FREEHOLD – A Wall Township student who won the county’s essay contest recently got to name the new pump out boat.
The winner, Reagan Urban, was chosen by the Monmouth County Freeholders and the county Health Department for her essay naming the pump out boat “Greener Blue.”
“Back in November, I reached out to principals throughout Monmouth County to invite their sixth grade students to participate in an essay contest to help name the new county pump out boat, which reduces the amount of waste in County waterways,” said Monmouth County Freeholder Deputy Director Susan M. Kiley, who is the liaison to the Monmouth County Health Department.
“The Freeholders asked student participants to not only name this new boat, but also write a 500-word or less essay explaining why the name was chosen and how this boat will help the environment,” she said.
The other finalists were Alice Ann of Highlands Elementary, and Andrew Vandenbrouck of Saint Jerome School in West Long Branch.
“We had hoped to bring all of the finalists to a Freeholder meeting to be recognized in person. Unfortunately, that had to be cancelled, but we wanted to make sure they still got the recognition that they deserve,” Kiley said. She spoke to them in a virtual meeting instead.
“I am so glad I got to personally speak with each of the three finalists to thank them for their outstanding essays. It was very hard to pick just one winner and they all should be very proud of being the top three finalists out of hundreds of essays submitted,” she added.
Greener Blue, which is owned and maintained by the Health Department and operated by the NY/NJ Baykeeper organization, is specially-equipped to empty on-board toilets and holding tanks on recreational boats, so waste is not improperly disposed of in the Navesink and Shrewsbury Rivers as well as the Raritan Bay.
Kiley said, “the Monmouth County Pump Out Boat Program has played a vital role by properly disposing of recreational boating waste, which may have been disposed of inadequately. This free service offered by Monmouth County Health Department helps the county work towards reducing pollution in our waterways, which run through many municipalities.”
Urban was one of hundreds of county 6th graders who submitted essays for naming the new pump out boat. In her essay, she explained the importance of reducing sewage in waterways and how the name, Greener Blue, matches the boat’s purpose: to create an environmentally friendly (or greener) solution for waterways.
“I am so proud of Reagan for her essay and overall creativity in naming Greener Blue,” Freeholder Director Thomas A. Arnone said.
“The partnership between the County’s Health Department and NY/NJ Baykeeper has prevented countless gallons of sewage from entering our local rivers, creating a healthier marine environment. I commend Chris Merkel and his staff, as well as Captain Mike from NY/NJ Baykeeper, for running a topnotch and thorough pump out boat operation for recreational boaters.”
NY/NJ Baykeeper CEO Greg Remaud attended the press conference and gave praise to the Board of Chosen Freeholders and the County for the pump out program.
Remaud added, “the County’s pump out program makes it easy for boaters and marinas to properly manage toilet waste and that’s good for the environment, public health and recreation.”
Pump out boats, which typically operate on Fridays and Saturdays from May to October, didn’t get into operation on time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Greener Blue will operate on Fridays and Saturdays from July 3 to October, weather permitting. Approximate hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will be operating on summer holidays.
Greener Blue operating protocols for the 2020 boating season include:
- Captains are to maintain a minimum distance of six feet from the boaters.
- The boat owner should use their boat hook to retrieve the nozzle from the pump out captain. After the pump is complete, the boat owner would drop the nozzle in the water to be retrieved.
- Nozzles will be disinfected after each use.
- The pump out boat will be thoroughly cleaned with disinfectant at the beginning of the season and at the end of a Captain’s shift.
- If anyone else besides the Captain needs to be on the boat for maintenance, emergencies, etc., then social distancing should be maintained.
- The Captain should have clean masks with them at all times and be prepared to use a mask in the case a boater would come within the minimum distance of six feet
Boaters can contact the captain of Greener Blue by radio on VHF Channel 9 or by calling 732-890-6142 on days the boat is operating. No paperwork is necessary to utilize the free service and the service is not limited to Monmouth County residents.
The previous pump out boat, the Royal Flush, had serviced over 16,400 boats and properly disposed of over 591,000 gallons of sewage since 2001.
For updates about Greener Blue’s operations throughout the 2020 boating season, go to visitmonmouth.com/health.