Michigan Clean Marina Program growing as marinas adopt environmental practices

Michigan marinas are adopting environmentally sound operating practices as marina managers, municipalities and boaters are becoming increasingly aware of environmental impacts within the industry.

In December 2012, the Michigan Clean Marina Program certified two new marinas and recertified 12 marinas, totaling 41 Clean Marinas certified in Michigan for 2012. All of the marinas eligible for recertification had adopted additional best management practices (BMPs) since their initial certification three years ago. On average, recertified marinas increased the number of recommended BMPs adopted by almost 5 percent, while many went beyond and implemented practices and technologies that were not on the current checklist. 

The additional practices being adopted indicate that the Michigan Clean Marina Program is more than just a procedural program; marina managers are taking a proactive role in finding solutions to marina issues that leave little impact on the environment. In addition, many of these solutions are designed to make the marina customers’ experience more enjoyable, and may often be less expensive operating options than traditional solutions. Some examples of practices adopted by marinas include oilcan crushing, and recycling items like oil and boat shrink-wrap, which help offset disposal costs. Some marinas have included the use of technologies like low-flow toilets, solar-power, an replacing traditional lighting in their facilities with skylights or light wells that may save on utility bills.

Many of the additional practices adopted were educational, which is a critical component of the Michigan Clean Marina Program. Marinas are gathering areas for boaters, and it is much easier to educate a large group of boaters on their impacts upon the environment than it is to try to reach one boater at a time. Signage explaining to boaters about the transport of aquatic nuisance species and placards identifying storm water drains all helps boaters understand the impact they might have on the environment. Many of the marinas highlight their clean practices by offering tours of their facilities and explain how they are addressing issues in an environmentally and economically sustainable way.

The Michigan Clean Marina Program is a cooperative effort of the Michigan Boating Industries Association, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy and Michigan Sea Grant College Program (Michigan State University Extension and the University of Michigan). Boaters who want to stay at a Michigan Clean Marina can find one by visiting the Location page of the Michigan Clean Marina website. In addition, marinas who want to learn more about the program can read about it on the Michigan Clean Marina Program website or may contact Erin DeVris, Michigan Sea Grant program coordinator at edevries@umich.edu, or Michigan Sea Grant Extension educator Mark Breederland at mbreederl@msu.edu.

Michigan Sea Grant helps to foster economic growth and protect Michigan’s coastal, Great Lakes resources through education, research, and outreach. A collaborative effort of the University of Michigan and Michigan State University and its MSU Extension, Michigan Sea Grant is part of the NOAA-National Sea Grant network of 34 university-based programs.

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