While not considered a primary threat to water quality, marinas and recreational boating can have negative local environmental impacts. A marina’s location alone increases the risk of pollutants being delivered to the marina basin or waterway via runoff. Some of the pollutants that might be generated at a marina include nutrients and pathogens, fish waste, sediment, petroleum hydrocarbons, toxic metals, and liquid and solid wastes. IDEM's Reasons to Become a Clean Marina flyer [PDF] has more details about some of these pollutants.
Marinas can also have negative environmental impacts based upon siting and design. Marinas are typically low-energy environments which are cut off from wind and wave action. This sheltered environment reduces water circulation or mixing action within the marina basin which can lead to contaminant build up. Additionally, construction of marinas can negatively impact nearshore habitats that are important to aquatic and terrestrial animals if not sited or designed properly.
There are a number of Best Management Practices (BMPs) [YouTube] that marinas can implement to protect water quality and aquatic resources. Best management practices are methods that have been determined to be the most effective and practical means of preventing or reducing pollution.
Why Should Marinas Participate in the Clean Marina Program?
Here are few other reasons for marinas to participate in the Indiana Clean Marina Program.
- Reduce waste disposal costs. The Best Management Practices (BMPs) highlighted in the Indiana Clean Marina Program Guidebook can reduce the amount of wastes you produce so your disposal costs will be less.
- Generate new sources of revenue. Studies have shown that owners of Clean Marinas can charge slightly higher slip fees and have fewer vacancies.
- Receive free technical assistance. You will have access to best management practices guidebooks, training workshops and on-site visits.
- Reduce legal liabilities. You can feel more confident that you are meeting all legal requirements.
- Enjoy free publicity. Your marina will be recognized as a Clean Marina through press releases, newsletters, boating guides, and other publications.
- Attract knowledgeable customers. Clean Marinas are aesthetically pleasing facilities and you can attract responsible clientele that will follow good boating practices.
- Improve water quality and habitat for living resources. Your marina and the boating industry depend on clean waters and a healthy aquatic environment for continued success.
- Demonstrate the marina is a good steward of the environment. The Indiana Clean Marina Program will distribute special burgees and signs for Clean Marinas to display. Your Clean Marina will be allowed to use the Indiana Clean Marina logo on its letterhead and other publications.
How to Become a Designated Indiana Clean Marina
Any marina wishing to become a designated Indiana Clean Marina must meet all federal and state laws that pertain to their facility. In addition to the legal requirements, marinas also must implement 80 percent of the BMPs which apply to their facility. Further information on how to become and maintain an Indiana Clean Marina designation can be found in the Indiana Clean Marina Guidebook.
Resources for Marinas
- Indiana Clean Marina Guidebook
- Indiana Clean Marina Pledge [PDF]
- Indiana Clean Boater Pledge [PDF]
- Indiana Clean Marina Checklist [PDF]
- Reinforcing our Waterfronts: Increased Resilience at Marinas and Harbors [PDF]
- Reasons to Become a Clean Marina [PDF]
Videos for Marinas
- Keeping it Clean: Best Practices for Certified Clean Marinas
- Marinas and Boat Bottom Washing Best Practices
- Alliance for the Great Lakes
- BoatU.S. Foundation
- Great Lakes Commission: Invasive Species
- Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant
- Indiana DNR: Lake Michigan Coastal Program
- Protect Your Waters: Aquatic Invasive Species
- U.S. Coast Guard
- U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary
- U.S. EPA: Marinas and Boating - Additional Resources