Ocean Currents » marina http://blog.oceanconservancy.org News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy Tue, 24 May 2016 13:30:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 To the Point (and Nonpoint): Understanding Sewage Pollution and Stormwater Runoff http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/06/03/to-the-point-and-nonpoint-understanding-sewage-pollution-and-stormwater-runoff/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/06/03/to-the-point-and-nonpoint-understanding-sewage-pollution-and-stormwater-runoff/#comments Wed, 03 Jun 2015 13:05:28 +0000 Allison Schutes http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=10293

Photo: Corduroy LeFevre

As a boater or marina operator, you have probably experienced first-hand the effects of pollutants. Although you may make every feasible effort to prevent pollutants from entering your local waters, not all sources are easy to pinpoint. Here is a quick refresher of some of the most common types and sources of contaminants.

Most pollution can be categorized as “point” or “nonpoint” discharges. Point sources of pollution – such as outfall pipes – introduce pollution into the environment at a specific site or point. They are generally the easiest to identify, monitor and regulate.

By contrast, nonpoint source pollution comes from a plethora of diffuse sources and is unconstrained in movement. Nonpoint source pollution is caused by water (typically rainfall or snowmelt) moving over and through the ground. Sources include storm drains and runoff from parking lots, roadways or agricultural land.

Sewage: Point Source Pollution

Even though it’s not fun to discuss, sewage is an important topic when it comes to ocean health because it degrades water quality by introducing waste and potentially harmful microbial pathogens into the environment. Untreated sewage can enter the water from faulty residential, municipal or marina septic treatment systems or from direct discharges from shoreside facilities and boats.

Simply put, sewage makes water look bad and smell even worse. As a result, marinas and boaters must play a role in reducing sewage pollution.

Boaters

  • Remember that it is illegal for vessels to discharge raw sewage within 3 nautical miles of the U.S. coast and the Great Lakes.
  • Install and use a marine sanitation device as required by law.
  • Bring portable toilets ashore for proper disposal.

Marinas

  • Provide portable or stationary pump-out units or information on nearby pump-out facilities.
  • Give boaters access to dumping stations for disposal of portable toilet waste.
  • Provide clean onshore restrooms and encourage their use.

Stormwater Runoff: Nonpoint Source Pollution

Nonpoint pollution sources are difficult to measure and regulate because they tend to be diffuse and widespread. Stormwater runoff can pick up fertilizers and animal waste from agricultural fields; litter and household chemical from streets; and oil and other substances from roadways and parking lots. In marinas, principal runoff pollutants come from parking lots and hull maintenance areas.

The most visible pollutants in stormwater runoff are small pieces of trash. But runoff also carries hidden dangers, such as excessive nutrients, toxins, heavy metals and bacteria.

Boaters and marina operators can help reduce the effects of stormwater runoff by using non-toxic cleaning products; disposing of trash properly; and stenciling messages near storm drains to remind people about the direct connection to local waters.

Sewage pollution and stormwater runoff can severely harm water quality, wildlife and habitats – even local economies. Although any single discharge or runoff event may be small, it is the cumulative effect of many small inputs that is so destructive.

To learn more about how you can help reduce sewage pollution and stormwater runoff, see Chapter 3 and Chapter 6 of the Good Mate manual.

 

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Good Boating Practices Start with Good Mate http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/04/08/good-boating-practices-start-with-good-mate/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/04/08/good-boating-practices-start-with-good-mate/#comments Wed, 08 Apr 2015 16:58:42 +0000 Allison Schutes http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=10054

Spring has sprung – an indicator for millions of water lovers that boating season is fast approaching. While you’re dusting off your vessel for its return to the water, now is also a good time to brush up on good boating practices.

As a boater or marina operator, you’ve seen first hand how a wonderful boating experience can quickly take a bad turn when ocean trash damages a boat or the environment. You know how mishandling a boat can harm ecosystems, wildlife and water quality. Improper, irresponsible or neglectful vessel maintenance and poor refueling, repair and storage habits all present environmental risks. Reducing these risks not only helps preserve clean water and protect the animals that live in it, but also keeps boaters and their families safe – and could even save money.

Fortunately, Ocean Conservancy – working in collaboration with the U.S. Coast Guard, Coast Guard Auxiliary and Brunswick Public Foundation– created Good Mate, a public outreach program aimed at reducing and eliminating marine pollution and environmental degradation. It offers simple, easy-to-follow guidelines for green boating that the boating community can use and share.

A cornerstone of this program is the Good Mate manual. The manual fully outlines best boating practices – practical steps you can use today. The manual breaks them down into six manageable chapters: the first five examine pollutants that can enter our waters through regular marina activities and the sixth addresses environmental hazards while at sea. All sections provide boaters and marina operators with many informative and useful tips to be leaders in water protection as well as insight on environmental rules and regulations, techniques related to preventing marine pollution and how to respond to pollution violations.

As a boater or marina operator, you are an important steward of our ocean, lakes and waterways. Ocean Conservancy’s Good Mate manual is an excellent tool that offers you simple, practical steps to protect the water that our lives and recreation depend upon. Those actions, multiplied across the entire boating community, add up.

It’s time to look beyond the bow and realize that you can make a tremendous difference in the quality of your experience on the water and in the health of the water we love so much.

Before you cast off, review the easy tips that boaters can take to protect our ocean and waterways.

Put the following list of steps into practice at your marina to find new solutions for a changing ocean.

Download a free copy of Ocean Conservancy’s Good Mate manual here.

For more in-depth information on how to practice green boating, visit: www.oceanconservancy.org/goodmate.

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Boating Tips to Keep it Green While in the Blue http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/03/22/boating-tips-to-keep-it-green-while-in-the-blue/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/03/22/boating-tips-to-keep-it-green-while-in-the-blue/#comments Fri, 22 Mar 2013 20:49:14 +0000 Guest Blogger http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=5245

Boats in a marina. Credit / iStockphoto

With boating season around the corner, it’s hard to not get excited for all the fun and excitement you’ll have on the water this year! While boating can be loads of fun, it’s important to remember that you’re playing in someone else’s backyard. Ocean Conservancy and Good Mate have come up with a green boating guide that you can use as a reference point to make sure that you do your part to help keep our oceans (and the organisms that live in them) healthy.

Green boating is something that both boaters and marinas can take part in, which is why we’ve created two separate guides. They cover everything you need to know in order to make your boating ventures more ocean-friendly, including information on how to properly handle your trash, reduce oil pollution, maintain equipment safely, interact with wildlife, and how to prevent water contamination. Need some green boating literature to keep handy on your boat too? No problem, we’ve got you covered there too with a printable brochure.

Check out the guides and let us know if you have any other green boating tips or suggestions!

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