Moderated Discussion Areas
  ContinuousWave: The Whaler GAM or General Area
  Two-Stroke Outboard Restrictions

Post New Topic  Post Reply
search | FAQ | profile | register | author help

Author Topic:   Two-Stroke Outboard Restrictions
jimh posted 04-30-2005 09:39 AM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
Confusion Over Two-Stroke Restrictions

There are two levels of constraint which affect high-emission traditional two-stroke outboard motors:

The MANUFACTURERS are constrained by regulations in the U.S.A. which limit them to a certain allowance of engine emissions across their whole product line. This has a different impact on each manufacturer because the degree to which they can sell high-emission engines depends on how low emission their low-emission engines are, and also on their product line mix. BOMBARDIER is in a unique position because its low-emission engines are very low emission, and therefore they have the ability to continue to sell some high-emission engines. They may be able to have a product mix which includes more high-emission engines than other manufacturers. Also these allowances are computed on some rolling average or weighted basis which may also work in BOMBARDIER's favor, as they have been selling very low emission engines for some time. All of these types of restraints are sales restrictions.

The OWNER/OPERATOR of a boat is constrained by regulations imposed by local authorities which limit the bodies of water on which high-emission outboard motors can be used. Some authorities have placed limits on some bodies of water. This is nothing new, as local authorities have been placing restrictions on use on bodies of water for years. For example, some lakes have limits on horsepower. Some have limits on time of day. Some now have limits on what type of motor you can use, restricting high-emission engines or banning them entirely. These are use restrictions.

In CALIFORNIA, the use restrictions are common. I don't really know precisely what the sales restrictions are. If you live in California they affect you, but if you don't live there they do not affect you. People who live and boat in California should check the California regulations, but don't confuse them with nationwide regulations.

The confusion about sales restrictions and use restrictions for two-stroke motors (both high-emission and low-emission) is widespread. Many boaters are misinformed and believe there has been some nationwide restriction placed on both the sale and use of two-stroke motors. BOMBARDIER is spending significant money trying to eradicate this misunderstanding about two-stroke engines.

Fighting against the spread of actual fact on this topic are the many salesmen at dealers who sell only four-stroke engines. They tell their customers stories or tales to mislead them about the status of two-stroke engines. This is a very widespread problem. As seen above, boater who otherwise appear to be quite well informed have been confused by this topic.

jimh posted 04-30-2005 10:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
More on use restrictions in CALIFORNIA:


Surprisingly, there are only 11 lakes in California with use restrictions for high-emission engines.

I tried to locate authoritative information on Sale Restrictions in California. I know they have a California Air Resources Board (CARB) "star" rating system in place as follows:

One Star - Low Emission
The one-star label identifies engines that meet the CARB's 2001 exhaust emission standards. Engines meeting these standards have 75% lower emissions than conventional carbureted 2-stroke engines. These engines are equivalent to the U.S. EPA's 2006 standards for marine engines.

Two Stars - Very Low Emission
The two-star label identifies engines that meet the CARB's 2004 exhaust emission standards. Engines meting these standards have 20% lower emissions than One Star - Low Emission engines.

Three Stars - Ultra Low Emission
The three-star label identifies engines that meet the CARB's 2008 exhaust emission standards. Engines meeting these standards have 65% lower emissions than One Star - Low Emission engines

However, I could not locate any direct information on what the current status of sales restrictions are in California. If someone has a good URI for this information please post it. I am looking for direct information, i.e., from a State of California website, and not some re-hash on another boating forum or website. Thanks.

Sheila posted 04-30-2005 02:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for Sheila  Send Email to Sheila     

You might find this lengthy report to be interesting reading:

Reading the first 25 pages or so, I found the following tidbits:

California 2001 standards for two-stroke marine engines are equal to EPA 2006 standards for two-stroke marine engines.

California 2008 standards for two-stroke marine engines are for emissions 65 percent lower than EPA 2006 standards for two-stroke marine engines.

The document linked above is pretty interesting reading, containing public (read "manufacturers'") comments about the proposed regulations and the ARB's responses.

Barry posted 04-30-2005 02:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for Barry  Send Email to Barry     
Check out the following:
California Code of Regulations,
Title 13: Motor Vehicles,
Division 3. Air Resources Board,
Chapter 9. Off-Road Vehicles and Engines Pollution Control Devices
Article 4.7. Spark-Ignition Marine Engines
ยง2442. Emission Standards
(a) Model year 2001 and later model year spark-ignition personal watercraft and outboard marine engines:
(1) Exhaust emissions from new spark-ignition marine engines manufactured for sale, sold, or offered for sale in California, or that are introduced, delivered or imported into California for introduction into commerce must not exceed the hydrocarbon plus oxides of nitrogen (HC+NOx) exhaust emission standards listed in Table 1 during its designated useful life


I believe I read that the useful life of an outboard is 16 years.

Sheila posted 04-30-2005 02:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for Sheila  Send Email to Sheila     
It's not well worded in the link [above], but I believe that beginning in 2001, new two-stroke marine outboard and PWC motors had to meet the one-star criteria. In 2004, the two-star criteria applied. In 2008, the three-star criteria will apply.

Note though, that according the the actual statute that Barry provided, nothing prohibits the sale of used motors that do not meet these standards. It also appears that nothing prohibits a private party from purchasing a noncompliant motor in say, Arizona, Nevada, or Oregon and then bringing it in to California.

jimh posted 05-01-2005 07:45 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Thanks for the link into the State of California regulations. It does not take you quite to the exactly applicable line of the regulations. But that is the information I was seeking. In California it is against the law after 2001 to sell NEW outboards that are not in compliance with the emission standards. For some reason it does not seem possible to hyperlink directly to it.
jimh posted 05-01-2005 08:00 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
OK, finally, here is a direct link to the applicable restrictions on the sale of new outboard motors in California:

jimh posted 05-01-2005 11:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The bottom line on sales restrictions: if you can buy a high-emission two-stroke outboard then there must not be a sales restriction in effect.

