Encourage Your Marina To Go Green

Encourage Your Marina To Go Green


Here in the beautiful state of Washington where we live and work there are now 39 certified Clean Marina’s operating. With several hundred marinas, both public and private, operating in our state, there is still a long way to go. Still, progress is being made.

The Clean Marina Initiative is a program promoted by NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association to move our vulnerable waterfront recreational facilities in the right direction. All you need to do is walk the docks at most marinas to see the assortment of unnecessary junk that is floating around in a slick of gas, oil and diesel.

Since so much activity takes place at marinas that can cause pollution, from fueling to maintenance and beyond, it is only sensible that the common sense, environmentally conscious standards should be employed there.

As the green tide spreads, it is also quite likely that more stringent rules and regulations are only a matter of time. In several locations that have become toxic nightmares, like San Francisco Bay and Seattle’s Lake Union, changes are being enforced to clean up this mess, and we say, about time.

For the marina owners and operators looking to preempt costly changes that are mandated from on high, the time is now to get on the clean marina bandwagon. Far sighted boat yard owners are already improving the products and processes they use such as installing waste water filtration systems, employing safe cleaning agents or shifting to copper free paints in an effort to get ahead of the game.

The benefits of becoming a clean marina, in addition to doing the right thing, are many. The following information can shed more light on the subject.

For those of you who want to clean up your local marina, make your concerns known and encourage the powers that be to go green.

What is the Clean Marina Initiative?

The Clean Marina Initiative is a voluntary, incentive-based program promoted by NOAA and others that encourages marina operators and recreational boaters to protect coastal water quality by engaging in environmentally sound operating and maintenance procedures. While Clean Marina Programs vary from state to state, all programs offer information, guidance, and technical assistance to marina operators, local governments, and recreational boaters on Best Management Practices (BMPs) that can be used to prevent or reduce pollution. Marinas that participate in the Clean Marina Program are recognized for their environmental stewardship.

Why is the Clean Marina Initiative Important?

Clean Marina programs help reduce pollution to our coastal waters by encouraging environmentally-friendly marina and boating practices

Marinas and recreational boating are increasingly popular uses of coastal areas. The U.S. Coast Guard reported a 14% increase in recreational boating between 1990 and 1999. Because marinas are located right along the water’s edge, pollutants created by marina activities are released directly into the water. Although not one of the leading sources of polluted runoff, pollution from marinas can have a significant impact on local water quality. Therefore, is it important to promote operation and maintenance practices that will prevent pollution from entering coastal waterways.

Benefits of a Clean Marina Program

A Clean Marina Program offers many benefits to marina operators and coastal areas participating in the program.

Benefits for Marinas Operators and Owners

  • Reduce waste disposal costs. The Best Management Practices (BMPs) will reduce the amount of wastes produced so disposal costs will be less.
  • Generate new sources of revenue. Studies have shown that Clean Marinas can charge slightly higher slip fees and have fewer vacancies.
  • Receive free technical assistance. Best Management Practices guidebooks, training workshops and on-site visits are available to marina operators. Often states will even offer on-site assistance for meeting regulatory requirements.
  • Reduce legal liabilities. By participating in the Clean Marina Program, marinas can ensure they are meeting all regulatory requirements, thus avoiding fines.
  • Enjoy free publicity. States recognize Clean Marinas through press releases, newsletters, and boating guides, etc.
  • Attract knowledgeable customers. Clean Marinas are aesthetically pleasing facilities that can attract responsible clientele that will follow good boating practices.
  • Improve water quality and habitat for living resources. The marina and boating industry depends on clean waters and a healthy coastal environment for their continued success.
  • Demonstrate marina is a good steward of the environment. Many states distribute special burgees and signs for Clean Marinas to display. Clean Marinas are also allowed to use the State’s Clean Marina logo on all letterhead.

Benefits for State Coastal Managers and Others
Interested in Starting Clean Marina Programs

  • Educate boaters. The Clean Marina Program is an excellent way to reach out to recreational boaters and demonstrate how they can alter their own practices to minimize impacts on the marine environment.
  • Satisfy the requirements of the State Coastal Nonpoint Control Program. By developing a Clean Marina Program, a state will demonstrate a commitment to implement the marina management measures required by the joint NOAA/EPA program.
  • Improve Coordination. By joining in the Clean Marina Initiative, states and their partners will be able to join the growing network of Clean Marina Programs nationwide.

NOAA’s Role in the Clean Marina Initiative

Many boaters prefer to patron clean marinas because they value clean coastal waters for boating and fishing.

NOAA, jointly responsible for administering the Coastal Nonpoint Control Program with EPA, plays an important role in protecting coastal waters from polluted runoff. The Coastal Nonpoint Program establishes a consistent set of management measures for all coastal states to use in controlling nonpoint source pollution. Management measures are designed to prevent or reduce runoff from a variety of sources, including marinas.

NOAA recognizes that the Clean Marina Initiative can serve a valuable role in protecting coastal waters from nonpoint source pollution and has promoted the program as a way for states to meet many of the marina management measure requirements under the Coastal Nonpoint Program. As a result, the Coastal Nonpoint Program has been responsible for driving the development of most of the state Clean Marina Programs existing today and developing a national interest in the Initiative. NOAA continues to support the Clean Marina Initiative through targeted grant funding to states developing Clean Marina Programs. Between FY01 and FY06, nearly $3 million went to support clean marina efforts.

For more information, contact cleanmarinas@noaa.gov.

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