Marina and Yard

Are clean marinas, the gateway to ocean sustainability?

Peter Franklin
Tuesday, 30 May 2017

It’s an unfortunate fact, that the very places we choose to park our boats, are also the perfect entrapment environment for stuff that gets swept in by winds and currents, and also a place where much of the contamination from cleaning and maintaining boats can unfortunately gather if there is not enough care taken.

So, there are plenty of excellent reasons for keeping marinas clean, and the good news is, that a lot is being done about it by marine associations, and marinas themselves. Also there are plenty of new ideas and product innovations aimed at improving things in that direction.

‘Target the young’ message from a marina industry professional
Oscar Siches contributed to the session entitled ‘A comprehensive approach on environmental problems and marinas,’ at the ICOMIA World Marinas Conference last November. He has been a partner and manager of two marinas in Mallorca, a consultant for leisure marine infrastructure projects in various countries, and a cruising / offshore racing yacht skipper.

Hear his opinions about how our industry should approach the future of environmental sustainability, by influencing the ‘tiny tots’ in society:

A marina designer’s viewpoint
Writing in a recent issue of the Marina Euro-Report magazine, Daniel Natchez who heads up an international environmental waterfront design consultancy, says that maintaining clean marinas boils down to a two-pronged approach; one having to do with the physical plant and operations of the facility, and the other having to do with education and awareness for boaters.

Daniel refers to the nationwide Clean Marina Scheme that runs in the USA (more details below), and he recommends an excellent website for all boaters looking for sustainable eco tips, resources and lots of information for fun and meaningful green boating…

Proven Clean Marina Scheme in the USA
Marina Dock Age, a US based magazine focused on marina activities has just published a comprehensive update report about the well-established American Clean Marinas Program.

The author Wendy Larimer states that the Scheme has been running for almost ten years, and that its original impetus is still the main driver today. That is a strong desire by the marina managements to show that they can be the environmental stewards, and not the source of the pollution. They wanted to keep the regulators at bay, by voluntarily adopting the best management practices and keeping the waterways free of contamination, which might otherwise emanate from their marinas.

The report notes that in 2016 there were 1273 certified Clean Marina / Boatyard operations spread across 21 states, and that new technology is aiding the process of recognition; for instance a ‘Clean Marina Location’ mobile phone app is being developed in North Carolina.

Awareness high on the agenda in UK
The Green Blue is an environmental awareness programme set up by the Royal Yachting Association and British Marine back in 2005. Its objective is to help boaters and boating businesses to minimise their impact on the environment by raising awareness amongst industry and users; reducing harmful discharges; reducing environmental disturbance; and encouraging sustainable choices. 

One of the resources provided by the Green Blue, in partnership with Sailing Networks, is a useful Green Directory, which points boaters to a whole range of environmentally friendly products and services.

The directory contains a wide selection of recommended items from cleaning materials, oil spill control, fuel and holding tank additives, waste handling aids and products made from recycled materials. 

More Blue Flag Marinas coming on-stream
The well-known Blue Flag Programme for marinas and beaches is run by the non-governmental, non-profit organisation FEE (Foundation for Environmental Education.)

The Blue Flag is an environmental award covering four main areas:

  1. Environmental education and information
  2. Environmental management
  3. Safety and service facilities
  4. Water quality

The Blue Flag is only awarded for one season at a time and the national FEE organisation conducts control visits to the Blue Flag sites during the season. 

Superyacht Marinas playing their part
Many high profile marinas are adopting the international ISO 14001 standard, which requires the highest standards of environmental best practices and legislative compliance. One of them is the Port Adriano development, which caters specifically for superyachts on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca, with its elegant upmarket appeal created by renowned French designer Philippe Starck.

The Port Adriano management says that it wants to contribute to sustainable development of the region, and the welfare of the surrounding community through a transparent environmental performance and ethical policy. 

Do you have any experiences to share about marinas? Good or bad? Clean, or not so clean? We’d love to hear from you via the below comment box.
In a future article on the METSTRADE Community we will cover some products and concepts that are available to help us all in the quest for cleaner marinas. Do you know of any from personal experience? Do please let us know, so that we can share the information!

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