What Every Boat Owner Should Know

This page last reviewed April 22, 1999

Cleaner Air & Water in 2001


Cleaner watercraft, cleaner air, cleaner water

In December 1998, the California Air Resources Board adopted standards to reduce smog-forming exhaust emissions from outboard motors and personal watercraft. The standards:

  • Require cleaner engines. Beginning with 2001 models, new outboard engines, personal watercraft and jet boats must be 75% cleaner. By 2008, they must be 90% cleaner. Some of today's engines already meet the 2001 standards.

  • Do not restrict boating on lakes or rivers. Water agencies manage access to lakes, rivers and reservoirs to protect or improve drinking water supplies. The new cleaner-burning engines could help ensure continued recreational use of many waterways.

  • Do not ban the use or sale of any existing outboard engines or personal watercraft. The standards are based on exhaust emission levels and do not ban any engine type or technology.

  • Do not restrict the sales of any type of new outboard engine or personal watercraft prior to 2001. Starting in 2001, pre-2001 engines can still be traded in or sold without restriction.

  • Do not apply to stern drive, inboard or diesel engines.

Some engines pollute more
Carbureted 2-stroke engines exhaust up to 30% of their fuel unburned. Although the exhaust may go into the water, some of it ends up in the air and can form smog. Other substances remain in the water and can threaten drinking water supplies.

Cleaner engines benefit everyone
You don't have to wait until 2001 to buy a cleaner engine. Direct-injected 2-stroke and 4-stroke engines that meet the 2001 standard are already on the market. They offer: Reduced air and water pollution for a healthier environment Improved fuel economy (cleaner engines will burn 30-40 % less gas and oil).

Look for the star label
Starting with 2001 models, new engines will be labeled based on exhaust emission levels. The level shown on the label low, very low or ultra low emissions will help consumers shopping for an engine or watercraft. The label may also be used by water agencies to identify engines clean enough for use on local lakes and rivers.

Get the Facts
For more information, contact:

California Air Resources Board
P.O. Box 2815
Sacramento, CA 95812
(800) END-SMOG (363-7664 USA only)
(916) 322-2990

Marine Engine Program