By Abigail Curtis
ROCKLAND, Maine — Can commerce and environmentalism haul together in the same direction on the Maine coast?
The answer is an unqualified yes, according to the growing number of facilities participating in the state-funded Maine Clean Boatyards & Marinas Program.
Trident Yacht Basin marina of Rockland is the most recent recipient of the Clean Boatyards & Marinas designation through a program that aims to encourage businesses to keep clean water at the forefront of their operations. It recognizes companies that go beyond environmental regulation obligations.
“These facilities have taken that extra step to do things that are protective of the environment,” Pam Parker, boatyards and marinas compliance contact at the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, said Tuesday. “What we’re finding is that the marine trades industry is recognizing the stewardship of Maine water. There is a connection between environmental protection and good business.”
Bill Morong, president and CEO of Rockport’s Yachting Solutions, agreed. His Trident Yacht Basin marina is the first recipient of the “clean” designation to be located in Rockland. In order to meet program standards, the marina was judged in the categories of boat repair and maintenance, stormwater management, erosion and sedimentation control, fueling activities and petroleum control, waste recycling, storage and disposal, and boat pump-out and sewage.
The time and money investment to do so has been worth it, Morong said.
“We’re finding that more and more large yacht owners, if they have the choice to go to a green facility, they’ll go to that one,” he said. “For us, having this designation is important.”
The new 10-slip marina looked immaculate in the bright late-summer sunshine Tuesday morning as two officials from the Maine Marine Trades Association made a brief presentation about the program and gave Trident Yacht a flag proclaiming its new status. Sleek motorboats and a yacht were docked at the former Rockland MBNA site, which was developed by Yachting Solutions last spring. The marina eventually will boast 60 slips and the capacity for 300-foot-long megayachts, Morong said. Those plans should come to fruition in two to four years, but until then, business has been surprisingly good — and also green, he said.
“We think we’re building the pre-eminent facility in the area,” Morong said.
As he developed the marina, he was able to build environmentally sound components into its infrastructure, such as a system that pumps wastewater directly from boats to Rockland’s wastewater facility.
That component and others were reasons that Susan Swanton, executive director of the Maine Marine Trades Association, was able to enthusiastically recommend that the marina join 17 other facilities across the state from Kittery to Mount Desert Island which have earned the Maine Clean Boatyards & Marinas designation. Though the marine industry trade group sponsors the voluntary program, it works in partnership with environmental advocacy groups and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Swanton said.
According to Parker, interest in the program’s voluntary environmental compliance seems to be increasing in Maine. So far, 18 facilities from Kittery to Mount Desert Island have been singled out for recognition through the 7-year-old program.
“At first we had just a few boatyards and marinas that jumped on board,” she said. “Lately there are more and more showing interest. It really can be an economic benefit to them — and I think it’s starting to gain momentum.”
Lyman Morse Boatbuilding Co. in Thomaston, Lyman Morse at Tenants Harbor, Morris Yachts in Bass Harbor and Trenton, Wayfarer Marine in Camden, Wilbur Yachts in Southwest Harbor, and Wotton’s Wharf in Boothbay Harbor are all area recipients of the Clean Boatyards & Marinas designation.
For more information, go to www.mainemarinetrades.com/clean_marinas/>/a<.