Keeping it Clean

The Michigan Clean Marina Program is an environmental stewardship program in which everyone wins — marinas, boaters, fish, plants, wildlife and the public.
Torresen Marine, Muskegon, MI - Clean Marina
Torresen Marine // Photography courtesy Michigan Sea Grant

Through the Michigan Clean Marina Program, marinas across Michigan and the Great Lakes are embracing environmentally sound practices to keep harmful chemicals and dangerous substances out of the water. The aim is to encourage marinas to reduce or stop releases of harmful substances and phase out practices that can damage aquatic environments.

Marina owners or operators take the first step toward certification by officially making a pledge to the program. Participants then complete a 10-step process that includes an online training course, a self-evaluation checklist and a site visit from a clean marina specialist. The program is entirely voluntary and is open to all marinas in the state.

Since the program began in 2005, it has been steadily growing. In December 2012, the Michigan Clean Marina Program certified two new marinas and recertified 12 marinas. There are now more than 40 marinas all around the state that have been certified, with more showing interest.

“I’ve been contacted by several marinas this year that have not previously participated in the program, but that want to learn more about the program or get the process of certification started,” said Josh Gunn, the Michigan Clean Marina Program outreach coordinator. “It’s really exciting that more marinas are recognizing the value of becoming a Clean Marina.”

In the past two years, Michigan Sea Grant has coordinated a regional initiative, banding clean marina programs from around the Great Lakes. A central piece of the project has been to develop and promote best management practices that can be consistently applied by marinas throughout the Great Lakes. The practices were outlined in the recently published “Great Lakes Clean Marina Best Management Practices Guide.”

Many of the best management practices (BMPs) are simple, easy and affordable to implement — labeling storm drains with a “No Dumping, Drains to Lake” message or selling environmentally friendly cleaning supplies to boaters, for example. Other BMPs, like enhancing habitat or using permeable pavers instead of concrete or asphalt to protect water quality, require additional effort but offer a great environmental return on investment.

The new regional approach will also be reflected in updates to the online Clean Marina Classroom, anticipated to launch by early summer.

Michigan Sea Grant has led the collaborative regional effort with support from Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funds. The Michigan Clean Marina Program is a cooperative effort of the Michigan Boating Industries Association, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and Michigan Sea Grant College Program.

To learn more, visit

Certified Marinas

Algonac Harbor Club
All Seasons Marine
Anchorage Marine and Marina
Bay Harbor Lake Marina
Belle Maer Harbor
Cedar River State Harbor
Charlevoix City Marina
Copper Harbor State Dock
DeTour State Dock
Eagle Harbor State Dock
East Jordan City Marina
Edward C. Grace Memorial Harbor
Eldean Shipyard
Grant Moore Municipal Marina
Grosse Pointe Shores Municipal Harbor
Hammond Bay State Harbor
Harborage Marina
Harbor Springs Municipal Marina
Howe Interlakes Marine
Irish Boat Shop (2 locations)
Kean’s Marina
Lac LaBelle State Dock
Lexington State Harbor
Linwood Beach Marina
MacRay Harbor
Manistee Municipal Marina
Miller Marina
Northwest Marine Yacht Basin Association
Petoskey City Marina
Port Austin State Harbor
Presque Isle State Harbor
St. Clair Boat Harbor
Straits State Harbor
Sundog Marina
Torresen Marine
Walstrom Marine (2 locations)
William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor
Woodland Marina
Yacht Basin Marina

Stephanie Ariganello is communications coordinator for Michigan Sea Grant-University of Michigan.

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