Evinrudes are not the cleanest, they are a far cry from days gone by. EPA site might have some decent information or you might want to try and contact the manufacturers directly. I suspect that the lake in question is at a much greater risk from acid rain than engine use.

Keep in mind that gasoline is highly volatile and evaporates quickly off of the surface of water. Remediation of gasoline contamination of groundwater typically involves pumping water into a lake or stream where the gas will sit on the surface and evaporate.

On the plus side boats will improve the oxygenation of water especially during the hot summer months.

Ski clubs can have a positive impact in a community. Park usage goes up which is a good thing for the parks department when it comes time for budgets.

Before submitting your proposal take some time to sell it to the head of the parks department and also to town council members privately. Find out what objections they might have before you take it before an official council or board meeting. This gives you an opportunity to educate and address concerns in an informal setting.

Good luck.

10-10-2007, 12:53 PM
you might have a independent lab conduct water sample tests at various times of the year, then get a temp permit to run your boat for 30-60 days and provide a follow up sample.

finding other lakes with positive results on this issue would be a big plus.

10-10-2007, 01:10 PM
Water quality impact is only part of the equation. These organizations are often more concerned about overall LAKE quality. Minnesota has a DNR lake classification called "enviromental lakes" where access is limited and no motors are allowed. Rather than the effect of hydrocarbon pollution (which is low) the rationale actually has much more to do with waves causing shoreline erosion, propeller effect on vegetation, effect on migratory waterfowl, etc. IOW, the physical effects of boats with motors on the habitat rather play a bigger role than the chemical effects of their combustion byproducts.

YMMV, but you'd be facing an uphill battle here in Minnesota. It may be better if you're dealing with a smaller governmental entity such as in your area, but certainly the national trend is increased separation of internal combustion vehicles and natural habitat. Your success is going to depend, in large part, on the physicial nature of the lake....ie its susceptibility to erosion, wildlife patterns, vegetation patterns, human shoreline habitation, etc. Good luck.