Green Marinas

30 March 2010 By Louisa Cowan

Marinas all over the world are keen to be green. With initiatives such as the Clean Marinas Program, which according to their website, “encourages marina operators to protect coastal water quality by engaging in environmentally sound operating and maintenance procedures.” Promoted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), it is an award all U.S. marinas should aspire to. The prestigious Blue Flag Award, which was launched by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), is another global program which sets high standards of eco-awareness and environmental preservation criteria.

In December 2008, Dockwalk published an article called "Clean Marinas." Scott Salomon, Dockmaster at the Hall of Fame Marina in Fort Lauderdale, spoke with pride about the effort he made, and still makes, to keep his marina clean. Today, Scott is just as proud to be striving towards environmental friendliness at his marina.

He says, “Hall of Fame Marina was the first marina in Florida to receive official 'clean marina' status. Not only do we still have our recycling center, but we now use recycled garbage liners in all our bins.” Scott believes that the marina has a responsibility to help educate boat users on how to preserve the marine and global environment. He goes on to say, “We provide literature for boaters on being environmentally friendly and we have posted signs around the marina giving tips on going green.”

Another Florida marina that wears its clean marinas status with pride is Rybovich Marina in West Palm Beach. They have gone all out to meet the stringent criteria set in order to become a clean marina. As well as having a comprehensive recycling center they have a storm water pollution protection program which Eric Hruska says “includes quarterly laboratory testing of run off for heavy metals etc.” He goes on to say,  “We have a drain system that captures almost all water in our service yard, which is then filtered and reused to pressure wash boats, and at times water plants, and all our garbage collection points on piers are covered and protected from spills in the water.”

Owning the Caribbean’s first eco-friendly marina, the Turks and Caicos Yacht Club inspired Island Global Yachting (IGY) to publicly declare their goal of working toward meeting Blue Flag Standards at all of their marinas. “IGY continues its commitment to best practices as it relates to ecological awareness and conservation initiatives at its marinas. This includes, among other things, utilization of approved eco-friendly cleaners and products for use at facilities and the promotion of sustainable materials and renewable energy,” says an IGY representative.

As part of one of the world's yachting hubs, marinas in the Caribbean seem determined to keep up with times when it comes to being green. The Errol Flyn Marina in Jamaica remains an inspiration when it comes to environmental detail with even their light bulbs being energy efficient. The Atlantis Marina in The Bahamas was awarded Blue Flag status for its conservation efforts and all marina guests receive a Clean, Green Boating Principles booklet on arrival.

Although they have not yet received Blue Flag status, St. Maarten’s marinas are currently working closely with the organization in a new pilot scheme to improve their green standards and become more eco-friendly.

If you are heading over to Europe this summer, spotting some green initiatives shouldn’t be too difficult. Port Gocek in Turkey provides containers for yachts to discharge all waste oil and dirty water; the famous Marina di Porto Cervo, Sardinia, boasts oil waste deposits around the marina. Port Vauban, France, not only flies the Blue Flag, but also was the first in the Alpes Maritimes to join the French Charter of the Environment, which strives to introduce best practice in all areas of eco-preservation.

The Scandinavians are famous for their rigorous recycling schemes and strong environmental conscience, so you won’t be surprised to discover that the Rosendal Hamn Marina in Norway has some fantastic green initiatives. Marina Chairman, Øyvind Lernes, says, “We are extremely concerned about how we affect the environment. Our anchoring systems are specially designed so that they do not affect the seabed. We use solar lighting for all markup light and low-energy lights for other lighting.” He goes on to describe a strict recycling system, waste disposal facilities, the fact all the electricity is generated by hydropower and the offer of biodiesel as alternative to ordinary fuel. On top of all this, visiting yachts with fresh water straight from the glacier which has melted naturally. It doesn’t get much greener than this!

So with all of these green marinas out there, they provide the facilities, it’s now up to crew to do our bit for the environment and use them.