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Marina recognized for environmental practices longevity

May 21, 2014
By BOB PETCHER ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Fish-Tale Marina has made a long-term commitment to preserve Florida waterways by maintaining several standing operating procedures on a daily basis, by constantly continuing its clean water practices and by keeping its facility engaged in environmentally friendly practices.

Recently, co-owners Al and Kathy Durrett were recognized by the local office of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection with a plaque presentation ceremony for its "Clean Marina" Program longevity. This July 1 marks 11 years that Fish-Tale Marina has been in the program. On that date in 2003, it became the 67th program in the State of Florida out of more than 2,000 marinas.

"(Fish-Tale Marina) is one of the more active Clean Marinas and is very involved in the community," said Laura M. Comer, an environmental specialist for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection South District in Fort Myers. "The work all comes from the marinas. It really takes an effort to stick with it."

Article Photos

Florida DEP South District Director Jon Iglehart hands Kathy Durrett a Clean Marina plaque to show Fish-Tale Marina has sustained clean water practices to preserve Florida waterways for more than 10 years. Both Kathy and Al Durrett (r) are honored to receive such a distinction.

"This is a total voluntary program," added Terry Cerullo, the state's DEP south district outreach coordinator. "Those businesses that have been in the program for more than 10 years have obviously made a commitment to be good stewards while helping the water quality issues that we have at marinas."

Comer recently made the rounds to 10 local marinas that have been in the program for double digit years. The visits served as a follow-up to the existing designation.

"We wanted to recognize all the marinas that have been in the program for 10 or more years," she said. "It takes a lot to maintain the program. We appreciate their effort."

Fish-Tale Marina has helped put together a sea grass brochure and has hosted water cleanup events as well as running marine life educational boat tours to inform the interested public, particularly youth.

"It's great for kids to learn about sea grass and the importance of mangroves," said Cerullo. "It will obviously be passed down to more generations."

Comer travels to marinas in the program a minimum of once every five years to verify each business' status as a Clean Marina.

"Marinas update their emergency plans and self-review every year," she said. "Al calls me all the time and, whenever I have an opportunity to provide assistance or support, I go down there. So, I see him much more often."

DEP has recorded 280 clean marina facilities statewide, with 89 being in program for 10-plus years. The South District, encompassing Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Sarasota and Monroe counties have 65 active designated facilities, 17 of which have sustained for 10 years running.

Fish Tale Marina has company on Fort Myers Beach in the Clean Marina program with Snook Bight Marina and Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina. Other businesses in Lee County with that double digit distinction include Bonita Boat Harbor LLC, Tarpon Point Marina, Sanibel Island Marina, Inc., Legacy Harbour Marina, City of Fort Myers Yacht Basin and St. Charles Yacht Club.

"If we take care of our property and our water inlet, it will help Estero Bay," said Fish-Tale Marina owner Al Durrett earlier. "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."

Become Clean Marina rich

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

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