The discharge of untreated "sewage" from boats into waters of the state is prohibited by both state law (Florida Litter Law - 403.413, F.S.) and federal law (Clean Water Act). Note, graywater is not considered "sewage" in the law. Therefore, the discharge of graywater from boats into the sea around Florida is currently not prohibited. The law defines graywater from boats as "galley (kitchen), bath, and shower water."
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the cruise industry on December 6, 2001, regarding sewage discharges from cruise ships.
The Florida Clean Ocean Act, Section 376.25, F.S., was enacted in July 2008. The act directed the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to implement a registration program for gambling vessels. The department developed and adopted Chapter 62-606 F.A.C., Releases from Gambling Vessels, on April 4, 2010. The rule requires owners/operators of gambling vessels to register with DEP and report releases of wastes into Florida coastal waters. It also requires waterfront landing facilities (berths) to provide certain waste services and requires the department to provide an estimate of the minimum waste-service demand for each berth on its website.
There are also areas in state waters that have been designated as No Discharge Zones (NDZ). A NDZ prohibits the discharge of any sewage, whether treated or not, from a vessel into these state waters. In Florida, there are NDZs near Fort Walton Beach and around the Florida Keys.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.