“Going green” isn’t just for megayachts. Three marinas belonging to IGY Marinas have received the Clean Marina Award from the International Council of Marine Industry Associations (ICOMIA).
Among ICOMIA’s primary concerns is the improvement of the recreational yachting experience. This includes ensuring yacht and megayacht owners have safe, convenient places to dock or moor. It also includes sharing information with marina operators and others that will bolster not just their economic importance but also their environmental compatibility.
Related to this, the ICOMIA Clean Marina Award is a voluntary initiative. The three IGY Marinas properties that received it are Yacht Haven Grande in St. Thomas (pictured), Rodney Bay Marina in St. Lucia, and The Yacht Club at Isle de Sol in St. Maarten. The criteria they met for the ICOMIA Clean Marina Award include:
- documented emergency (fire and pollution) plans
- containment of debris in boat-washing and boat-maintenance areas to prevent emissions
- proper waste and recycling management, which includes separating glass, aluminum, paper, and other items from each other
- clearly visible signs directing customers where to dispose of garbage and recycling
- sewage discharge prohibited
- fuel and oil stowed properly, and has absorbent materials readily available in case of spills and/or emergencies
- staff trained in environmental practices and awareness
- mandatory audits at least every three years
All three IGY Marinas properties are further being reviewed for the Gold Anchor award. Another voluntary assessment program, it’s given by the Yacht Harbour Association and endorsed by ICOMIA, among other organizations. More than 130 marinas in 19 different countries currently have Gold Anchor awards. Gold Anchor criteria include clean toilets and showers, suitable lighting throughout the site, adequate insurance, properly managed waste and prohibition of sewage discharge, safe berthing protected from waves and swells, and well-secured floating structures.
The way Gold Anchors (ratings range from one to five) are awarded is pretty interesting. An assessor visits the marina to check compliance with the variety of criteria. Next, a “mystery shopper” visits the marina. Then, berth holders are invited to fill out an online questionnaire (anonymously). Once at least five percent of the berth holders respond, their ratings are tabulated with those of the mystery shopper and the assessor, resulting in the final rating. That rating, by the way, is valid for three years, and in that period two more mystery shoppers will visit to reassess future ratings.
We’ll update the story when IGY Marinas receives word about its Gold Anchor rating.
UPDATE, AUGUST 21, 2012: IGY Marinas’ Yacht Haven Grande, Rodney Bay Marina, and Yacht Club at Isle de Sol have each received five Gold Anchors, the maximum achievable. In a statement released by IGY Marinas, Gareth Turnbull, general manager of the Yacht Harbour Association, says, “I have never experienced one company that is spread across 6 different countries, with several different cultures, that present consistent high levels of facilities and services. The staff are extremely well trained and motivated and demonstrate amazing passion for what they do, and do it well.”