The Florida Department of Environmental Protection's "Clean Marina" Program recently recognized 21 marinas for a decade of commitment to environmental stewardship as designated Clean Marina facilities.
Fish-Tale Marina on Fort Myers Beach is one of the 21 Clean Marina facilities that has been praised in the state program for 10 years. In fact, the 7225 Estero Blvd. business was the first to get designated in Southwest Florida on July 1, 2003. It was the 67th program in the State of Florida out of more than 2,000 marinas.
"If we take care of our property and our water inlet, it will help Estero Bay," said Fish-Tale Marina owner Al Durrett. "The designation keeps all of our employees aware that we are a Clean Marina. We also like to educate our customers to that fact. Since everything we do affects Estero Bay, our education process is never-ending."
The state DEP agency is recognizing 21 marinas that have been designated Clean Marinas for a decade, including Fish-Tale Marina. The local marina will celebrate its official 10-year anniversary for such distinction on July 1.
Fish-Tale Marina has to constantly continue its clean water practices and make sure of its standing with the state DEP office through re-application on an annual basis.
"We have to do so many additional things to enhance the program of Clean Marina," said Durrett. "It might be signage, education or changing the ways marine water flows. If there is an improvement to be made, we need to make that improvement."
Being a full service marina, there is more criteria for Fish-Tale to follow. Many Clean Marina facilities are primarily boat storage business.
The property on the waterside of Santini Marina Plaza has been a marina since 1958. Since Durrett took over operations, he has had to overhaul pretty much every facet of the marina to attain such a distinction.
"We had to redo the whole property like for drainage runoffs, filtration systems, fueling systems, removal of underground tanks, recycling, stormwater control, spill prevention and emergency preparedness," said Durrett. "It was an expensive ordeal to become a Clean Marina. It took us about 2-1/2 to three years to do it."
Durrett stated he was the first person to join the Ostego Bay Environmental Response Co-op , an oil spill first response program, as a marina business owner.
Since 2000, Florida DEP has encouraged clean boating through the development of designation programs that recognize facilities engaging in environmentally friendly practices in and around Florida's waterways.
To date, the state Clean Marina program has designated 270 marinas, 40 boatyards and 17 retailers as "clean" facilities.
"We want to congratulate these facilities for their dedication to protecting Florida's marine environment over the last 10 years," said DEP's Office of Sustainable Initiatives Director Brad Stombock. "By helping protect Florida's waterways, these marinas are ensuring the health of the state's environment and economy."
Snook Bight Marina & Yacht Club at 4765 Estero Blvd. is the other Beach marina that has been honored in the Clean Marina Program. It was recognized in 2010.
The two Beach marinas are among 49 in the South district of Florida to be honored.
To become designated as a Clean Marina, facilities must implement a set of environmental measures designed to protect Florida's waterways. These measures address critical environmental issues such as sensitive habitat, waste management, stormwater control, spill prevention and emergency preparedness. In exchange for this voluntary measure, the DEP promotes these marinas and other green businesses on its website, at boat shows and speaking engagements.
With more than 1,350 miles of coastline, 50,000 miles of inland and coastal rivers and streams, 700 freshwater springs and countless lakes, Floridians depend on water more than any other natural resource, according to the DEP website. The continued success of the state's $56 billion tourism industry, its $14 billion marine industry and $6.6 billion fishing industry rely on Florida's waterways and coastlines to be clean.
The Clean Boating Partnership is a public/private enterprise of marina and boatyard operators and representatives from the Marine Industries Association of Florida and its local chapters; Florida Sea Grant Program; United States Coast Guard Auxiliary and Sea Partners Program; Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; and DEP. This partnership provides assistance to and evaluation of the program, as well as public outreach, workshops, technical assistance and mentoring.
To learn more about the Florida Clean Marina Program, contact the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Clean Marina Program by calling 1-(850) 245-2100.
To learn more about what Fish-Tale Marina has to offer, go to www.thefishtalemarina.com.
Clean Marina qualifications
A facility looking to make it into the program must meet the environmental criteria outlined in the Florida Clean Marina Program guidebook, which contains information and comprehensive action plans. Once a facility has completed its action plan and satisfied the requirements, representatives from DEP and the Clean Boating Partnership will do an on-site assessment to confirm. The results of the assessment will be forwarded to the program manager and the facility will be notified of its designation.
The Florida Clean Marina Program is a voluntary designation program with a proactive approach to environmental stewardship. Participants receive assistance in implementing best management practices through on-site and distance technical assistance, mentoring by other Clean Marinas and continuing education. Designated facilities and those facilities seeking designation receive ongoing technical support from the Florida Clean Marina Program and the Clean Boating Partnership.
