Maritime Environmental Regulations 101

The regulatory environment can be a bit confusing – many clients ask us about the different regulatory bodies and what they govern.  While we can’t cover everything in a blog post, we’ll outline the main framework for the regulatory environment.

Where Does Maritime Environmental Regulation Come From?

Environmental regulations on the water come from a number of sources, many of which have different jurisdiction. You’ll need to get familiar with all of them in order to ensure you’re always operating within compliance. The top of the hierarchy is the International Maritime Organization (IMO), followed by regional regulation (such as the European Union), followed by federal regulation coming from a country (such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency – EPA), then the state (such as Florida Department of Environmental Protection) and finally local regulation (such as Broward County’s Environmental Protection and Growth Management Department).turtle-1593875_1920

As a boater, it is your duty to ensure you’re always within compliance for every one of these regulators. Environmental regulations exist for good reason – to minimize the negative impact on our marine environments. In most cases it is punishable by law to act against these environmental safeguards – not knowing is not a valid excuse in the eyes of the law.

We understand that staying compliant can still be a little tricky due to the nature of regulations. Regulations change often as new legislation is made and new research and data point to new needs requiring attention. This is part of what we do here at Total Marine Solutions. We take care of all of the research and stay on top of all new regulations so you don’t have to spend time figuring everything out. We can provide you with up-to-the-minute details on both environmental and safety regulations to keep you comfortably compliant! Our aim is to help the environment while helping ship owners and operates meet regulations in ways the most efficient ways for their businesses.


Maritime Regulation Resources


International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS)

International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL)

Other conventions…



Transportation Equipment Cleaning Effluent Guidelines

Regulations for Emissions from Marine Vessels

Incidental Discharge Permitting

Vessel Sewage Discharges

Vessel General Permit


United States Coast Guard (USCG)

Marine Sanitation Devices


U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

The Clean Vessel Act


Florida Department of Environmental Protection


Aquatic Animal Damage Valuation

Wastewater Facility and Activities Permitting

And more…


Florida-Specific Environmental Concerns

Seagrass Protection


Total Marine Solutions






01-20-2017 at 9:49