Squadron hears about clean boating programs

Published: Thursday, January 2, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 2, 2003 at 1:25 a.m.
Don Jackson from the Florida Sea Grant College Program spoke to the Gainesville Sail and Power Squadron about the several programs that work toward keeping Florida's waters clean and free of pollution.
Developed in Florida, the programs cover marinas, boat yards, boaters and future boaters. Florida has more than 900,000 registered vessels, and a marine industry valued at more than $14 billion, second in the state, next to tourism.
There are two components to the program. The Clean Boating Partnership is made up of the Department of Environmental Protection, independent marina and boatyard operators, the Marine Industry Association of Florida, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the University of Florida Sea Grant, among others.
The guiding principles are conservation, to support the regulatory programs and to improve the quality of Florida waters. Through various strategies such as education, outreach, technical assistance and development of an action plan, partners learn about the program, promise to follow the guidelines, do a self-assessment, and then are inspected and verified as a clean boating facility.
To be a clean marina, the facility must be in compliance with environmental quality, manage its waste effectively, post environmental policies and have no signs of oil, trash and litter, among other criteria.
Restrooms must be clean, docks must be appealing, and marina personnel should be educated in proper techniques. Currently, there are 60 clean marinas, and 11 boatyards.
The second part of the program is the clean boater campaign, which started last year. This emphasizes the individual boater, who takes a pledge to keep waters free of trash and conduct proper fueling.
Overall, the programs aim to prevent pollution, give recognition for results, help attract and retain customers to clean facilities and involve boaters.
After the program, Power Squadron members enjoyed a dinner meeting, and also brought gifts to donate to the Guardian ad Litem program. These gifts go to children who are under the care of the courts.
The Gainesville Sail and Power Squadron meets the fourth Thursday of every month. For morer information about the group and its activities, contact Mike McKinney, administration officer, at 495-2454.

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