New Rochelle harbor master joins Going Coastal’s push for clean marinas
As harbor master Sal Gugliara cleans up the environmental practices at the New Rochelle city marina, he’s also playing a part in encouraging marinas around the state to cut down on the pollution they contribute to the rivers, lakes, Long Island Sound and Atlantic Ocean.Gugliara is working with Going Coastal, Inc., a Brooklyn-based group that is organizing a project to encourage marinas to do more than they are required by law – programs that states such as Connecticut, New Jersey and Rhode Island already have in place.
“New York is sort of the odd man out in that we don’t have a program,” said Barbara La Rocco, president and founder of Going Coastal.
The state has no plans to start one, according to Lori O’Connell, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
“New York state doesn’t have a staff (solely) for marinas,” O’Connell said. “We just don’t have a department set up for that type of thing.”
La Rocco is working with 12 marinas to draw up a similar plan; New Rochelle’s marina is the only participant north of New York City. Gugliara became involved when he contacted her as he drew up plans for his own marina, including a filter system for water that washes the bottoms of boats.
“The marinas are the gateways to the waterways and we have a responsibility to be good stewards to the environment,” Gugliara said.
Clean marina programs recognize marinas and boat yards that take steps to be more environmentally friendly than what state regulations require. Marinas that meet certain criteria are permitted to fly a flag boasting of the accomplishment.
But direct comparisons among states are not simple. Jay Tanzi, a marine facilities specialist with New York Sea Grant, a research organization, said New York already has requirements for marinas that some other states don’t.
Sea Grant offers tips on how to run a marina in the most environmentally sensitive ways.
But owners of marinas, many of which are small operations, may find some improvements expensive, especially while feeling financial pressure to sell their operations to residential developers, he said.
“I think they are working hard to do those things,” Tanzi said. “I think the big question is going to be, ‘can they do them and remain a marina?’ “
Clean Marina officials in New Jersey and Connecticut said marina owners and boaters generally want to be environmentally sensitive.
In Connecticut, 10 marinas are certified by the program out of a possible 250, while 30 others have pledged to meet the criteria. Eight New Jersey marinas are certified and 24 more have pledged to meet the criteria.
New York state has more than 800 marinas, according to the DEC.
By Ken Valenti