In 2014, Long Island Community Foundation provided the funds to pilot a unique program.
Operation SPLASH offers education programs at SPLASH Headquarters, marinas and safe boating classes. Boaters and marina operators join in training programs, where participants are instructed on current measures for pollution prevention as defined by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations.
NOAA defines the Clean Marina Program as an incentive-based, voluntary program that encourages marina owners and boaters to follow environmentally sound procedures. However, since 1990, when NOAA and the EPA standardized these regulations, there has been no “Citizen Education Campaign” to teach boaters and marina operators on Long Island how to put these procedures into effect.
“The goal of the program is to provide citizen education,” said Devorah Crupar of Operation SPLASH, “and to give boaters an understanding of how to enjoy our waters in compliance with the regulations.” These regulations focus on waste and sewage removal, correct handling of oils, metals and other dangerous contaminants and providing effective measures to limit the disruption to the natural environment of the bay.
In addition to working with marinas, Operation SPLASH is reaching out to safe boating classes. “These classes are the first step for new boaters in the community, and this training will teach them good environmental behaviors from the start,” said Captain Don Harris, 1st VP of Operation SPLASH.
This is particularly important now, as Long Island continues to recover from the ecological damage wrought by super storm Sandy. New resiliency plans include a focus on measures that promote a healthy ecology for the long term. Operation SPLASH believes that through educating boat and marina owners they can make a significant and continuing environmental impact.
According to NOAA, besides the positive environmental effects this initiative will have, there is also a financial benefit for marinas. In addition to reducing waste disposal costs and reducing legal liabilities, marinas that take part in this program will receive publicity through press releases and newsletters as they join the nationwide Clean Marina Initiative. To facilitate this goal, “a comprehensive training program just for marina owners and employees will kick off the season,” said Mindy Schanback, Operation SPLASH Clean Marina program coordinator.
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