How do you spell Clean Marinas?

Summer is winding down, but boaters around Ohio can still take advantage of scenic Lake Erie views and beautiful sunshine for a little while longer. Of course, enjoying nature along the lakeshore comes with responsibilities -- to the environment, to others, to oneself.

The Ohio Clean Marinas Program can help boaters and marina owners fulfill those responsibilities by promoting environmentally sound marina and boating practices that reduce pollution, enhance fish and wildlife habitat, and protect water quality.

Recently, the Ohio program, as part of the Green Marina Education and Outreach Project, participated in an update to the online Clean Marina Classroom to include certification standards from many Great Lakes states, which are applicable to Ohio marinas as well as those in the Great Lakes region and beyond. The Green Marina project is funded by the U.S. EPA's Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

The Ohio Clean Marinas Program offers in-person workshops along the Lake Erie shoreline and the online Clean Marina Classroom for marina owners throughout Ohio.

New features of the online course include regional best management practices, updated state and federal laws related to Great Lakes marinas, and additional photographs and examples of marina best management practices (BMPs) to help marina owners more easily incorporate those BMPs into their business. The classroom can be accessed here.

"The Ohio Clean Marinas Program offers in-person workshops along the Lake Erie shoreline, but there are marina owners across the state who want to take steps to protect and enhance their freshwater resources," said Sarah Orlando, Ohio Sea Grant Extension educator and Clean Marina and limnology outreach coordinator. "The online Clean Marina Classroom enables marina owners throughout Ohio to access and benefit from best management practices that are recommended for all Great Lakes marinas."

The classroom is a supplemental tool to the Ohio Clean Marinas Program, which certifies marinas that have completed trainings, evaluations, and site visits to become "Ohio Clean Marinas." Marina owners who have achieved this certification not only know that they are doing their part in minimizing the environmental impacts of boating, but they have also reported increased business from advertising their Certified Clean Marina status.

Events like "Ready, Set, Wear It! Day," part of the National Safe Boating Council's "Wear It!" campaign, emphasize the importance of wearing life jackets while on the water.

In addition to environmental education, the Ohio Clean Marinas Program also raises awareness about boater safety. Events like "Ready, Set, Wear It! Day," part of the National Safe Boating Council's "Wear It!" campaign and held in partnership with the ODNR Division of Watercraft and West Marine, emphasize the importance of wearing life jackets while on the water.

Attempt at record life jacket-wearing

This year's May 18 event, which kicked off National Safe Boating Week, was part of a worldwide record attempt for the greatest number of life jackets worn and inflated at the same time. Twenty-one participants -- including one dog -- gathered at Ohio Sea Grant's Aquatic Visitors Center at Put-in-Bay to be part of the event, which was joined by 5,774 participants at 189 events across the globe.

"We promoted clean boating in conjunction with the safe boating education provided at the event, and the first annual 'Clean and Safe Boating Day at the Bay' was born," said Orlando. "We hope to hold the event each year on 'Ready, Set, Wear It! Day' to continually educate boaters about clean and safe boating practices in Ohio."

The Ohio Clean Marinas Program is open to all Lake Erie public and private marinas. For more information, click here.

-- Christina Dierkes, Ohio Sea Grant Communications