Rhode Island Clean Marina Program

Watch Hill Boat Yard, Newport Yacht Club, and Safe Harbor Wickford Cove were designated as Clean Marinas under Rhode Island’s Clean Marina Program, adopted by the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) in 2007, and revamped and streamlined through a public-private partnership in 2020. 

This effort was one between the CRMC, Rhode Island Marine Trades Association (RIMTA), Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM), industry representatives, the University of Rhode Island Coastal Resources Center (CRC), and Rhode Island Sea Grant. The voluntary program was designed to protect the state’s coastal waters and benefit the marina industry. 

“The program was very popular when first introduced, and we’re pleased from a regulatory perspective to be able to now provide an even more useful version for stakeholders,” said Dan Goulet, marine infrastructure coordinator for the CRMC. “The CRMC will remain in its regulatory role and conduct final inspections, but through RIMTA we hope this program will be even more successful.”

The partners made the program more industry-friendly and forward-facing, appointing RIMTA as the point of contact for the industry and CRMC as the certification agent. The groups also revised the cumbersome certification process, reducing the amount of paperwork required to a checklist. Since its inception, five marinas have undertaken the program – Allen Harbor Marina, Point Judith Marina, Ram Point Marina, Conanicut Marine Services, Inc., and New England Boatworks.

“Clean Marina programs around the world have been effective because the connection between science and real practical solutions and the resulting for clean marina environments has always been key,” said Pam Rubinoff, a coastal manager for CRC and Rhode Island Sea Grant. “What we’ve done for the update is work in efficiency for the practices, while supporting the learning with easy-use tools and information.”  

The CMP provides education and the support of a cohort to participants who learn basic science concerning coastal environments, engage with experts who lead discussion and dialogue about pollution issues specific to the marina industry, and share the information with their own members and stakeholders. While the focus of the program is clean marina policy and practice, participating businesses will also have access to information about other key issues, including climate change and resilience building. 

“We are thrilled to provide this new and improved version of Clean Marina Program,” said Even Ridley, Director of Environmental Programs for RIMTA. “We know more than ever that economic success in the marina and yachting community is hinged to environmental health, and this program answers that need.” 

Industry response has been overwhelmingly positive; in the first nine months of 2021, the three new Clean Marinas were certified. Five are slated for Clean Marina status in 2022. Check the CRMC’s web site here http://www.crmc.ri.gov/marinas.html for updates and information on certified marinas.

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