New CARB Emission Regulations

March 2007 News

Beginning January 1, 2008, the State of California will introduce a new, more stringent set of exhaust emission regulations for sterndrive and inboard (SD/I) gasoline marine engines, and the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) is encouraging all parties in the SD/I distribution channel-including boatbuilders, engine manufacturers and boat and engine retailers-to understand their individual responsibilities and liabilities associated with the ruling.

 "Unlike previously enacted outboard engine and personal watercraft emission regulations, which placed the compliance burden exclusively on marine engine manufacturers, the compliance burden and liability for the SD/I regulation will be shared between the dealer, boatbuilder and engine maker," says John McKnight, NMMA director of Environmental Safety and Compliance. "That said, it's critical each party understand its role and know the required steps in order to comply with the ruling."

Under the new California regulations, the state will require all boats outfitted with gasoline SD/I engines manufactured after January 1, 2008 be equipped with catalyst technology. There are only a few exceptions to this rule; 4.3 liter and 8.1 liter engines manufactured by General Motors (GM will stop producing these models after 2009) and some phased-in Indmar engines (the company began its phase-in program this year) will still have an opportunity to sell these engines un-catalyzed. Engine manufacturers are also required to certify their engines meet the appropriate model year emission standards with the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

Another regulation recently adopted by the State of California, which took effect January 1, 2007, requires boatbuilders (with the exception of those using Indmar engines) to install a low permeation fuel hose between the fuel tank and the engine on boats with engines built after the first of the year. The hose must be marked A1-15. Both the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) fuel systems standard and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) J1527 fuel hose test methods have been updated to reflect these changes.

stipulates engine manufacturers must inform boatbuilders when low permeation hose installation is necessary. It then becomes the boatbuilders' responsibility to install the hose and the dealership's responsibility to ensure all boats sold in California with SD/I engines built after January 1, 2007 have low permeation fuel hoses attached. Marine retailers may, however, continue selling boats with engines manufactured prior to January 1, 2008, as the CARB regulations do not impose a sales date deadline for regulated SD/I engines.

"It is more critical than ever that boat and engine manufacturers and marine retailers pay attention to these emission regulations," says McKnight. "Each year, the CARB Enforcement Division issues violations and financial penalties against small engine equipment dealers, automobile dealers and boat dealers selling non-compliant engines. We cannot stress enough how important it is the industry at large comprehends what is expected of it and what the consequences are if these CARB regulations remain misunderstood or ignored."

To read the latest NMMA White Paper on the CARB requirements, visit  For additional information about CARB emission regulations, contact McKnight at (202) 737-9757;

National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) is the leading association representing the recreational boating industry. NMMA member companies produce more than 80 percent of the boats, engines, trailers, accessories and gear used by boaters and anglers in the United States. The association is dedicated to industry growth through programs in public policy, market research and data, product quality assurance and marketing communications.

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