Are there other bodies of water besides those in California which have use restrictions for high-emission two-stroke engines?

Sheila posted 05-01-2005 02:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for Sheila  Send Email to Sheila     
Thank you for distilling out and reposting the key points of this topic.

I am confused by the concept of using an average emission level for all a manufacturer's engines. It appears, based on the regulation that you posted, that California has significantly "tweaked" that concept. For example, it reads:

"No individual engine family FEL shall exceed the maximum allowed as specified in Table 1."

I'd be curious as to the opinions of those members who are fluent in legalese as to exactly what that means.

jimh posted 05-01-2005 03:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Here is my interpretation:

Table 1 gives values of emission versus year versus measurement category.

The values of emissions are the amount of HC+NOx emission, which is "hydrocarbon plus oxides of nitrogen" to be measured in units of grams per kiloWatt hour. (A footnote gives a reference for the measurement technique to be used.) There are three possible limits which must be met.

The column marked FEL (Maximum Family Emission Limit) is the absolute maximum rate of emission that any engine in the "family" of engines (i.e., the family of engines produced and sold in California by a particular manufacturer) can operate at. A footnote explains how to calculate the FEL, but it is too complicated for me to explain.

The next two columns report emission limits (again in grams per kiloWatt hour) which are computed based on the value of Ptx.

Ptx is the average horsepower power of all the engines sold in California by the manufacturer during a year weighted according to their sales volume. If the value of Ptx is below 4.3 kW, you use a particular number from the table according to the year. If the value of Ptx is above 4.3 kW, you compute the value according to another formula which is given in the last column.

For an outboard manufacturer, in almost all cases they will be constrained by the value in the last column and also in the first column. It would be informative to work this out. Let's use a 100-KW average horsepower as an example (to make things easy) and compute the limit for 2001 using the formula given.

Assume that the average horsepower, weighted according to sales volume or predicted sales volume, of the all the outboard engines sold in California by a manufacturer during 2008 is 100kW. (100kW is about 135HP, so you will have to be selling a lot of 225-HP engines to get your average this high.) What is the pollution limit?

The formula is (0.09 x (151+557/Ptx0.9))+2.1. Plug in 100 and let's see what we get:

(0.09 x (151+557/100x0.9))+2.1
(0.09 x (151+557/90))+2.1
(0.09 x (151+6.19))+2.1
(0.09 x 157.19)+2.1
14.15 + 2.1
16.25 grams per kiloWatt hour

If you look at this formula, you see that as your average horsepower increases, the emission limit gets smaller. In other words, the formula gives smaller engines a slightly higher emission limit than larger engines.

What does this number mean to the typical environmentalist in California? Probably nothing. The typical California environmentalist just went to a cocktail party where she drank some inexpensive white wine that was too warm (and had some cork taint) while eating some shrimp that were undercooked and too cold. While she was there she wrote a check for $200 which she took off her taxes, and left feeling like she had struck a blow for clean air. The money funded an environmental lobby which created jobs for college graduates that couldn' t find any work in the movie or television industry, so they started a political action committee. The committee hired some lawyers who hired some lobbyists who met with the lobbyists hired by the lawyers who were hired by the manufacturers. Everybody agreed on the numbers some engineers worked out in the EPA in Washington. The engineers worked for the government at a decent wage but slightly below what they could make in the private sector because that $200 dollar donation that started this whole thing was tax deductible.

While all of this was going on, Mercury and Bombardier bought $200 worth of bauxite, which is basically dirt dug up from the earth. By applying their skill and engineering they smelted the bauxite into aluminum, then cast and forged the aluminum into ingots, sheets, bars, and other forms, which they machined into finished parts, which they assembled into outboard motors. This is what happens in a manufacturing company, they basically turn stuff you dig up out of the ground with a shovel into finished goods. This is called "value added." So instead of 530-pounds of dirt buried in some hole in the ground, they converted it into 530-pounds of Bombardier E-TEC or Mercury OptiMax outboard motor. In the process they created about 7,000 jobs in Wisconsin for all kinds of nice folks. Some of them are bachelor Norwegian farmers who drive Silverado pick-up trucks down from their family farm to work. When they get there they put on their safety glasses, grab a state of the art DC powered torque wrench and tighten bolts to precise tolerances on the outboard motors as they come by on a modern state of the art assembly line. After work they stop off at Mahon's bar and have some Leininkugel's Original and a bratwurst. When they get home their mother tells them they got an email from their niece, Crystal, who lives in California where she moved after she graduated from UW-Madison but couldn't find any work. Crystal mentions some nice people she met in the environmental movement at a cocktail party.

These two elements of our culture work in an equilibrium. If too many people in California go to too many cocktail parties and write too many checks for $200, eventually the plant in Wisconsin gets shut down and all the bachelor Norwegian farmers get laid off. (This just happened to the people who work for Mercury in St. Cloud, Florida.)

That is my interpretation of what this means.

jimh posted 05-01-2005 04:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The Table of Contents to TITLE 13 provides a good way to locate other applicable regulations:

If you browse through the listing for ARTICLE 4.7 SPARK IGNITION MARINE ENGINES, you will see some of the regulatory gobbledygook that manufacturers have to comply with just to sell engines in one state of our union. Imagine if all of the states decided to enact their own air pollution requirements and required manufacturers to obtain "Executive Orders" from the air pollution control board of their state before being certified as legal to sell outboard motors in that state.

