Initiatives | Marinas

Cleaning Up Marinas: The Clean Marina Program

What is the Clean Marina Initiative?

The Clean Marina Initiative is a voluntary, incentive-based program promoted by NOAA and others that encourages marina operators and recreational boaters to protect coastal 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?

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Clean Marina programs help reduce pollution to our coastal waters by encouraging environmentally-friendly marina and boating practices

Marinas and recreational boating are increasingly popular uses of coastal areas. The U.S. Coast Guard reported 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 coastal 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

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

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.

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