Sean Smith, 415-544-0790, ext. 19
San Francisco, CA – With the boating season just around the corner, many of America’s lakes and waterways are experiencing less pollution as the marine industry adopts cleaner technology. But despite changing consumer demand and regulatory efforts, manufacturers such as Yamaha and Bombardier continue to mass produce dirty two-stroke engines. Supporters of Bluewater Network – a division of Friends of the Earth are urging these companies to end two-stroke production. More than 1500 boaters and anglers have sent letters to Yamaha and Bombardier demanding an end of the two-stroke era.
“The boating public is exerting economic pressure on Yamaha and Bombardier to join the 21st century and drop obsolete two-stroke technology,” said Sean Smith, Bluewater Network’s public lands director. “Boating enthusiasts no longer have to choose between clean waterways and enjoying their sport. With engine advancements like four-stroke technology we can have both.”
Bluewater Network has worked with the marine industry for years to end the production of highly polluting two-stroke engines and replace them with cleaner and quieter four-stroke models. Manufacturers such as Honda are developing a full line of four-stroke marine outboard engines that are in many case 95 percent cleaner than comparable two-stroke versions. Many dealers, which just a few years ago had few vessels with advanced technology, now prominently display a wide variety of engines with low emissions certifications.
Two-stroke engines represent outdated technology, and by design dump 25 to 30 percent of their gas and oil fuel mixture unburned into the environment. This pollution has a detrimental impact upon aquatic plants, fish and other marine wildlife, and public health. Waterways such as Lake Tahoe in California and Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Nevada have prohibited two-stroke motors.
Studies conducted since these bans reveal that levels of pollutants such as benzene and MTBE have dropped significantly. National Park Service studies at Lake Mead found that on a busy weekend day, two-stroke jetskis and boats dumped approximately 27,000 gallons of unburned fuel into the lake. Over the next couple of years, the Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board will tighten emissions standards, resulting in production of even more clean engines.