Clean Marinas Colorado is a voluntary recognition program that targets marinas, boatyards and individual boaters - providing education and outreach activities that help maintain or restore water quality in Colorado’s major waterways. The overall environmental goal of the program is to document water quality improvement where people enjoy boating.

What is the Clean Marina Initiative?
The Clean Marina Initiative is a voluntary, incentive-based program promoted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and others that encourages marina operators and recreational boaters to protect [boating] water quality by engaging in environmentally sound operating and maintenance procedures. While Clean Marina Programs vary from state to state, all programs offer information, guidance, and technical assistance to marina operators, local governments, and recreational boaters on Best Management Practices (BMPs) that can be used to prevent or reduce pollution. Marinas that participate in the Clean Marina Program are recognized for their environmental stewardship.

Why is the Clean Marina Initiative Important?
Clean Marina programs help reduce pollution to our [boating] waters by encouraging environmentally-friendly marina and boating practices. Marinas and recreational boating are increasingly popular uses of [inland lakes and] coastal areas. The U.S. Coast Guard reported more than 17 million registered recreational boats in 2004. Because marinas are located right along the water's edge, pollutants created by marina activities are released directly into the water. Although not one of the leading sources of polluted runoff, pollution from marinas can have a significant impact on local water quality. Therefore, is it important to promote operation and maintenance practices that will prevent pollution from entering [our] waterways.

Benefits of a Clean Marina Program
A Clean Marina Program offers many benefits to marina operators and coastal areas participating in the program.

Benefits for Marinas Operators and Owners

      • Reduce waste disposal costs. The Best Management Practices (BMPs) will reduce the amount of wastes produced so disposal costs will be less.

      • Generate new sources of revenue. Studies have shown that Clean Marinas can charge slightly higher slip fees and have fewer vacancies.

      • Receive free technical assistance. Best Management Practices guidebooks, training workshops and on-site visits are available to marina operators. Often states will even offer on-site assistance for meeting regulatory requirements.

      • Reduce legal liabilities. By participating in the Clean Marina Program, marinas can ensure they are meeting all regulatory requirements, thus avoiding fines.

      • Enjoy free publicity. States recognize Clean Marinas through press releases, newsletters, and boating guides, etc.

      • Attract knowledgeable customers. Clean Marinas are aesthetically pleasing facilities that can attract responsible clientele that will follow good boating practices

      • Improve water quality and habitat for living resources. The marina and boating industry depends on clean waters and a healthy coastal environment for their continued success.

      • Demonstrate marina is a good steward of the environment. Many states distribute special burgees and signs for Clean Marinas to display. Clean Marinas are also allowed to use the State's Clean Marina logo on all letterhead.

Benefits for State Coastal Managers and Others Interested in Starting Clean Marina Programs

      • Educate boaters. The Clean Marina Program is an excellent way to reach out to recreational boaters and demonstrate how they can alter their own practices to minimize impacts on the marine environment.

      • Satisfy the requirements of the State Coastal Nonpoint Control Program. By developing a Clean Marina Program, a state will demonstrate a commitment to implement the marina management measures required by the joint NOAA/EPA program.

      • Improve Coordination. By joining in the Clean Marina Initiative, states and their partners will be able to join the growing network of Clean Marina Programs nationwide.

NOAA's Role in the Clean Marina Initiative
Many boaters prefer to patronize clean marinas because they value clean coastal waters for boating and fishing.

NOAA, jointly responsible for administering the Coastal Nonpoint Control Program with EPA, plays an important role in protecting coastal waters from polluted runoff. The Coastal Nonpoint Program establishes a consistent set of management measures for all coastal states to use in controlling nonpoint source pollution. Management measures are designed to prevent or reduce runoff from a variety of sources, including marinas.

NOAA recognizes that the Clean Marina Initiative can serve a valuable role in protecting coastal waters from nonpoint source pollution and has promoted the program as a way for states to meet many of the marina management measure requirements under the Coastal Nonpoint Program. As a result, the Coastal Nonpoint Program has been responsible for driving the development of most of the state Clean Marina Programs existing today and developing a national interest in the Initiative. For more information, contact

source: August 2010

Program Description
The Program begins with a review of each marina to determine what Best Management Practices are / are not currently in use - meaning "all activities and products that help prevent or reduce water pollution" - including good boat-keeping practices, education, signs, notices, marina rules and regulations, waste receptacles, spill prevention and rapid clean-up plans - all focused on clean and healthy boating waters.

The Program provides a roadmap that provide separate recommendations for both marinas and boaters - covering all boating-related activities, including these specific topics:

Emergencies • Petroleum Containment • Topside Boat Maintenance and Cleaning Underwater Boat
Hull Cleaning • Marina Operations • Marina Debris • Boat Sewage Discharge Solid Waste
• Liquid Waste • Fish Waste • Hazardous Materials • Storm Water Runoff

Marina owners will be asked to commit to the goals of the Program - to change their operational actions and procedures to enable compliance with the Program BMPs (i.e. "Pledge" to the Program). Marinas are officially "scored" in their effort to comply with the BMPs, and the scoring system becomes the basis for performance improvement and Program certification.

The Program also provides marinas and boaters with up-to-date applicable local, state and national regulations and resources to enable focused attainment of the Program goals. Those meeting Program standards and implementing a pledge to continue using these BMPs will receive a Clean Marina designation. There is no "scoring system" for individual boaters, however, a "recognition" effort will be extended through the Program, US Coast Guard Auxiliary and CLRMA volunteers at the lakes and reservoirs.

Once a marina has Pledged loyalty to the process, the marina operator(s) will be presented with a Program shirt and a Pledge Certificate. The Program Coordinator's role then evolves as a resource and assistant in the marina's effort to complete the certification process and implement a Clean Boating Behavior Change Campaign targeting the marina's local boating customers and other boaters on that particular lake / reservoir. Where possible, this campaign will utilize US Coast Guard Auxiliary and CLRMA volunteers (and others) who currently perform boat safety inspections or other activities at several of Colorado's larger reservoirs - interacting with boaters to deliver the message and distribute "Clean Boater Kits" with clean boating products and resource information. The message to boaters includes informal education and awareness about the marina's clean boating efforts on that lake and what the boater can do to support this effort.

The Program leads marinas through the process of adopting all of the BMPs until the marina has accomplished the changes necessary to be scored sufficiently and earn the designation of a Certified Clean Marina. Upon certification, the marina operator(s) will be presented with a Program flag (to be flown on the marina's dock flag pole), a Certification Plaque, five (5) Program stickers and three (3) Program signs for prominent placement and public visibility around the marina. Participation means marinas adopting clean practices for their operations and delivering this message to their boating customers. It also means the delivery of this message to other public boaters on Colorado's waters. This type of awareness and behavioral change, if adopted by both marinas and boaters, will enable the achievement of the Program's environmental goal - water quality improvement - as evidenced by the successful results of Clean Marina Programs in many other states to date.