You should read some of this stuff, and while you are reading, in the back of your mind imagine how much money was spent by Bombardier, Mercury, Honda, Yamaha, Nissan, Suzuki, Tohatsu, and others makers of off-road vehicle engines in order to get them certified for sale in California. All those expenses are now being recouped by those manufacturers in the form of higher prices for the outboard motors they sell.

One of my favorite parts is the section wherein the State of California requires the Department of Defense to notify it of all the vehicles it has operating in the State of California and what their emission levels are. If I ran the Department of Defense I would be tempted to send them the same reply that General McAuliffe of the 101st Airborne Division sent the Germans when they demanded he surrender when surrounded at the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944: "Nuts."

Sheila posted 05-01-2005 04:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for Sheila  Send Email to Sheila     
Thank you, Jim!

Though I must take exception to your characterization of California environmentalists. They don't all attend parties and write checks. Some choose to chain themselves to trees, instead.

HuronBob posted 05-01-2005 08:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for HuronBob    
Nice generalization of environmentalists. I'm sure they all fit that mold. Good job Jim.

I feel like the economy is safer now... I'll rest easier!

pvonk posted 05-01-2005 09:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for pvonk  Send Email to pvonk     
The confusion about 2-stroke restrictions have spread to the East coast. When I was in the market for a new Montauk last August and considering whether to get the 2-stroke or 4-stroke Merc options, I talked to some friends (locals) on Martha's Vineyard about the choice - I was planning to boat there last September (and did, a wonderful month it was!).

I was told that in a few years, only 4-strokes would be allowed in those waters. When back home in NY, I searched the web and ended up calling several marinas on the Vineyard to get clarification. Several managers told me it was true. I also called several harbor master offices. If I recall correctly, one confirmed the future restriction; the others hadn't heard of any restrictions. In time, I got to the bottom of things (mostly from posts on continuousWave, but at other sites as well). I was surprised at how misinformed people were about this issue. And these were "boating" people on an island known for it boating/fishing enthusiasts!

- Pierre

PS: I did get the 4-stroke and am happy with the choice. But, as I found out, there would be no restriction of 2-strokes, except for emissions requirements.

CHRISWEIGHT posted 05-02-2005 05:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for CHRISWEIGHT  Send Email to CHRISWEIGHT     
I would suggest we need to fight this crazy faction next will be 1000cc/electric cars and NO barbeque.

regards chris

HuronBob posted 05-02-2005 07:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for HuronBob    
Jim wrote: "Imagine if all of the states decided to enact their own air pollution requirements and required manufacturers to obtain "Executive Orders" from the air pollution control board of their state before being certified as legal to sell outboard motors in that state."

That is in interesting thought isn't it, Jim. We would then have an excellent example of State's rights. I found the following quote online, I would love to claim it as my own, but I'll acknowledge I didn't write this...

"Unfortunately, most Americans are too ignorant of their own history to understand that the United States isn't a democracy, but a union of representative republics. Anyone who bothers to actually read the U.S. Constitution will see clearly we are a union of sovereign states, each guaranteeing "a republican form of government." The idea of the founders was to have a strictly limited federal government, with the states handling the bulk of governmental matters (hence the constitution calling the federal government the "agent" of the states; a subordinate role for the federal government to the state governments.) The argument about State's Rights usually falls on deaf ears as being a "Southern thing" and an idea that died in the War Between the States. But that would only be true if the constitution died at the same time."

California has every right to mandate the quality of life in that state. The nice thing is, Jim, you do not have to go live there unless you agree. And, the manufacturers of outboards can make the same choice, they don't have to do business there. If those old farmers in Wisconsin can't figure out how to meet the mandates of the states that they want to do business in, well, I guess Darwin wins again.

I'm starting to think that this cold spring has caused some nasty envy for some of the folks in the midwest!

Personally, as I look around at an environment that we screw up more each day, I'm all for strict regulation in any matter that might save us from ourselves.

mikeyairtime posted 05-02-2005 08:15 AM ET (US)     Profile for mikeyairtime    
Do a little research on the California red sticker/ green sticker for off road vehicles. It will give you a very good idea of where this is going. There are currently no two stroke motorcycles over 50cc that are legal to ride on the street and two stroke dirt bikes have very limited seasons on public land(which can change anytime) in the winter durring the lowest pollution months. You can ride whatever you want whenever you want on a closed course. This program started in about 98 and the DMV is just now getting wise to who gets which sticker so it's no surprise the outboard rules are foggy. Honda experimented with a dirrect injected 250cc two stroke motorcycle several years ago and California snubbed its nose at it.
jimh posted 05-02-2005 08:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
A coalition of midwest states, say Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana for example, that were about the same size in terms of population and market as California, ought to form their own agency to establish regulations about celery. They could call it the Celery Authority Resources Board, or CARB. This board could enact its own standards for compliance for celery. Every piece of celery to be sold in these states would have to have an Executive Order from CARB certifying it was in compliance with the limits established by the CARB. Producers of celery would have to submit their products for testing and certification, before they could be sold in those states.

I wonder how that would go over with the folks in the celery business in California?

HuronBob posted 05-02-2005 08:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for HuronBob    
Jim... ummmm ...I guess Michigan could regulate about anything it wants to regulate, eh? As long as the citizens of Michigan determine that there is a pressing need to regulate celery, or wine, or tobacco, or any darn thing they please, they have a right to do it. If we regulate celery to the point that no one can meet our mandates, and we have to give up eating celery, and the people of the state don't care, then I guess all is well with the world (except for those bachelor Norwegian celery farmers)!

