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…
Link to SailorsForTheSea information webpage: http://www.sailorsforthesea.org/programs/green-boating-guide
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.
Link to the Green Blue website: http://.www.thegreenblue.org.uk
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.
Link to the Green Directory website: http://www.sailingnetworks.com/green
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:
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!
Great synopsis Peter,
It seems that leaps and bounds are truly being made within the clean marina movement around the world. I know that in the United States, more than 20 states have some form of clean marina certification process or legislative initiative to support sustainable behavior along the shoreline. These businesses provide an economic backbone for many coastal communities and to disregard their environmental influence is completely undermining to the support/opportunity the marine industry provides. I do believe that many critical links exist between supporting the development of clean marina infrastructure and other industry challenges such as sustainable disposal.
For additional reading on the subject, I would recommend the 1978 study "The Environmental Impacts of Marinas and Their Boats" by Chmura and Ross, which provides clear context on perceived potential impacts.
Many thanks Evan Ridley of Sea Grant in the US, for your comments. Also for the reccomended further reading on the subject. I must admit when researching the background, I was quite impressed with the amount of positive activity that marinas around the world are voluntarily undertaking. That said, as a liveaboard boater myself (during the summer at least) I am sometimes concerned at the amount floating debris and oil contamination that is very visible in some enclosed harbours. This despite the fact that the Netherlands, where I do my cruising, is one of the most environmentally conscious communities. So obviously there is no room for complacency, and we can all do better I'm sure. Some great products are available these days to help boaters, and marina management to control pollution levels. We plan to feature some of these in another article very soon, please do let us know of any that you are aware of.
In regard to products in action, some interesting news has arisen recently here in Rhode Island USA.
New England Boatworks of Portsmouth recently received a state-sanctioned clean marina designation. The new title was granted thanks in part to the installation of a large trash skimmer near their fuel dock. Similar skimmers were installed in nearby Newport Harbor, and have since collected 6,000 lbs. of debris in the last 4 months.
More information on this story here: boatingindustry.com/.../
Having participated in the Clean Marina Program here in California is so nice to see the growth of programs internationally. I wish government agencies would realize the benefits to the programs and provide more funding. There is plenty of interest from boaters, marinas, yacht clubs and boat yards but it is all very limited by funding. I also conduct marina environmental assessments in Los Angeles and the most recent set of assessments was very positive. In the past 10 years, not only have I seen an improvement in the water quality (based on clarity, amount of debris in the water, and amount of marine life) and overall cleanliness landside but the boaters attitudes have changed. Clean boating is becoming the norm in some marinas. Boaters have told me that they are excited to see their neighbors being better stewards of the ocean and that their marina is a nicer place since the implementation of the Clean Marina Program. I hope this positive trend continues here in California and at all marinas around the world.
Thank you Michelle Bowman for your comments. It's really good to hear encouraging news from California! Whilst researching this article I was very heartened by the number of schemes similar to the one you are participating in that are operating around the world. Here in the Netherlands the water quality is on an improving trend too. In fact this year for the first time, our marina has had to hire in a weed cutting boat, as the weed growth threatened to 'lock in' some boats in the shallower areas, or risk fouling props and /or water intake filters. The water management authorities told us that this is due to improvement in water purity which allows more penetration of the sun's rays and promotes rapid weed growth. Sadly it has to be admitted that climate change bringing stronger sunlight is probably also a contributor. So, with every benefit comes a downside I guess, but let's be positive and say that improving water quality is generally good for our boating pastime and for the world in general. Now let's see some real progress on reversing the affects of plastic pollution on our oceans! Best wishes, and happy boating! Peter Franklin.
Voluntary certification programs are great in many countries, but there is still a lot of work to be done. PIANC (www.pianc.org) is an international professional association of navigation infrastructure, and RecCom is the marina commission within PIANC.
PIANC has a design approach called "Working with Nature", and RecCom is focused on developing guidelines for marina design best practices that result in sustainable and resilient results.
Issues on sustainability (environmental, economic and social) emerge in many different ways in different countries, but there are underlying dynamics. And there is a technical approach to set the stage for better marina design.
PIANC awards a recognition to sustainable design (Working with Nature certificate and award) and RecCom has a marina design award (MEDA) with significant focus on sustainability.
Follow updates on www.pianc.org or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Many thanks EBiondi, for your comments and information. You're right, there is still plenty to do, but awareness is becoming more widespread thanks to the efforts of organisations like the one you have highlighted. At METSTRADE we hope to do our part in keeping the communication channels open.