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The NOAA Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management Clean Marina Initiative

It's not often that we get to praise the US Government for being "good guys" but in this case, we have found a great reason to send accolades to a government agency for at least one initiative, and NOAA actually has many initiatives that qualify this branch of government for good guy recognition. From weather services, to charting, to environmental protection in a very positive way, NOAA is way at the top of our list of good guys overall. Let's look at one reason.

NOAA, jointly responsible for administering the Coastal Nonpoint Control Program with EPA, plays an important role in protecting coastal waters from polluted runoff. The Program establishes a consistent set of management measures for all coastal states which are designed to prevent or reduce runoff from a variety of sources, including marinas. Within this Program is the Clean Marina Initiative, 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 programs vary from state to state, all 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 are recognized for their environmental stewardship. NOAA supports the Clean Marina Initiative through targeted grant funding to states developing Clean Marina Programs.

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Why is the Clean Marina Initiative Important?

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 runoff, pollution from marinas can have a significant impact on local water quality. Therefore, is it important to promote practices that will prevent pollution from entering coastal waterways.

Benefits for Marinas Operators and Owners

  • Reduce waste disposal costs. The 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 assistance for meeting regulatory requirements are available.
  • 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 good stewardship 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.

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