Perhaps the bottom line in this day and age is that Michigan, and much of the old rust belt, doesn't have a lot to stand on. We used to throw our weight around (our "weight" being the auto industry), but we lost a few pounds on that one when the import makers showed the world that they could make a better, car. I'm sure that the import outboard makers will find a way to meet the needs of the boaters in California while we sit around an complain about how tough life is.

With the advent of instant communication we can no longer consider those overseas countries the "third world". They are willing to work harder, faster, and cheaper than we are, and they are going to take it all away from us if we don't figure it out quickly!

I read yesterday that only 27% of the people in Michigan consider a higher education as important for success. With a population that beleaves something like that in this day and age, I'm thinking that we are just not smart enough to win this battle!

jimh posted 05-02-2005 09:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The manufacture of outboard motors was already constrained by federal regulations imposed from the Clean Air Act of 1990. These regulations seemed to be workable for the other 49 states in the union, but not for California. I am sure they would not have been so quick to gore their own ox if all the manufacturers of outboard motors were located in California.

It is a shame, isn't it, that the old-line manufacturing industries of the rust belt created such highly paid manufacturing jobs for the workforce that they could go out and actually buy an outboard motor and a boat for their own recreational use.

If the agricultural industry in California employed full-time workers who received good wages, health insurance, and retirement benefits, there would be a lot more customers for outboard motors in that state. But instead, the agriculture business in California has a sorry record of immigrant labor, lousy pay, no benefits, and general exploitation of the lower classes. Ever hear of Cesar Chavez?

Next time you are at an environmental rally having some white wine with Alec Baldwin and his Hollywood friends, ask him about it.

HuronBob posted 05-02-2005 10:00 AM ET (US)     Profile for HuronBob    
Sorry, Jim, I've never been to an "environmental rally", Don't know Alec, and don't drink.

I'll stand on my original thought. We can either sit around and complain about how tough life is, or we can acknowledge that the world has changed.

The problem is that the affluent blue collar fantasy we've been living has blown up in our face. We've become greedy.

We've had at least two or three generations that believe that you don't need an education or any skills to be successful. Just land that job at the auto plant...

That worked fine when the US was isolated, when we had control of the world inside our borders, but we don't any longer. The world shrunk and we weren't ready for it. It is a global economy, and the competition is global as well.

We are also being forced to look at what we are doing to the environment. It isn't surprising that Detroit and its surrounding communities have a hard time finding fresh, drinkable ironic as we sit smack dap on the great lakes. We can't ignore this any longer.

If a community decides to be proactive and attempt to stop the destruction before it is too late, it is NOT in our best interest to oppose those efforts because of our own greed and a simplistic view of the world's economy and future.

Darwin will prevail.

Thanks for the morning's discussion, and, if you run into Alec, try to go easy on him, I really liked Beetle Juice!

Chuck Tribolet posted 05-02-2005 10:43 AM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
Use restrictions are fairly rare in California. The most
notable use restriction is Lake Tahoe, and there are a few
others. But most lakes, and all of the ocean, has no use
restrictions on engine polution. There are some that don't
allow engines at all, or limit them to a few HP, but you have
those situations all over the country.


Sheila posted 05-02-2005 11:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for Sheila  Send Email to Sheila     
What an interesting collection of ideas.

Farm labor: My husband, as a teen, worked summers detasseling corn and baling hay in Ohio. The hours were often more than "full time," but the pay was not. In fact, on several occasions the employer's bus broke down while transporting workers to the field, and they spent the day on the side of the road next to the broken down bus. The employer did not pay them for travel time in his vehicle so on those long, hot days, he earned nothing. Has this situation changed on midwest farms? I think the nature of farming in every state is that lots of help is needed seasonally and no help at all is needed at other times. When I was in Ohio in January, the fields were all covered in snow, providing employment to no one. Has that situation changed?

Off-road vehicles: I wish some enthusiasts of this sport could tell me an effective way to keep your fellows off my private property in the desert. We posted "no trespassing" signs and found them torn down the next time we were there. Attempts to speak with these "enthusiasts" resulted in my nearly being run over by a motorcycle. We've about come to the conclusion that our only option is to fence our land, which at least will be good for the economy, as it will cost several thousands of dollars to do so.

Environmental regulations: There's an old saying that goes, "you can't legislate morality, but it helps." Some of us choose, say, to recycle, to dispose of hazardous materials properly, to avoid excessive waste. Others will take such steps only when forced to do so.

jimh posted 05-02-2005 12:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I think the improvements in the performance of all motors, boat or vehicle, which have resulted from a need to comply with environmental regulations have been positive, providing a secondary benefit. We got cleaner motors and they run better. They even last longer and have less maintenance. All positive. Who could argue against that?

What I find hard to understand is why California needed separate standards for OUTBOARD MOTORS from those of the other 49 states or at the least a different timetable in rolling out those standards. I cannot imagine that the total environmental impact from use of outboard motors in California could have been so great that to delay for a couple of years the sale of higher-emission motors would have resulted in a critical situation.

On the other hand, because of the size of their market, when California implemented an accelerated schedule of emission limits for outboard motors, it had an effect on ALL outboard motors being sold. Unlike automobiles, where manufacturers produced and sold distinct versions of their products for sale and use in California, the outboard motor manufacturers did not or could not produce special motors just for California, so as a result they were pushed ahead in their development of low-emission motors by several years.

The federal government schedule had been carefully agreed to by all states involved, then California went down its own path with outboard motors, moving the schedule ahead several years.

