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Indian River Marina certified first ‘Clean Marina’

Indian River Marina was recognized as Delaware's first certified "Clean Marina" in a ceremony on Sept. 15. Displaying the Delaware Clean Marina flag are (from left) David Chapman, marine transportation specialist for the UD Sea Grant College Program and coordinator of the Delaware Clean Marina Program; John Hughes, secretary of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control; Gary King, manager of Indian River Marina; and Lt. Gov. John Carney.
11:17 a.m., Sept. 16, 2004--The crowd at Indian River Marina in Delaware Seashore State Park applauded as the official “Delaware Clean Marina” flag was hoisted Wednesday, Sept. 15, recognizing the state’s first certified “clean marina.”

The Delaware Clean Marina Program, launched last year, is a voluntary effort that enlists marina operators and boaters in reducing pollution of the state’s waterways. It is a partnership of UD’s Sea Grant College Program, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), the Boat U.S. Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

“This program is important for a Livable Delaware—for preserving the environment that’s so critical to the quality of life of every Delawarean,” Lt. Gov. John Carney said during the ceremony at the marina. “It’s a win-win effort for marina operators, the public and the environment.”

David Chapman, marine transportation specialist for the UD Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service and chairperson of the Delaware Clean Marina Executive Committee, emceed the event. Other speakers included DNREC Secretary John Hughes and Gary King, manager of Indian River Marina.

“There are about 50,000 registered boaters in Delaware and many others from out of state who enjoy boating in our waters,” Hughes said. “We’re hoping that Indian River Marina is the first link in a whole chain of Clean Marinas that will soon be found throughout Delaware.”

Since the program began last year, 14 of the state’s estimated 100 marinas have taken the Clean Marina pledge, which is the first step in achieving certification.

“The Delaware Clean Marina Program is a positive initiative for our marine businesses, for boaters and for our state’s valuable waters,” Chapman, who coordinates the program, said. “Since marinas are located directly along the water’s edge, activities associated with boating have a greater potential to affect water quality. That’s why the help of marina operators is critical to the future of our natural resources. When the public sees the Clean Marina flag, they know that marina operator is working to protect the environment.”

After taking the Clean Marina pledge, marina operators receive a guidebook and checklist for incorporating “best management practices” at their facilities in areas ranging from spill-proof fueling methods to oil recycling. They have a year to work through the checklist and implement necessary measures to achieve a passing score. Once certified, a marina can use the “Delaware Clean Marina” logo and flag in its advertising.

“I’m very pleased and proud that we accomplished this,” King said. “As a state-owned facility, we felt we needed to set the standard and fulfill our stewardship call.” King said he hopes the marina can now serve as “a user-friendly model” for other marina operators as they seek to incorporate changes at their facilities.

After the ceremony, King led a tour of the eco-friendly practices that are in place at Indian River Marina. The marina has made changes to a number of its procedures, “from the way we fuel boats to how we clean fish and handle the waste,” he said. In addition to such features as a pump-out station for boat sewage and a new system for recycling used oil, Indian River Marina has installed a state-of-the-art boat maintenance area that ties into a drainage system that separates oil from water.

“We also went to great lengths to preserve the natural vegetation around our site so that we can take advantage of nature to help clean our waste,” he added.

Currently, 14 states and the District of Columbia have Clean Marina programs, and four other states are developing programs.

For more information about Delaware’s program, contact Chapman at (302) 645-4268 or e-mail him at [dchapman@udel.edu].

Article by Tracey Bryant
Photo by Kathy Atkinson

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