How Marinas and Ports Are Going Green

 

Photo by CHUTTERSNAP

Sustainability and eco-friendliness have been increasingly essential topics in nearly every industry. One industry that has seen a significant transformation in sustainability is the maritime industry. Closer to ocean shores, ports and marinas have increasingly realized that they need to rethink their practices to keep the surrounding waters clean and healthy.

Marinas can have a significant impact on the environment. These ports may see hundreds of small boats and yachts every day, whether for entertainment purposes or to bring in the day’s catch. Some marinas have taken the initiative to become sustainable for the environment’s sake, but now is the time for all marinas to take steps to go green.

The Impact of Marinas on the Environment

Having too many boats a marina is a cause for concern since this has the potential to over-burden a destination’s carrying capacity and ability to manage their environmental impacts. As boats and yachts arrive at the marina, they have the potential to harm the natural environment if they’re not acting environmentally responsible.

For one, the boats coming into marinas can disrupt the ecosystem. Many ocean ecosystems, especially near shorelines, are more fragile. Boats stir up the mud, causing algae growth as well.

Yachts and boats often leave behind more than just guests. They carry and sometimes release single-use plastics, bottles, packaging materials, and other harmful items into the places they dock at. Fuels also enter the waterways polluting the surrounding area depositing an oily and toxic layer visible to the human eye. Not only is this unsightly, but also very harmful to marine species causing reduced growth, changes in respiration, fin erosion and other consequences to mating and wider impacts in the food chain.

Knowing these impact, marinas should place environmental health at the top of their concerns within their business operations. This will increase business prospects and ensure that future generations can enjoy the same boating experiences that boaters all over the world enjoy today.

Some marinas and ports have already taken some great leaps forwards. Here are some examples of how marinas are going green.

Making Recycling a Priority

One of the best ways to go green is to make recycling a priority. If recycling isn’t convenient when boaters arrive at the marina, they’ll be less likely to put their items in recycling bins and more likely to throw them in the trash or even worse, the water.

Marina owners can place recycling bins next to trash cans and use signage to remind boaters and customers of the importance of recycling and how it can help reduce ocean pollution.

Using Oysters or Mussels as a Natural Filter

A nature-based solution to tackling poor water quality in marinas is to use oysters or mussels as a natural filter. A project in New York City called the Billion Oyster Project uses oysters to filter up to 50 gallons of water every day. This purifies the water, making it a cleaner and safer environment for sea life and humans. Other projects have used mussels in the same way making use of their natural siphon filtration capabilities.

Installing Renewable Energy

Marinas are required to illuminate their ports to ensure boats arrive safely. Installing renewable energy sources like solar panels and wind turbines increases the efficiency of the marina and can help them meet their energy needs. Marinas are the perfect place to install solar panels because they lack tree coverage and boat sheds and can be a great solution for marinas located in areas with year round sunny skies. Offshore, marina owners can add wind turbines for the same effect. This can cut electricity costs and provide power for more than just the marina lights.

Adding Native Plants

Adding native plants to the marina area can boost biodiversity and help the marine ecosystem stay intact. These create wildlife habitats for birds and fish, and in many cases, they can help filter polluted water. Additionally, marina owners can plant native species around the marina on land. Plants have a natural ability to sequester carbon dioxide. When boats release carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, the trees filter the air, which contributes to lowering the marina’s overall environmental impact.

Keeping Marinas Sustainable

Marina owners and users should integrate some of these practices or research what they can do to improve their sustainability prospects. This will not only be beneficial for the environment, but also for the reputation and recognition of your port or marina.

Thousands of boaters benefit from marinas and thousands more can enjoy the beautiful marinas when owners take the initiative to go green.

Sea Going Green is a sustainable tourism consultancy that measures and mitigates our clients’ environmental footprints working closely with the yachting, boating and coastal hotel sectors.

Are you a port or marina that would like to re-brand as sustainable? We can measure your impact and get you the recognition that you deserve. Let’s talk next steps.

 Marinas can have a significant impact on the environment. These ports may
see hundreds of small boats and yachts every day, whether for entertainment
purposes or to bring in the day’s catch. Some marinas have taken the
initiative to become sustainable for the environment’s sake, but now is the
time for all marinas to take steps to go green.

Read more in this week’s blog.Read MoreYachts, River CruisesBlog – Sea Going Green

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