HuronBob posted 05-02-2005 12:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for HuronBob    
You're right, Jim, I'll agree 100% that we have all benefited from the accelerated improvement in emission control as regards outboards.

Let's hope that we continue to focus on those resources that we may never be able to replace.

John O posted 05-02-2005 12:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for John O    

I am sure I do not have to make you aware that California is on a different page from the rest of the country on many enviromental policys.

I work for a manufacturer that produces an adhesive. The product has a trace amount of Formaldehyde. A human being could literally drink this adhesive and never experence any harm from the amount of formaldehyde in it. That new car smell has more particles of formaldehyde in it than the adhesive we make and have been making for 40 years. I will not scare you with the amounts of formaldehye produced from second hand smoke.

California requires us to provide a warning label on the product claiming that the product has a substance that can cause cancer in it.

Again this is in California only. We could make containers just for the state of California at an additional cost or just print the label on all containers for world wide distribution.

We chose to put the label on all our containers. It states that" this product contains a substance known to the State of California that may cause cancer"

Well that is a pretty scary label if you are a consumer. All the consumer sees is " this product causes cancer". I had countless phone calls and met with some customers when the label was first printing on the containers. After explaining the reality and sending MSDS sheets out most customers understood the truth of the matter. One customer that I met in person stood in front of me smoking a cigarette and eating a donut expressing his concerns for his employees.

The last time I stayed in a hotel in Cally I noticed signs stating certain floors in the hotel "contained a substance know to the state of California to cause cancer"

The bottom line is California is misleading the public and causing many companies like the one I work for that employs a significant amount of folks in Wisconsin, added costs.

Look around at some of your boat products and cleaning supplies and read all about the chemicals in it that are known only in the State of California to cause cancer.

I do not know how they got so smart out there. Must be all that fresh LA air.

Sheila posted 05-02-2005 01:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for Sheila  Send Email to Sheila     
I believe it has something to do with our rather unusual initiative system. The following information comes from the California Secretary of State's web site:

"California uses the direct initiative process, which enables voters to bypass the Legislature and have an issue of concern put directly on the ballot for voter approval or rejection. There are two types of initiatives that can be placed on the ballot: 1) statute revision, which requires signatures equal to five percent of the total votes cast for Governor in the preceding gubernatorial election, and 2) constitutional amendment, which requires signatures equal to eight percent of the Governor's total vote in the preceding gubernatorial election."

So, if you can get enough voters to sign a petition in front of the grocery store, you can put the issue to a vote of the people. Even if you use paid petition circulators bussed in from out of state, if enough signatures are gathered, it goes to a vote.

Our Proposition 65, which led to the labeling to which John refers, was placed on the ballot as the result of such an initiative effort.

Currently we have 69 (!) separate initiative petition campaigns.

The initiative process has become controversial. What perhaps once was driven by the citizenry seems now to be led by various interests from within and outside the state.

John O posted 05-02-2005 03:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for John O    
Please do not interpet my post as bashing our fine west coast state. I was relating my experiences with doing business in the state and the cost associated with that.
CFCAJUN posted 05-02-2005 03:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for CFCAJUN  Send Email to CFCAJUN     
It is after reading restrictions like these, combined with the increasing cost of fuel and motors, that I wish I could modify my boat to be like hovercrafts. These use the smallest automobile engine available (an 85 HP Subaru), and apparantly provide enough thrust to propel the vessel forward, and are light enough to allow the craft to fly 20 feet off the ground.

I wish I could put one of these babies on a hull sometimes.

LHG posted 05-02-2005 04:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
I thought the Democrat controlled State of California government was broke, hence Arnold the Republican (who won't be able to solve it either).

After reading this thread, I think I know why.

In spite of all these clean outobards out there, CA still has the dirtiest air in the country. Why didn't the 2 and 3 star rating help this? It's because outboards are insignificant.

How many smoky outboards does it take to put out the emmissions of a single diesel "big rig", rail engine or container ship bringing in all those Japanese imported autos and outboards to CA. Sit along the side of a CA interstate some sunny afternoon, and breath in all that fresh diesel exhaust. In four hours there will be more pollution passing you by than is produced by all of the outboards in the world that might be running for those same hours. Then multiply the truck situation by a million.

The environmentalists picking on outboards is a joke, but, with the help of Al Gore, they could win there. With needed heavy transportation, such as trucks, rail and ships, satisfying our craving for foreign products, they can't

HuronBob posted 05-02-2005 04:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for HuronBob    

I'm not sure your logic is on target here.

First, Not all imported goods are brought into CA, we've other states with ports as well.

Second, not all goods transported by rail and truck are imports, we do manufacture a few goods ourselves that are moving from state to state as well.

You are right about the fact that outboards are probably a very small part of the problem, but, they ARE part of the problem. If we don't consider ourselves stewards of this land, and attempt to solve the problems, no matter how small, we'll leave little of what we all enjoy to our children and grandchildren.


philmoses posted 05-02-2005 05:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for philmoses  Send Email to philmoses     
Well I could jump in here and throw a bunch of slander and insult the rest of the free world but I will not... sort of

Bummer if your not happy with the California standards and how they have influenced the rest of the US. Like many other things, California has turned out to be a leader on this issue .

Here are some interesting facts for jimh and others with their celery-CARB ideas and any other seemingly anti-California sentiments.

California has lead the nation in Agriculture for over 50 years now.

Think Wisconsin leads the nation in milk and cheese? Think again cheeseheads. (taken from 2002 numbers) California led the nation in total milk production with 34.9 billion pounds, up from 22 billion in 1992. Wisconsin produced 22.1 billion pounds in 2002.

