MARI­NAS PRE­PARE FOR MARINE OIL SPILLS

Eleven fa­cil­i­ties in­volved in the Clean Marine BC pro­gram hone their skills

Suncruiser West Coast - - Nanaimo - WORDS AND PHOTOS BY MICHELLE YOUNG

FUEL SPILLS ARE SOME­THING MARI­NAS and boaters take great care to avoid be­cause they know that any type of oil spill—even small ones from over­fill­ing fuel tanks by a few drops—are harm­ful to marine life. The abil­ity of mari­nas and boaters them­selves to be able to promptly ex­e­cute an ef­fec­tive cleanup plays such an im­por­tant role in the health and re­silience of our waters.

Plan­ning, pre­pared­ness and response de­pends on mari­nas and their staff hav­ing knowl­edge and train­ing that is up-to-date and read­ily de­ploy­able. Mari­nas are of­ten the first line of de­fense for boaters when faced with a spill.

Mari­nas also help boaters to un­der­stand the roles and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of in­di­vid­u­als and agen­cies in­volved in spill response mea­sures. They pro­vide clar­ity on the steps boaters can take when fuel spills hap­pen at the boat­yard or ma­rina, and they can help to in­crease spill response aware­ness and ed­u­ca­tion at their fa­cil­i­ties and through­out their com­mu­ni­ties.

To sup­port Clean Marine Bc-cer­ti­fied mari­nas with their spill response pro­grams, Ge­or­gia Strait Al­liance con­vened a the­o­ret­i­cal and hands-on spill response train­ing ses­sion for small spills dur­ing the win­ter at False Creek Fish­er­men’s Wharf in Van­cou­ver. Par­tic­i­pat­ing mari­nas re­freshed their knowl­edge and honed their prepa­ra­tion and response skills, en­sur­ing they’ll be able to ef­fec­tively deal with a small-scale marine oil spill if one hap­pens at their fa­cil­ity.

“We’re a busy com­mer­cial fish­ing har­bour, and spills can hap­pen,” says Mike Loy, Har­bour Man­ager of False Creek Har­bour Au­thor­ity. “It’s our job to be

ready to re­act. For me, the prac­ti­cal el­e­ment of the train­ing was ex­tremely valu­able; we’ll be tak­ing some new knowl­edge and skills back to our har­bour.”

Through its Clean Marine BC pro­gram, Ge­or­gia Strait Al­liance pro­vides solutions to the boat­ing com­mu­nity that mit­i­gate harm to the waters along BC’S south­ern coast. In the case of its new train­ing ses­sion for mari­nas, the or­ga­ni­za­tion is sup­port­ing in­creased spill aware­ness and bet­ter response plan­ning and ex­e­cu­tion so that the cleanup of any small amounts of oil that end up in our wa­ter is as quick and ef­fec­tive as pos­si­ble.

Michelle Young is Ge­or­gia Strait Al­liance’s Clean Marine BC Pro­gram Co­or­di­na­tor. She would be happy to speak with your ma­rina, yacht club, or har­bour au­thor­ity about join­ing the 30 mem­bers of Clean Marine BC, a vol­un­tary eco-cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­gram. Ad­di­tional boat­ing re­sources avail­able in­clude the Guide to Green Boat­ing and the Ma­rina Best Prac­tices Hand­book | cmbc@geor­gias­trait.org | 250-753-3459.

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