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Marinas & Small Boat Harbors: P2 Opportunities
Table of Contents
Background and Overview
Reasons for Change
P2 Opportunities
Assistance Activities
Where To Go for Help
Complete List of Links

Essential Links:

Best Management Practices for Delaware Boat Maintenance Facilities
This thorough guidebook presents a listing and description of Best Management Practices for marina m...

Best Management Practices for Marinas
This document suggests best management practices (BMPs) that recreational boating facilities can use...

Best Management Practices for Marinas and Boatyards
Guidebook explaining the complete pictures of marinas. Includes information on what operations a ma...

Best Management Practices for Oregon Marinas
Well-organized BMP Manual for marinas. Divides operations and materials into easily read sections s...

Clean Texas Marina Guidebook
This guidebook presents best management practices for new or existing marinas. It covers issues suc...

Clean Waters Starting in Your Home and Yard: Environmentally Responsible Boating
A fact sheet on Environmentally Responsible Boating: methods to prevent pollution.

Environment Canada Pollution Prevention Fact Sheets
Series of fact sheets focusing on pollution prevention with several pertaining exclusively to marina...

Georgia Strait Alliance Green Boating Program
Within this website is a 16-page Green Boating Guide, covering multiple topics pertaining to Best Ma...

Maryland's Clean Marina Initiative
The Maryland Clean Marina Initiative website contains the Maryland Clean Marina Guidebook which prov...

New Hampshire Marina Project
Website contains ordering information for obtaining the actual BMP guide for NH Marinas. Guide incl...

Pollution Prevention for Marinas
This fact sheet provides pollution prevention information for marina operations but also provides a ...

Stormwater Runoff Best Management Practices For Marinas: A Guide for Operators
This guide suggests why stormwater runoff management is important at marinas and they types of thing...

The Mid-Atlantic States: Storm Water Pollution Prevention
This helpful site discusess all aspects of storm water pollution prevention with regards to marinas ...

Note: When the act is clearly a Best Management Practice and not strictly Pollution Prevention by definition, (BMP) is noted.

Boat Cleaning

  • Support the Use of Environmentally Compatible Cleaning Products. Several alternatives to traditional cleaners are available, such as vinegar and water solutions, and citric acid cleaners. Marinas should supply 'green' products and promote the understanding of the importance of these products. Sometimes high pressure water, steam, or elbow grease may suffice.
  • Hand Wash Boat Hulls Away From Waterline. This decreases the amount of water used and contaminants entering the water. Boats should be removed from the water before cleaning if impact cannot be mitigated.
  • Contain and Properly Dispose of Cleaning Residues. (BMP) Designated cleaning areas should be clearly marked for land-side vessel maintenance. This maintenance should be performed over an impervious surface so that the waste water can be contained and filtered to remove sediments. Water can also be recycled or disposed of after removing heavy metals. If detergents have been used, then the water must be directed to a sewer system. Tanks that are used to collect wastewater and remove solids are considered process tanks, and paint solids classified as hazardous must be separated and removed from tanks by a licensed hauler.

Sanding and Blasting (BMPs)

  • Use Vacuum Sanders both to Remove Paint from Hulls and Collect Paint Dust. This will prevent dust from entering the area and the surrounding surface water and makes for an easier clean-up of the work area. Vacuum sander rentals should be provided by the facility.
  • Provide and Clearly Mark Designated Work Areas for Outside Boat Repairs and Maintenance. Uncontained blasting should be strictly prohibited. A list should be posted outlining the boat owner's responsibilities or restrictions when using work areas. Also, the work area should allow for easy removal of waste and debris that is generated from maintenance.
  • Perform Outdoor Maintenance over Impervious Surfaces. Impervious surfaces prevent dust and other waste materials from washing throughout the marina when it rains. Nearby storm drains should also be covered to prevent waste from being washed into pipes that discharge into surface waters.
  • Do Not Let Dust Fall onto the Ground/Water or Become Airborne. All blasting should be performed within properly designed spray booths or under plastic tarp enclosures in order to ensure the containment of all blasting materials. Tarps should extend high enough above the blasting surface to contain all materials and residue and should be located away from shore and regularly cleaned.


  • Encourage the Use of Non-Toxic, High Bonding, and Easily Cleaned Hull Coatings.
  • Buy Only the Paint Needed for the Job.
  • Minimize Impacts of Paints. If anti-fouling paints are needed, recommend anti-fouling paints which contain the minimum amounts of toxins and TBT. Avoid soft-ablative, solvent-based paints, and instead, recommend the use of water-based paints.
  • Minimize the Impact of Painting Operations. Recommend the use of brushes and rollers instead of spray painting. Mix only as much paint as is needed for a specific job and follow the instructions carefully.
  • Convert Sprayers. Convert sprayers to High Volume Low Pressure (HVLP) or High Efficiency Low Pressure (HELP) spray guns and make them readily available for renting at the marina store.
  • Reduce Outdoor Painting. (BMP) Paint and solvent mixing, brush cleaning, and similar activities should not be conducted on open floats or on structures over water, but rather in an on-shore work area.
  • Reduce Overspray by Providing a Properly Designed Spray Booth. (BMP) The booth will capture overspray and also reduce hazards to both employees and the environment. The booths must meet local building and fire code requirements and ensure adequate ventilation. Manage used paint filters according to state regulations.