Along with the above, there are more cows in california :)

If we were to measure Californias economy as a nations, it would be the 7th largest economy in the World.

More turkeys are raised in California than any other state...

I could go on with the facts but I think that few will realize that you should be thanking California and its residents for being the outstanding state and citizens that we are :) :)

The current econimoic issues will be dealt with but without the land of milk and honey here, it would be even a worse life for the midwesterners ;)


andygere posted 05-02-2005 05:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
Regarding California environmental regulations: the idea is right, but unfortunately the implementation is often flawed. I agree with Larry that outboard motors are an insignigicant source of my state's air pollution problems, but apparently the regulatory authority (CARB) has met much less resitance with the boating industry lobby than they have with the trucking industry. Interestingly enough, even though diesel semi trucks do not have strict requirements on particle emissions, fixed location diesel generators, using identical engines in some cases, must me very tough emissions requirements.

On 2-stroke restrictions on California lakes and reservoirs, the reason is the discharge of MTBE, an oxygenate added to gasoline in California. MTBE was required in California by CARB to reduce air emissions, who then went on to regulate outboard motor emissions. No connection between the two mandates, other than irony. Unfortunately, MTBE is very mobile in water, and causes taste and odor in drinking water that renders it unpotable at about 4 parts per billion. Many utilities have collected data that very closely correlates conventional 2-stroke boating on reservoirs with detection of MTBE. When the 2 strokes were banned, MTBE detects soon disappeared. A lot of unburned fuel comes out of the exhaust of a carbed 2 stroke outboard, and with it the MTBE.

There are a lot of people living in California, and that means an increased tax on natural resources, and pollution seems to go along with that. I have no problem with stricter envirnonmental regulations (California has been a leader in drinking water protection long before US EPA was interested in it), so long as they are based on sound science, provide a good balance between cost and benefit, and are enacted fairly, without favoratism to those with the most political clout or biggest lobbying budget. We have a long way to go on this one.

Finally, on California's right to require a different standard, I think HuronBob is right on track. Market forces are at play here, and the outboard manufacturers could have easily said to themselves "It's going to cost too much to meet those requirements, let's just write off that segment of the market and keep on doing what we are doing, and sell to the other 49 states." Clearly, the California outboard market is significant enough that the industry chose not to go that route. State regulatins vary on everything from speed limits, to the time and day of the week when you can buy beer! Regulations on outboard motor emissions (or any vehicle emissions for that matter) are really not that unique.

andygere posted 05-02-2005 05:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
Spell check, then hit reply. Please excuse the many errors in my last post.
ConnorEl posted 05-02-2005 05:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for ConnorEl  Send Email to ConnorEl     

I'm not sure what you intended to suggest by claiming that more turkeys are raised in California than any other state. Do you mean the bird raised as poultry?

If so, California doesn't come close to leading the nation in turkey production. See the following links:

Anyway, as a native North Carolinian (the second leading turkey producing state) I couldn't let that slip by. I haven't checked any of your other "facts".

But come to think of it I haven't yet seen a turkey in a Boston Whaler (or have I now . . .?) ;)

LHG posted 05-02-2005 07:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
They may not be in Boston Whalers, but there are a few here on CW, on occasion!
Sheila posted 05-02-2005 11:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for Sheila  Send Email to Sheila     
<---California Turkey, born and bred.

John O, I didn't feel bashed. I live and operate a business in California, so I appreciate your perspective.

Phil, what's the relationship to UCSD? Third (now Marshall) College Class of 87 here :)

I recall once reading in a source that I considered reliable, but cannot now recall, that California's agricultural product, taken alone, would rank 10th in the world if it were a nation's GNP. I wonder if that's still true.

The Chesapeake Explorer posted 05-03-2005 04:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for The Chesapeake Explorer  Send Email to The Chesapeake Explorer     
Every day I sit at traffic lights were no one moves. No cars coming out the side road, main road traffic stopped.. But its a red light and traffic has to stops and idel. Times this by about 1 million times a day nation wide Smart bombs yes we got them and we need smart lights too. Pollution?? The goverment should take care of its own house first. Thats why to me the 2 cycle ban is a joke.
prm1177 posted 05-03-2005 05:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for prm1177  Send Email to prm1177     
I think the water boards in California will eventually ban any internal combustion engine from a lake or resevoir that directly contributes to the drinking water supply. San Pablo resevoir, near my home in SF, bans all 2 strokes. As swimming and water skiing are also banned, I expect that only electrics will be permitted in the future. Not too severe for a drinking water source.

Now if we can only get the trout to stop pee'in.

prm1177 posted 05-03-2005 05:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for prm1177  Send Email to prm1177     
Interesting Boating Magazine rant from 2001 on CARB:


The Chesapeake Explorer posted 05-03-2005 09:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for The Chesapeake Explorer  Send Email to The Chesapeake Explorer     
We have had restrictions for years on some of the water supply "lakes" there really part of a small river that feeds into the Potomac River, They limit boats to 10 HP the reason is safety to keep speed and shore erosion (silt )down not 2 stroke pollution. If a water supply lake had a lot of jet skis, big outboards out there lots and lots of boats then yes I could see restrictions for water quality.
Sheila posted 05-07-2005 12:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for Sheila  Send Email to Sheila     
Regarding the "why" of CARB's existence, I found this (probably greatly oversimplified) tidbit in the May issue of BoatUS magazine, in an article about reducing CO emissions:

"Because the state's air pollution was once one of the nation's worst, the EPA grants California special waivers to create its own emissions rules, which tend to become the standard for the rest of the nation since manufacturers cannot normally create a product line for just one state."

rbruce posted 05-07-2005 11:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for rbruce  Send Email to rbruce     
In this article the "municipal authorites" banned 2 stroke motor propelled boats to reach an "average" lake in California, did they knew that DFI's are also two stroke motors producing less emissions than 4 strokes?

