New Program Seeks Marina Owners' Help In Cleaning Water Ways

A new partnership could make our water ways cleaner. Mississippi and Alabama recently launched a Clean Marinas Program. It's an initiative to cut down on the pollution caused by boaters by encouraging marina owners to upgrade their facilities.

Mike Inabinette was one of many owners at a program workshop on Wednesday. He says he likes launching his boat from his Jackson County marina but too often the beautiful scenery around Paige Bayou is spoiled by litter.

"We can at least let them know that we have the facilities at the marina to dispose of their waste products so that way they don't have to throw it in the water," Inabinette said.

The Department of Marine Resources blames improper sewage disposal for an increase in beach closings and fish kills in our area. Further aggravating the problem, more boats in the water.

"You get an increase boating population and not enough pump out marinas to meet their needs," said Clean Vessels director Rhonda Price.

The Mississippi Alabama Clean Marina Program is modeled after one all ready in place by the Tennessee Valley Authority. TVA officials say that when it comes to reaching boaters, marina owners make great middle men.

"We felt like the marina operators had a captive audience sort of speak where I can go out to a marina and work a weekend and interact with maybe 150 boaters at the most," Linda Harris of the T.V.A. said.

Members of the Clean Marina Program say marina owners should see profit flow in once they begin the program.

"If the environment is not clean, people are not gonna swim in the water, they're not gonna take their boats out, they're not gonna use it and that's gonna prevent us from doing business and making money," said Inabinette.

D.M.R. officials say plans are underway to design a flag that marina owners can fly to let boaters know they are complying with the Mississippi-Alabama Clean Marina guidelines.