Tom Nordlie (352) 392-1773 x 277
Don Jackson email@example.com, (352) 392-1837
Jan DeLaney firstname.lastname@example.org (850) 488-5757, ext. 178
J. Rocky De Simone email@example.com (850) 434-3548
Maia McGuire firstname.lastname@example.org (904) 461-4014
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida boaters with an environmental conscience now can look for marinas with the equivalent of the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, thanks to a new state program.
The Florida Clean Marina Program encourages the state’s 1,800 marinas to adopt higher environmental standards in several areas, such as how chemicals are handled and how waste is disposed of.
In the 18 months since the program was launched, 18 marinas have received the designation and about 150 more are working toward it, said Don Jackson, who coordinates the program for Florida Sea Grant, a program of coastal research and education affiliated with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
Marinas that successfully meet the program’s guidelines fly the Clean Marina flag, which features a white pelican on a blue-and-green background.
“Boaters are starting to look for that flag,” said Jackson, who authored some of the materials used in the program. “It makes good business sense for marinas to get involved.”
Florida pioneered the Clean Marina concept, but Maryland was the first state to put such a program in place, Jackson said. Several other states also have begun efforts to promote cleaner coastlines, including Texas, Connecticut, North Carolina, South Carolina and New York.
Jan DeLaney, Clean Marina program manager for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, said designation involves 10 criteria covering marina management practices, environmental quality and services.
“State environmental regulations make up about one-quarter of the Clean Marina requirements,” said DeLaney, who helped found the program. “The rest are voluntary practices that go the extra mile in terms of environmental citizenship.”
Participants assess their own marinas and submit written plans for improving problem areas. In most cases, the DEP allows participants 18 months to correct situations without being subject to civil enforcement action.
After a team verifies that a marina has met the program requirements, the DEP grants a one-year Clean Marina designation.
“We’d rather be proactive and prevent pollution, not deal with it after the fact,” DeLaney said. “That’s the theme running through all our partnership projects.”
The program is one of three projects initiated by the Clean Boating Partnership, a statewide task force that includes the DEP, Sea Grant Extension, the U.S. Coast Guard and marine industries trade associations.
A second project, the Florida Clean Boatyard Program, was launched in early June and targets the state’s 370 boatyards — facilities where vessels are cleaned, repaired and painted. Standards for Clean Boatyard designation will resemble those for marinas but address a wider range of activities, DeLaney said.
J. Rocky De Simone, general manager of Pensacola Shipyard Marine Complex, said he hopes his facility will be the first to receive Clean Boatyard designation.
“We were the first to be designated a Clean Marina,” he said. “Now we’re just waiting to get the written criteria so we can make sure our boatyard facilities are in compliance.”
A third project, the Florida Clean Boater Campaign, targets recreational boat users and is still being developed, said Maia McGuire, a UF Sea Grant extension agent who works in four counties on Florida’s northeast coast.
“With more than 800,000 boats registered in Florida, Clean Boater should be highly visible in the coming years,” McGuire said. “The partnership is already distributing a handbook called, ‘Clean Boating Habits,’ that addresses safety and environmental concerns. The handbook will be more widely available this fall.”
McGuire said the handbook is available from designated Clean Marina facilities, county extension offices and the DEP.
Funding for Clean Marina was secured by the DEP, using grants from the federal Environmental Protection Agency and Florida Department of Community Affairs.