Will there ever be DFI stern drives that work cleaner than current four strokes?

And why would any government force my old motor into oblivion?

Sheila posted 05-08-2005 01:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for Sheila  Send Email to Sheila     
Rbruce, to what article are you referring?

I know of no lakes in California that ban "2-stroke engines." A few (I believe it to be 11) lakes ban engines based on their emission levels, not on their design. And some lakes allow no mechanically propelled boats at all.

highanddry posted 05-08-2005 03:01 AM ET (US)     Profile for highanddry  Send Email to highanddry     
As a once Geologist with a MS plus 30 I know that Kalifornia probably will not slide off into the ocean in my lifetime but nothing stops me from wishing for it any less just the same. J
rbruce posted 05-08-2005 09:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for rbruce  Send Email to rbruce     

I am reffering to the the lake described in the Boating Magazine article!

Yes I've seen these regulations taking place in my country Costa Rica, which cherishes tourism. The government passed a law that bans sport fishing in protected no fishing in National Parks. This makes no sense to me, so because they don't have the personnel to enforce curfews then they ban the sport all toghether?

What happens in the US with people owning vintage outboards? Mine is a 1969, might not pass as a vintage motor, but I like to use it.

And what happens if you try to set the record straight and say that a DFI motor is not a four stroke, that it polutes less than a four stroke and that it is a two stroke and thus is banned?

Sheila posted 05-08-2005 10:44 AM ET (US)     Profile for Sheila  Send Email to Sheila     
Thank you for the reference to the article. I thought you were refering to the same article that I referenced.

At this link you will find a list of every restricted body of water in the state, and its restrictions:

It is interesting to note that on the list, San Pablo Reservoir is listed as permitting "four stroke motors or those with equivalent emission levels."

Aside from these few locations, the ban in California is on the sale of new two-stroke motors that do not meet the standards. The CARB regulations do not prohibit recreational boaters from using 2 stroke motors that they already own.

rbruce posted 05-08-2005 11:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for rbruce  Send Email to rbruce     

Therefore I could bring my boat and motor to one of these "only four stroke" lakes and still use my old motor.

Will there ever be a DFI low horse power motors from BRB or Mercury?



Mumbo Jumbo posted 05-08-2005 07:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mumbo Jumbo  Send Email to Mumbo Jumbo     
Pardon me, but I'm takin' my big 'ol diesel powered Boss Hog Ford Excursion down to the sea to dump some old, worn out motor oil and lower unit lube in the bay. It will help clean out some of those pesky sea otters everybody hates. I just don't understand those crazy environmentalists complaining about everything. Life in my 13 Whaler with the 150 Yamaha two stroke on a jackplate is just fine and dandy, thank you. You should see the hole shot with that four blade prop; you can trash those stinking, speed-zone causing Manatees with this boy. Time for the Manatees to go. I just can't stand those tree-hugging, Manatee loving, gas saving, PCB hating, clean air stupid environmentalists. I like living in a SuperFund site; just because my kids have three eyes don't mean nothing.

Let's burn some gas, big time! The only CARB I want to hear about is a 4 barrel. Let's hear it for the real Americans who love to blow out some big time nitrous oxides.

rvose posted 12-02-2006 04:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for rvose  Send Email to rvose     
Can anyone please help. I live in California and am actively looking for a boat. What are the regs. for 2 stroke vs. 4 stroke? I cannot find the boat I want here so will have to buy out of state! Looking for at least a 90 horse or 115 horse. What years are OK for EPA/Cal regs? 2000 and newer? I almost think I might new 4 stroke just so I know it will meet emissions. Even the dealers don't frickin know...

Thanks for any input....Robert

jimh posted 12-02-2006 04:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Maybe I can help. I have created a website, and written about this topic, and located the precise information you seek. Just read all the references cited above, also read the discussion above. This will help you.

Don't use profane speech on this website.

cwolf posted 12-02-2006 08:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for cwolf  Send Email to cwolf     
You need 3-Star rating for Lake Tahoe and a few other lakes. That's about it. Pretty hard to find a dealer who will sell you a 2-stoke anymore in CA (aside from Evinrude). Most only offer 4-stroke. Also, pretty hard to find a decent used engine in this state not tied to a boat. They sell pretty quickly.
Steve Leone posted 12-02-2006 09:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for Steve Leone  Send Email to Steve Leone     
There are 4 and 5 Star ratings also. No one has come up with an engine to meet the criteria though. It is my impression that Lake Tahoe is the poster child for this legislation, and the real begining of the two stroke ban in California. It seems it started with MTBE, a fuel oxengenate. Once the ball was rolling the band wagon began to fill up, and the boaters began to re-power to comply. Alot of two strokes came on the used market. It is my understanding that by just using a fourstroke on Lake Tahoe you are NOT compliant. I think the wording stipulates that the engine must be fuel injected, two or four stroke to meet the outboard / inboard requirements on Tahoe. Eventualy, I believe that all two strokes will be banned in all waterways, fresh or salt. It has been my experience that dominos fall one way... Steve.
Buckda posted 12-02-2006 09:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
What Steve says is partly true. Let me modify it a little: All new sales of two strokes that are not compliant will be banned on all waterways eventually.

Existing non-compliant motors will likely still be allowed, if past actions are indicative of how they will roll out new legislation in the future. No policeman will come up and force you to repower immediately or face a fine.