Petroleum Control (BMPs)

  • Protect Petroleum Storage Tanks. Install double-walled or vaulted above-ground fuel tanks. These tanks should prevent overfilling by sounding an alarm when the liquid level in the tank reaches 90% of total capacity and automatically stops fueling when the oil in the tank reaches 95% of capacity. Another option is to locate above ground fuel tanks within a dike or over an impervious storage area with containment volumes equaling 1.1 times the capacity of the storage tank. Install a readily accessible shut off valve on shore to halt, when necessary, the flow of fuel through a pipeline from the oil storage facility to a wharf, a pier, or a dock.
  • Avoid Waves and Wakes. Locate fuel docks in areas protected from wave action and boat wakes when constructing new facilities or upgrading existing facilities.
  • Maintain Fuel Transfer Equipment. Routinely inspect all transfer equipment and fix all leaks immediately.
  • Install Environmental Controls at the Pumps. Do not install holding clips; these are illegal at marina fueling docks. Instead, install automatic back pressure shut off nozzles on fuel pump discharge hoses to automatically stop the flow of fuel into fuel tanks when sufficient reverse pressure has been created. Maintain a supply of oil absorbent pads/pillows at the fuel dock to mop up all spills on deck or in the water. Be sure to post instructions at the fuel dock directing staff and patrons to remove all spilled fuel from the dock and the water with oil absorbent materials. Indicate the locations of all of the absorbents and offer to install fuel/oil inspectors on the boats in order to ensure proper usage and maintenance.
  • Supervise Fueling. Always have a trained employee at the fuel dock to supervise fueling. Instruct the employee to hand boats oil absorbent pads with the fuel nozzle. Attach a container to the nozzle to collect overflow. Encourage boaters to fill their fuel tanks (to no more than 90% of capacity) just before leaving on a trip to reduce oil spillage due to thermal expansion and rocking.
  • Offer Spill Proof Oil Changes. Slip a plastic bag over used oil filters prior to their removal to capture any drips. Punch a hole in the bag and let it drain for 24 hours. Then, recycle any collected oil.

Engine Repair and Maintenance

  • Use Propylene Glycol. Use propylene glycol, which is less toxic than ethylene glycol as an antifreeze. Although ethylene glycol should be avoided altogether, if it is used, ensure that it is never exposed to potable water systems.
  • Use the Minimum Amount of Antifreeze Necessary.
  • Whenever Possible, Reuse and Recycle Antifreeze.
  • Perform Maintenance Work Inside Buildings Whenever Possible. (BMP) Major outboard engine or stern drive maintenance and repairs should be performed out of the water and in a designated work station.
  • Absorbent Materials. Ensure that there are adequate absorbent materials in place when performing any type of inboard engine maintenance and repair. Select cloth absorbents that are wringable and reusable to reduce raw materials, disposal costs, and clean up time.
  • Repair and Maintain Engines with Care. Be sure to store engines and engine parts under cover on an impervious surface, such as asphalt or concrete. Avoid all unnecessary parts cleaning, but when it is needed, be sure not to wash engine parts over the bare ground or water. Prohibit the practice of hosing down the shop floor to avoid draining hazardous liquids into surface or ground waters. Use drip plans to handle any type of fluid and funnels to transfer the liquid from one container to another. Recycle all collected fluid.

Vessel Pumpout/Sewage

  • Use Less Toxic Products in Vessel Holding Tanks to Control Odor. New bilge cleaners are significantly less harmful, such as non-toxic biodegradable cleaners which use a citrus based extract de limonene as the active ingredient, and another product which uses bacteria to produce enzymes that break down complex organic molecules and reconfigure them into smaller compounds like carbon dioxide and water.
  • Install Marine Sanitation Devices. All vessels with installed toilets must have Marine Sanitation Devices (MSDs) and although there are three types available, only one is recommended for pollution prevention practices. Type III is a holding tank and can be used for a vessel of any length. This particular type is used to prevent overboard discharge of treated or untreated sewage altogether. Type III aims to eliminate any discharge, as opposed to Type I and II, which are flow-through devices and have disposal limitations only on how large the fecal coliform count may be.
  • Provide Shore-side Restrooms and Showers for Marina Tenants (BMP).


The Topic Hub™ is a product of the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx)

The Marinas & Small Boat Harbors Topic Hub™ was developed by:

Northeast Waste Management Officials' Association
Northeast Waste Management Officials' Association
Contact email:

Hub Last Updated: 1/29/2010