Good news, cruisers! Free mobile pumpout options in the San Juan Islands continue to expand — Port of Lopez is now operating a seasonal mobile pumpout service.

A new sewage pumpout boat is providing free service to recreational boaters in the San Juan Islands. The Port of Lopez received a grant in 2021 from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to build an electric powered pumpout vessel. A separate grant from the Washington State Parks Clean Vessel Act Grant Program is supporting the operations and maintenance of the vessel, along with financial backing from the Port.

Named Blackwater, the vessel has already provided several pumpouts despite only being in service since mid-August.

“We’re thrilled to assist the Port in establishing this new service and hope to see others like it in the region,” said Catherine Buchalski Smith, Clean Vessel Act Grant Program manager. “The Port of Lopez looks forward to providing a service that will help to protect the surrounding waters of Lopez Island and the Salish Sea. We are very grateful to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Washington Clean Vessel Act Grant Program for making it possible to purchase and operate this vessel.” 

Fisherman Bay on Lopez Islands. Image courtesy of Google.

Pumpout services are free to recreational vessels, but boaters must call to make an appointment ahead of time. Boaters can request a pumpout appointment by email (, phone at (360) 504-7982, or by hailing VHF channel 78.

In addition to funding the construction and ongoing operation of pumpout and dump stations across the state, the Clean Vessel Act Grant Program funds Pumpout Washington – a boater education initiative managed by Washington Sea Grant. Introducing and informing boaters about how and where to pumpout their boat’s holding tank is the key to maintaining local water quality.

Washington Sea Grant provides educational outreach to boaters on marina docks during summer months and provides boaters with a variety of helpful tools, such as the free pumpout adapter and a new video on the Pumpout Washington website demonstrating how to use the more than 140 free public pumpout facilities in the state. A free mobile phone app, PumpoutNav, is another popular tool helping boaters locate the nearest pumpout or dump station, from Washington to California.


About the Washington State Clean Vessel Act Grant Program The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission administers the state’s Clean Vessel Act (CVA) Grant Program, which provides funding for the construction, renovation, operation and maintenance of sewage disposal systems serving recreational boaters and educational programs that inform boaters about the importance of proper sewage disposal. Funding comes from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund through a nationally competitive process administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

About Washington Sea Grant Washington Sea Grant is based within the College of the Environment at the University of Washington and helps people and marine life thrive through research, technical expertise and education supporting the responsible use and conservation of coastal ecosystems. The National Sea Grant College Program is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 

About Washington State Parks The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission manages more than 100 state parks and properties totaling approximately 120,000 acres. The Commission provides a variety of recreation opportunities for citizens and provides stewardship protection for a diverse array of natural, cultural and historic resources. State Parks’ statewide programs include long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation.


Press release submitted by Washington State Parks. 

Title background image of Fisherman Bay by Andy Cross.