Norfolk marinas awarded Clean Marina status

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      Clean Marina specialist Anne Smith (L) awards Clean Marina certification to Tim Van Benschoten (C), General Manager of the Waterside and Nauticus marinas, and Liz Boatwright (R) of the River Stars Program.   Photo by Janet Krenn.
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The Waterside Marina and Nauticus Marina in Norfolk, Va., were awarded Clean Marina status on Thursday, November 19, 2009. The Norfolk Marinas were the first to receive Clean Marina status since the Clean Marina Program and the Elizabeth River Project's River Stars Program joined in partnership to reduce pollution and improve habitat of coastal areas.

Tom Van Benschoten, General Manager, accepted Clean Marina Certificates on behalf of the marinas. The Clean Marina Program is a state-wide program administered by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science in partnership with Virginia Sea Grant. Clean Marina certification is presented to marinas that have taken measures to limit and control water pollution on site.

Waterside and Nauticus marinas serve about 2,000 boaters annually and attract active boaters that may live on their boats or travel long passages. When these boaters come to shore, they need to dispose of wastes.

"Our boaters want to do the right thing and to dispose of their waste responsibly," said Van Benschoten, "and we want to make it easy for them to do the right thing."

The right thing might include making a pump-out station accessible or helping boaters find a safe way to dispose of used motor oil.

"The value of [the Clean Marina program] for us, is that we get recognized that we are actively doing the right things, and it makes boaters think about their actions as well," said Van Benschoten.

In addition to becoming certified as Clean Marinas, Waterside and Nauticus are also pursuing River Star designation. To obtain River Star designation, the Marinas have taken steps to create habitat, including planting oysters.

Anne Smith, Clean Marina Specialist with Virginia Institute of Marine Science, says the partnership will expand the program's ability to reach marinas and encourage owners and operators to think about habitat. This was certainly true in the case of Waterside and Nauticus marinas, which got introduced to the Clean Marina program through River Stars.

Currently, there are 65 Clean Marinas (including the Waterside and Nauticus) in Virginia and 68 River Stars.

Information on the Clean Marina program is available at

Information on the River Stars Program is available at