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State of Alert

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State of Alert

So we got this from San Francisco Yacht Club and while we can’t be sure of all the facts, this certainly has an urgency to it. Read it and comment at the end.

The State Wants to Force Marina Operators to Become "Marina Enforcers"

We Need Your Help Stop this Outrageous Power Grab that will harm ALL Boaters!

The State Water Resources Control Board wants to make marina operators responsible for the quality of the water that flows into their marinas! The Water Board is proposing a permit for ALL coastal marinas (including many inland marinas that are in "bays" and "estuaries") that would FORCE them to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to conduct expensive water quality testing and monitoring and to report that information to the State.

It also gives the Water Board the authority to MANDATE "management practices" on the marina as the board sees fit. Such mandates could include testing the bottom paint of the boats to see if they contain copper and even DEMAND the elimination of slips to reduce the amount of copper in the water! While copper seems to be a focus, the permit calls for testing and monitoring for many other constituents in the water, even trash! In short, it forces a wide range of testing and monitoring and gives extremely broad authority to the Water Board to mandate changes at the marina based on the testing and monitoring that the marina has to pay for!

Who should care about this permit? All marina operators, all boaters, and all coastal local governments. Every boater should care because this program will raise slip fees several hundred dollars per-slip, per year, and it could reduce the number of available slips and restrict boating access. All marinas should care about this because while coastal marinas are the initial target, this permit is likely just the beginning. And, finally, local governments could take a significant budget hit to fund this program at the marinas they own and operate.

How can I help? You can contact the Governor, your local legislator, and the Executive Office of the State Water Resources Control Board to express your opposition to this proposed permit. The letter and instructions are attached here.

What should I tell those I contact? The following are several key points you can make in your e-mail, letter, or phone call.

Forcing Marina operators to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to try and improve water quality will not improve water quality. The water in a coastal marina cannot be controlled by the marina so forcing them to spend this money will not be effective.

There is no evidence that the boats in marinas are causing a water quality problem. Forcing such a major expenditure without real evidence of a problem caused by the boats is unethical and extremely harmful in these tough economic times.

The authority given to the Water Board to demand changes to how the marina is operated is far too broad and could lead to abuses. This permit would allow a staff level individual to force changes at a marina, even to the point of reducing slips based on their own assessment and not based on clear criteria. This permit could put someone out of business based solely on a low-level decision-maker’s "opinion".

The $200,000 cost per marina of this program will put many small marinas out of business.
The "Clean Marina Program" run by the marina industry is the best approach to improving water quality in marinas. This is an excellent program that is working to enhance the marine environment through voluntary participation and should be seen as the venue to address the State’s water quality goals for marinas. Comments.