Three categories of criteria are required for Clean Marina, Clean Boatyard or Clean Marine Retailer designation:
- Environmental Management: Compliance with environmental regulations and submerged land lease, and using best management practices determined from the self-assessment checklist and designation review; available resource person at the marina to provide customers with environmental information, and who can be contacted for inquires about the Clean Marina Program and environmental issues pertinent to the marina; and adequate and well-managed trash/garbage and recycling containers. Post for viewing, or otherwise publish, a set of environmental policies used by the marina.
- Marina Environmental Quality: Water and land of the marina must be clean without signs of oil, sewage or litter.; marinas will encourage boaters not to discharge sewage into the waters of their facilities or waters of the state; and raw sewage discharge is prohibited.
- Services: Marinas will provide clean restroom facilities and access to drinking water; docks and grounds shall be well maintained for safety and appearance; all marina personnel are regularly trained on marina environmental policies and procedures; all Clean Marine retailer facilities will provide environmental education at the time of sale of new or used boats to the buyer; and education will consist of a "Welcome Boater Package" to be provided by the facility.
Taking the steps to becoming a Clean Marina
- Submit an application. By completing the Florida Clean Marina Program application, you make a commitment to do your part to help eliminate or reduce pollutants from reaching Florida's waterways. Upon completing your application you will receive the Florida Clean Marina Program Workbook containing all the information on becoming a Clean Marina and best management practices, as well as the Florida Sea Grants Panic File for emergency planning.
- Conduct a self-assessment of your facility. Use the Florida Clean Marina Program Action Plan checklist to perform a self-assessment of your facility.
- Contact a Florida Clean Marina Program mentor or staff member for technical assistance or to answer any questions.
- Schedule a confirmation visit. Once Florida Clean Marina Program criteria have been met, schedule a confirmation visit with your district DEP coordinator. A team of Florida Clean Marina Program and Clean Boating Partnership representatives will visit your facility to verify your Action Plan.
- Enjoy your rewards. As a designated Florida Clean Marina Program facility, you will receive a Clean Marina flag and be authorized to use the Clean Marina logo to advertise your facility. Your facility will also be included in Florida Clean Marina Program outreach publications and Web site, and DEP will issue a press release recognizing your facility's demonstrated commitment to environmental stewardship.
n Maintain Florida Clean Marina Program status. Annually, in writing, confirm that your facility continues to meet Florida Clean Marina Program standards. A Florida Clean Marina Program representative may perform an on-site visit to assist and reaffirm the Clean Marina status.
The benefits of being a Clean Marina
1) Awareness and exposure
- Presentation of a Florida Clean Marina Program flag and plaque to proudly display commitment to the environment
- Promotion on the DEP website and use of the Florida Clean Marina Program logo on your marketing materials and website
- Recognition by boaters and the community that the facility is a good environmental citizen, and recognition and promotion by the marine industry that the facility considers the environment an important asset in conducting business.
2) Saving Money
- Recycling and reusing materials can generate income by reducing disposal fees, decreasing the need to buy new materials and generate sales of recycled goods.
- Grant assistance is available to install pumpout facilities.
- Reduction of future liability and potential clean-up costs.
- Improved cost efficiency of facility operations.
- Possibility of insurance incentives and discounts.
3) Technical Assistance
- Access to technical assistance from the Florida Sea Grant, United States Coast Guard Program, USCG Sea Partners, USCG Auxiliary, Marina Mentors from other designated Clean Marinas, the Clean Boating Partnership and staff from the Florida Clean Marina Program before, during and after the designation process.
- Quarterly newsletters of new compliance and environmental regulations provide valuable information on staying above the regulatory curve.
- Receive a comprehensive "Resource Toolkit" with a step-by-step guide to becoming a member of the Florida Clean Marina Program.
Clean Marina accomplishments
- Since 2000, the Florida Clean Marina Program and the Clean Boating Partnership have offered resources and expertise to assist Florida's marine industry in protecting the environment while benefiting the industry. Listed below are a few of the accomplishments and awards credited to the Florida Clean Marina Program and the Clean Boating Partnership.
- Approximately 60,000 oil absorbing bilge socks have been distributed to the public, keeping thousands of gallons of oil out of the water.
- Preventative fuel spill kits have been given to 150 marinas.
- Nearly 20,000 children's life jackets have been fitted and distributed at outreach events.
- More than 300,000 clean boating habits brochures and handbooks have been distributed to the public.
- More than 25,000 pounds of material and 75,000 gallons of oil have been recycled.
- information provided from www.dep.state.fl.us/cleanmarina