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Author Topic:   EPA Outboard Regulations
russellbailey posted 06-15-2002 01:51 PM ET (US)   Profile for russellbailey   Send Email to russellbailey  
I've read many discussions about these rules that seem to often be based on rumor and word of mouth. Since my work is as a consultant specializing in the Clean Air Act (though primarily for stationary sources [industrial plants]), I thought it might be useful for me to provide more information on the rules.

First, the federal rules do not ban any engines from a consumer perspective. All responsibilities under the rules fall to the engine manufacturer and are based on date of manufacture. (Suppose Yamaha has a new 1996 outboard in their warehouse - they can sell it today or in the future, since date of manufacture is the key.)

A very few local agencies have the ability to regulate marine engines. I personally am unaware of any outside of California, which has a lot of unique rules and authority to use them. Lake Tahoe in particular is regulated under a special rule that gives them authority far beyond most. In short, it would not be easy for most states to ban 2-stroke outboard use on navigable waters.

That being said, I do think 4-stroke and direct injection engines should be considered for new engines since they are cleaner. But I'm not going to run out and replace our 1988 Evinrude until it dies.

I've pasted in a summary of the rule. If you would like to read the specifics from the Federal Register notice, go to, select the 1996 Federal Register, and put "Page 52087" in the search field. This will pull up the original Federal Register notice along with the preamble that explains the reasoning for the rules. If that doesn't work e-mail me and I'll send you the rule (it's about 800kb).

[Federal Register: October 4, 1996 (Volume 61, Number 194)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Page 52087-52169]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []

[[Page 52087]]

Part II

Environmental Protection Agency

40 CFR Parts 89, 90, and 91

Air Pollution Control; Gasoline Spark-Ignition Marine Engines; New
Nonroad Compression-Ignition and Spark-Ignition Engines, Exemptions;

[[Page 52088]]


40 CFR Parts 89, 90, and 91

RIN 2060-AE54

Control of Air Pollution; Final Rule for New Gasoline Spark-
Ignition Marine Engines; Exemptions for New Nonroad Compression-
Ignition Engines at or Above 37 Kilowatts and New Nonroad Spark-
Ignition Engines at or Below 19 Kilowatts

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: As directed under section 213 of the Clean Air Act as amended
in 1990 (CAA), EPA is regulating exhaust emissions from new spark-
ignition (SI) gasoline marine engines (including outboard engines,
personal watercraft engines, and jet boat engines) because exhaust
emissions from SI gasoline marine engines cause or contribute to ozone
concentrations in more than one ozone nonattainment area. Once the
program is fully implemented, manufacturers of these engines must
demonstrate to EPA that hydrocarbon emissions are reduced, by 75% from
present levels, by testing engines representative of the product line
before sale and after use. The result of these regulations will be a
new generation of cleaner gasoline marine engines available to boaters.
EPA is also revising existing regulations for new nonroad CI
engines at or above 37 kW and new nonroad SI engines at or below 19 kW
so as to include exemptions comparable to exemptions provided to
highway engines.

jimh posted 06-15-2002 02:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Very useful information. Thanks for posting.
Whaler Proud posted 06-15-2002 10:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for Whaler Proud  Send Email to Whaler Proud     
Thanks, Russell
russellbailey posted 09-04-2002 08:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for russellbailey  Send Email to russellbailey     
There were some questions posted yesterday about this so I thought I would bring it back up.

Also, in contrast to an opinion stated as fact in another post, there are similar rules for most other road and non-road mobile sources, including trains, automobiles, medium and heavy trucks, and lawnmowers and yard equipment. Outboard engines were not singled out as a weak group to pick on.

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