Improving Water Quality: Part 4 of 5 – Clean Marina

We do not typically think of marinas when we are thinking water quality but everyone can think of issues at these facilities that could degrade the bodies of water on which they sit. Motor oil and fuel come to mind first, bottom paint, solid waste, and the discarded parts of cleaned fish can all lower water quality. As you move about the community educating residents on better management practices on their property we should consider working with the marinas and assist where we can to reduce their impact on the waters that are so important to their businesses.


The Clean Marina Program is found throughout the United States and is managed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in our state. However FDEP is not alone with education and outreach of this program. The Marine Industries Association of Florida, United States Coast Guard, United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, United States Coast Guard Sea Partners Program, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Clean Boating Partnership, and Florida Sea Grant are involved in some capacity with its success.


Palafox Pier in downtown Pensacola.  Photo: Rick O'Connor
Palafox Pier in downtown Pensacola. Photo: Rick O’Connor

There are more than just Clean Marina’s within this program. CLEAN BOATYARDS monitors activities such as sanding, oil and solvent recycling, and re-circulating wash systems to reduce their impacts on the waters. CLEAN BOATER – assist boaters with topics such as trash management, bilge and fuel management, and recycling. CLEAN RETAILER works with the industries that sell boating equipment and service. These individuals can do a lot to educate new and old boaters on better management practices and this is what this certification looks at. The objective of all of these programs is to foster environmental stewardship within the boating community.


So why would I want to take the time, and possibly money, to become a Clean Marina?

1) Recognition within the community as an environmental steward. Many cruising boaters seek Clean Marina’s for overnight stays and many new residents choose these over others to house their vessel. You will receive a flag, be
allowed to use the logo on all stationary and other printed media, and will be listed on websites promoting your efforts.

2) When recycling materials this places less material in you dumpster which reduces costs for you. Many communities give tax breaks and other monetary incentives to recycle.

3) You will be eligible for grant assistance when seeking a sewage pump out system for your marina.

4) It can lower your liability costs by removing hazardous materials that could be quite costly if not managed properly

5) Reduction in submerged lease land fees from the state of Florida and possibly on your insurance

6) Technical assistance from FDEP or any of the other agencies who partner in this program.


Will FDEP use the Action Plan walk through to begin a regulatory investigation?

FDEP STATEMENT: Consistent with FDEP’s policy directive, FDEP 922, April 1, 1996, Self Evaluation Policy, FDEP will not use the Action Plan to initiate a civil investigation of or civil enforcement proceeding against the retailer or any enforcement action with the following exceptions:

1) The discovered violation results in serious actual harm, or may present imminent and substantial endangerment to human health or the environment

2) The discovered violation involves the violations of specific terms of any judicial or administrative order or consent agreement

Repilca of the Nina at Palafox Pier.  Photo: Rick O'Connor
Repilca of the Nina at Palafox Pier. Photo: Rick O’Connor

What are the criteria for becoming a Clean Marina?

1) Environmental Management – is the facility complying with current environmental regulations; does the facility have trained staff to answer questions of boaters; does the facility have easily accessible trash bins and signage to educate the customers on best management practices

2) Environmental Quality – are the grounds clean and safe; no sewage discharge from boats or facility

3) Services – does the facility have clean restrooms; drinking water

4) Environmentally Friendly Boater Education materials – only retailers are required to provide these




How do I become a Clean Marina?

1) Contact FDEP to learn about the program; you can visit

2) Submit an application (found on website); once entered you will receive a workbook with resources

3) Conduct a self-assessment using the Action Plan check list provided in the workbook

4) When you feel you are ready set up a confirmation walk through with your FDEP coordinator. In the Pensacola area this is Jeanne Williams –


6) Submit an annual letter stating you have re-assessed and are still a Clean Marina; FDEP will conduct a confirmation walk through


There are currently 270 Clean Marina’s in Florida; 40 Clean Boatyards, 17 Clean Retailers.

In Pensacola we have 9 Clean Marina’s; 2 Clean Boatyards; 1 Clean Retailer and 6 sewage pump out facilities. Let’s increase that number!

If you have any questions you can contact Jeanne Williams at her email above or Rick O’Connor at the Escambia County Extension Office. 850-475-5230 or

Boat motors



Posted: October 19, 2013

Category: Coasts & Marine, Natural Resources, Water
Tags: Boating, Marinas, Water Quality

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