Keeping sewage out of our seas with: Boatfolk

Pump-out facility by Boatfolk 

From the bilge to the heads, every boat produces wastewater. Often mixed with harmful, toxic or non-biodegradable substances, discharging waste directly into the water releases harmful bacteria and pathogens into our marine environments. 

We speak with Boatfolk about their nifty new mobile pump-out facility and their campaign for encouraging more boaters to make use of blackwater removal systems...


Blackwater contamination is one of the single biggest contributors to ocean pollution attributed to the boating community. The release of foul water into the marine environment can have devastating effects on local wildlife, not to mention creating an unpleasant environment for leisure activities; no one wants to swim, paddle or surf through sewage waste!

One untreated flush from a boat has 250,000 times more bacteria than one which has gone through the treatment process. What’s more, sewage contributes to low oxygen (hypoxic) areas referred to as dead zones, where marine life can’t survive and ecosystems collapse.  As gateways to the water, marinas play a vital role in tackling this issue, and the provision of adequate pump-out facilities is crucial to the sustainable future of our industry.


Pumpy McPumpface mobile pump-out at Boatfolk


Our progress on pump-out facilities

At boatfolk, we recognise the responsibility we have to our marine environment and have created our own internal focus on black water, our Pump Out Objective (POO for short). Several our marinas already have pump out facilities, but the implementation of new infrastructure can prove a logistically challenging, time-consuming and costly project. Through POO, we have highlighted the issue and challenged our marina teams to innovate around the provision of pump-out options across our 11 sites.

It was from this challenge that one novel idea was born. Introducing “Pumpy McPumpface”, our very own mobile pump-out boat based out of Haslar Marina in Portsmouth Harbour.

Pumpy McPumpface

Using the ingenuity and skill of our own boatcare engineers, we refitted one of our Haslar work boats to install a hand-operated pump and holding tank to allow our teams to take black water emptying facilities to our customers’ boats and to empty their tanks for them. All the waste collected can then be emptied into our marina waste facilities and disposed of appropriately and safely.


Pumpy McPumpface at Boatfolk


To make use of this service boatfolk berth holders simply notify the Marina Office and make a voluntary £5 donation which goes towards environmental causes. The Haslar Marina crew will then embark on empyting the customer’s holding tank during the following week.

Pumpy McPumpface has been well received by berth holders:

Graham Armitage, berth holder comments,

“Just experienced the new Haslar service, the black water pump out mounted on a workboat. Brilliant idea, I didn’t have to be present or do anything except turn my yacht as the pump out is on the stern. Made a small charitable contribution to a local charity, well worth it. Thanks guys!”

By offering a hassle-free blackwater pump out service, boatfolk hope to make a difference with our collective efforts to decrease pollution caused by leisure boats.


Pumpy McPumpface pump-out facility at Boatfolk


Managing Director of boatfolk, Michael Prideaux, comments,

“We take our environmental responsibilities very seriously, and as a business based on and around the water, we focus our efforts on improving the marine environment. We want to do all we can to educate and engage with our customers, to dissuade boats pumping untreated blackwater into the marine environment. We recognise there is a lack of facilities at UK marinas currently and we are passionate about leading the way. Haslar Marina is a prime destination for boaters, and we are looking forward to providing easy, cost-free pump out solutions to our customers.”

Ben Lippiett, Haslar Marina Manager, adds,

“We’re thrilled to offer this service for our berth holders at Haslar Marina. We knew that our efforts needed to be redoubled in this area, as many leisure vessels are responsible for discharging polluting blackwater into our marine environment. Through people and our places, we hope to inspire and influence people to make positive changes.”