It will be interesting to see how this will apply to out-of-state boaters.

Anyway...there is a huge difference within two stroke technology. The latest two-strokes are completely compliant with the existing regulations in all 50 states and the EU - and in fact, the OptiMax and E-TEC DFI two strokes are actually cleaner in some monitored emissions than any four-stroke (Carbon Monoxide).

Therefore, I'd be looking for either a newer, post-classic Whaler with a 4-stroke or an OptiMax on the back, or I'd be looking for a boat that I could junk the motor and I'd buy an E-TEC or OptiMax motor to repower it with.

Chuck Tribolet posted 12-02-2006 10:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
Buckda, you got it WAAAY wrong.

All new sales of non-compliant engines (2-stroke OR 4-stroke)
are already banned in California and have been for a few
years. The ban has NOTHING to do with the strokes, just
whether it meets requirements (it is, however, more difficult
to meet the requirements with a 2-stroke).

All non-compliant engines (of whatever age) are already banned from Tahoe and
a small number of other lakes. There's no momentum to
increase this.

The MTBE thing got fixed by taking MTBE out of the gas.


Buckda posted 12-02-2006 10:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Chuck -
I don't see how I got it wrong at all.

All new sales of 2-strokes that are non-compliant..okay, so I omitted 4-strokes, but that does not make this wrong.

...will be banned on all waterways eventually...I didn't take the post from Steve to be only for the state of California...I really believe that all states will eventually ban the sale of non-compliant outboard motors, making them illegal to buy and operate on all waterways..eventually.

But this will not likely apply to existing engines that are on boats, or that are loose-for-sale with a manufacture date that pre-dates the legislation.

For instance, If Michigan were to enact similar restrictions on state waterways effective in 2008 model year, I would expect that I could buy a loose 2007 non-compliant motor and put it on my boat and operate it on the state's waterways until that motor's useful life was over. Any future new motor purchases would have to be compliant motors.

Several lakes, such as Lake Tahoe, have enacted stricter rules, however I really don't see the absolute ban happening on all waterways anytime soon. That will be achieved through attrition and, perhaps, peer pressure induced guilt focused on owners of older, non-compliant motors.

Perhaps I wasn't clear in my post above, but I don't see how my position is waaaay different than what you posted immediately after my above post.



blackdog54 posted 12-03-2006 11:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for blackdog54  Send Email to blackdog54     
You can no longer sell a 2-stroke motorcycle or scooter in CA. There is state specific technology required, just ask Vespa. Cars coming into CA have stricter emissions requirements as well.

You can only sell NEW 2-stroke outboards in CA if they meet the carb requirements. Nothing stops you from buying a typical 2-stroke out of state (other than your conscience) and using it here, except on the lakes already mentioned in this thread.

Frankly, I am shocked that anyone who enjoys the water, whether it is for fishing, watersports, or just plain relaxing, does not find the inherent value in protecting these resources through improved emissions. You have to start somewhere.

There is talk that is causing Briggs and Stratton (and legislators in Wisconsin) some concern, as the next targeted products are lawn and landscape products-ie: your lawn mowers, chain saws, etc. and their (evil) emissions.

The food chain is telling us that there is a problem. We need to be cognizant of it and fix it. Or, we lose it. Its very simple.

mikeyairtime posted 12-05-2006 10:47 AM ET (US)     Profile for mikeyairtime    
An interesting bit of trivia: Honda who was instramental in developing direct injected two stroke technology all the way back in the 80's will abandon all two stroke production after 2007, even in their racing dirt bike line. They site environmental concerns in their press release.
Backfire posted 12-09-2006 01:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for Backfire  Send Email to Backfire     
As far as the EPA laws are concerned, ANY engine that meets the CARB/EPA emmissions levels is legal and no attempt to outlaw a certain technology is on the books now or in the future.

Manufacturers (say Honda) who choose to design an engine one version or another, are certainly free to do so. This decision is likely based on potential sales (profits), or promotion (F1 racing,etc.). Do you think Honda banks any profits from F1 racing engine sales? Since 1966+- all Honda has ever made is 4/s outboard engines. Nearly 30 years of being invisable in the boating industry.

Discussions I've heard about dirt bikes goes like this. If the rules (PC of course) state that a 4/s bike is allowed to have Twice the cubic inch of a 2/s, there is a point that the 2/s is going to be overcome and racers will want what will win. In this case, race rules cause the shift of engine choice and the racers development of technology pushes forward. Does anyone think that race engines are EPA

Few Honda stock carbed 4/s are 3 Star compliant engines, (2008 models must be). It will be micro computer and fuel injected models that future models will have. So much for reasonable cost, simple devices to derive pleasure from!

Since the whole EPA improvement cycle has gotton us to this point, a 90% reduction in emmissions-3STAR in 2008. That was the goal. CO levels are tighter in Europe and might well come to pass here. But the 4/s will need catalytic coverters, more bulk and cost. E-TEC and Opti-max will not.
The E-TEC can be tuned to further reduce emmissions if needed and I guess Opti can also. Some people believe that
all this is critical to the survival of man, but Mother Nature's one blast of a volcano renders mans efforts at reduced emmissions null and void.

Steve Leone posted 12-09-2006 07:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for Steve Leone  Send Email to Steve Leone     
Honda at one point was considering catalytic converters. My assumption is that ceramics at high temperatures and cold water have a smashing effect.

Post New Topic  Post Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | RETURN to ContinuousWave Top Page

Powered by: Ultimate Bulletin Board, Freeware Version 2000
Purchase our Licensed Version- which adds many more features!
© Infopop Corporation (formerly Madrona Park, Inc.), 1998 - 2000.