The Florida Department of Environmental Protection, together with the Clean Boating Partnership, welcomed Conch Harbor Marina to the Florida Clean Marina Program on January 23, 2014. This voluntary state initiative recognizes marinas and boatyards for their commitment to the protection of Florida’s waterways and natural resources.
“It is wonderful to see the Conch Harbor Marina joining an elite group of environmental stewards that implement green practices,” said DEP Sustainable Initiatives Director Brad Stombock. “Protecting Florida’s marine resources is instrumental to the continued health of the state’s natural and business environments and it is always rewarding to see business actively involved in protecting these resources.”
With the designation of Conch Harbor Marina, there are now 278 Clean Marinas, 42 Clean Boatyards and 19 Clean Marine Retailers statewide. Monroe County now has designated 23 Clean Marinas, one Clean Boatyard and two Clean Marine Retailers. Conch Harbor is the first privately owned Key West marina to receive the designation.
“I am extremely proud of the management and staff for the hard work and dedication that is required to obtain this designation. This award comes in addition to being rated the 1st choice marina by our customers,” said Craig Hunt, owner of Conch Harbor Marina.
The marina, located in Old Town Key West, has 43 slips and a number of on-site amenities. Conch Harbor has taken many steps to help protect natural resources, including the including the replacement and upgrade of their existing slip pump out system, an extensive recycling program and by carrying only environmentally friendly cleaning products for marine vessels. The marina also requires all customers to use absorbent pads at the fuel dock and educates customers about their environmental practices by distributing clean boating flyers and showing clean boating videos.
Conch Harbor Marina received a grant from United States Fish & Wildlife Service through the Florida Department Environmental Protection’s Clean Vessel Act Program, which covered approximately 75 percent of the cost of their upgrade and replacement pumpout system. Although, pumpouts are not a requirement to become a Clean Marina, they are an essential aspect in protecting water quality, especially in an area that is designated as a no discharge zone such as the Florida Keys and Key West.
To become a designated member of the Florida Clean Marina Program, facilities must implement a set of environmental measures designed to protect Florida’s waterways. These measures address critical environmental issues such as sensitive habitats, waste management, stormwater control, spill prevention and emergency preparedness.
Florida has more than one million registered motorized vessels and more than 2,000 marinas – the largest number of marine facilities in the country. Drawing millions of visitors each year, Florida’s clear waters, world-class beaches and coral reefs support a $67.2 billion tourism industry, an $18.4 billion boating industry and a fishing industry that injects more than $6.9 billion a year into Florida’s communities. Protecting Florida’s waterways is essential.
For more information about the Florida Clean Marina Program, visit http://www.dep.state.fl.us/cleanmarina.