By Gary Gunsher
Charlotte Sun-Herald Newspaper. Reprinted with permission. 2007-02-08
What does the clean marina at Fishermen’s Village mean?
The Clean Marina Program is a proactive partnership designed to benefit marinas and boaters to help keep Florida’s coast and waterway resources clean. This past November the marina at Fisherman’s Village was designated a clean marina. There are nearly 2,000 marinas operating in the state of Florida and only 132 have been designated as a clean marina.
So just how does this program at Fishermen’s Village affect Charlotte Harbor? You must remember whatever ends up in the water in the marina basin will eventually flow into Charlotte Harbor. Harbormaster Jim Branch started the process of the Clean Marina program back in 2003 knowing he would not be up and operating for some time.
There are 12 different categories that Jim and his staff had to fulfill to achieve the requirements of the program. One such category was forming an emergency response team on how to handle boat fires, dock fires or fuel spills. Fueling a boat can be a dangerous operation if not done properly. The marina now has a state-ofthe-art fueling system. Sensors were installed to monitor any leaks that could occur below the surface or within the fuel lines and will also monitor for any traces of water in the fuel with all the information available at the click of a mouse.
When fueling your boat you will be given an overflow container to place on your vents so fuel does not end up in the water. Also you will be given absorbing material to clean any excess fuel overflow. There are restrictions on cleaning your boat while docked in the marina. The marina prohibits the use of traditional sudsing cleaners that must be rinsed off and discourages the use of detergents containing ammonia, sodium hypochlorite, chlorinated solvents, petroleum distillates, or lye.
Another important category is recycling. Fishermen’s Village Marina now has various types of recycling areas. Seabirds are one of the harbor’s most loved residents from the Great Blue Heron to the fun-to-watch pelicans diving for lunch, it seems we never tire of them. One of their largest causes of death or injury is discarded monofilament fishing line.
In the state of Florida during 1999 and 2000 more than 265 seabirds of various species were rescued as a result of hook and line entanglement. Of those 265 seabirds, 92 died. Now under the Clean Marina, Fishermen’s Village has a recycle bin for all types of fishing line at the dock of Kingfisher Fleet. Also, all boaters can help out; when you see some line tangled in the mangroves take the time to cut it free and have it recycled.
The clean marina agenda does not stop once you become certified. It is an ongoing educational and awareness program. Branch has posted many signs around the village to remind boaters about boating sensitive habitats and endangered species. I would encourage all boaters to stop by the ship store at the marina and take a look at the educational material for vessel operators that Branch has provided.
Another important educational format the marina will be advocating is for individual boaters to become designated clean boaters. Government alone cannot protect Florida’s environment. Each one of us must share the responsibility for pollution prevention. Proper hurricane preparation for our vessels, petroleum control (a single gallon of fuel can contaminate over a million gallons of water) and reducing the amount of gray water discharge are all objectives boaters should strive for.
Soon the city of Punta Gorda will be opening Laishley Marina and Project Manager Randy Brodersen has assured me they are working toward becoming a clean marina. “Wow” the city of Punta Gorda will have two clean marinas while in the whole state of Florida there are only 132.
The Punta Gorda Boater’s Alliance salutes these two marinas for the effort they have put forth in making sure they are doing everything possible to protect the waters of Charlotte Harbor.
Gunsher is president of the Punta Gorda Boater’s Alliance.