Frequently Asked Questions


Regarding Maryland's Clean Marina Initiative

Q. What is a "Clean Marina"

A: Certified Clean Marinas have worked with program staff to ensure they are in compliance with their regulatory requirements, and have voluntarily exceeded them by adopting a significant proportion of recommendations in the Maryland Clean Marina Guidebook.

Q: What types of things do they have to do?

A: Clean Marinas meet their regulatory requirements and implement a certain proportion of the recommendations in the Maryland Clean Marina Guidebook. The Clean Marina “Award Checklist” (used to certify facilities) mirrors the recommendations in the Guidebook. However, marinas do not have to implement all practices. “Passing scores” range from 70-85% in each area. The following list covers chapters from the Guidebook and sample recommendations:

  • Siting and Design ("Follow natural channels," "Enhance water circulation");
  • Vessel Maintenance and Repair ("Contain dust from sanding," "Contain debris from blasting");
    Petroleum Control and Emergency Planning ("Train staff to prevent accidental spills on the fuel dock," "Post a written emergency response plan");
  • Sewage Handling ("Have a well-maintained pump-out," "Have clean restrooms available 24 hours a day");
  • Waste Containment and Disposal ("Provide or promote solid and liquid waste recycling," "Conduct daily trash pick up, especially near shoreline");
  • Marina Management ("Incorporate ‘best management practices’ into all contracts," "Train staff to handle equipment and chemicals properly");
  • Stormwater Management ("Cultivate vegetated areas," "Have a stormwater management system").

Q: Who is eligible to be certified?

A: Marinas, boatyards and yacht clubs, as well as municipal or military marinas in Maryland. Additionally, many small-scale recreational boating facilities can be certified as "Clean Marina Partners."

Q: What is a Clean Marina Partner?

A: Partners are not true marinas (e.g., marine museums, state, county, or city park boat ramps, or community associations) but support the goals and ideals of the Clean Marina Initiative. Most of the questions on the Award Checklist do not apply to these facilities, but they are asked to essentially do two things: minimize their own waste and educate their users on clean boating practices through signs, mailings, distribution of program materials, or other appropriate means.

Q: What are the incentives for marinas and boatyards to participate in this program?

A: Certified facilities are rewarded by DNR with the following benefits:

  • Permission to use the Clean Marina logo in their advertising, on their letterhead, or on their web site to set them apart from others;
  • A large Clean Marina flag and a (smaller) Clean Marina burgee;
  • A certificate signed by the Governor, Lt. Governor, and Secretary of DNR;
  • Invitation to an awards ceremony (the year of their certification) attended by state and local elected officials and representatives from DNR;
  • A press release issued statewide announcing their certification;
    A page on the Department’s web site to promote their business;
    Free promotion by program staff at several regional boat shows and other events each year; and
  • Inclusion (by reference) in many advertisements the program places in regional boating magazines to encourage boaters to choose Clean Marinas.

Many Clean Marina operators have also experienced:

  • Ability to attract a better quality of customer and to charge premium rates for slips and other services;
  • Improved relationships with inspectors from regulatory agencies;
  • Reduced insurance rates; and
  • More ease in securing a loan.

Q: When was the program started and how has it been funded?

A: DNR started developing the program in mid 1997. Through the efforts of a committee comprised of leaders in the marine industry (volunteering many hours of time) and government representatives, the Guidebook was printed in 1998. Implementation of this program began in the winter of 1998. The first marina was certified in January 1999.

Since 1997 the Clean Marina Initiative (through the Department’s Coastal Management Program) has received operational funding from NOAA. Staff salary is paid with state funds. EPA’s Non-point Source Program also provided funding used for demonstration projects of pollution prevention equipment in selected watersheds for four years.

Q: How many facilities are currently certified and why is it important to certify more?

A: The Clean Marina Initiative was developed as an alternative to further regulations of the marina industry, in response to §6217 of the Coastal Zone Act Re-Authorization Amendments of 1990. The program set out to certify 25 percent of the approximately 600 marinas in Maryland as “Clean Marinas.” As of February 2009, 133 (22 percent) of the marinas in MD are certified and over 30% of the slips at commercial marinas were estimated to be at Clean Marinas. The number of Clean Marinas is always on the rise—please visit the website below for a current list of participants.

Complete program information and a list of certified Clean Marinas can be found at ​or by calling 410-260-8773.