Boaters beckoned to be greener

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JUNE 29 -- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and its partners are promoting the Clean Marina program, which seeks to ensure boating remains safe and nonpolluting.

The Clean Marina program is a voluntary, incentive-based program encouraging marina operators and boaters to protect coastal water quality by practicing environmentally sound operating and maintenance procedures, such as regular boat engine inspection, proper waste disposal and reduction of discharge, the association says in a statement. These practices can contribute to safer, cleaner marinas, as well as cleaner waterways.

"Small steps that individuals can take will make a huge difference in the long run, and will create a safer, cleaner and more enjoyable setting for everyone," retired U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Conrad Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator, says in the statement. "With nearly 95,000 miles of ocean and Great Lakes coastline contributing tens of billions of dollars to the economy, we can all do our share to ensure the vitality of recreational and commercial boating."

The Clean Marina Program is a public-private partnership involving numerous federal agencies, private industry and academia, including NOAA Sea Grant, NOAA's Coastal Non-point Control Program, the Environmental Protection Agency, and other partners, the statement says. While the program is administered differently among states, hundreds of marinas have already been given clean marina status, with hundreds more pledging to become a clean marina.