Peninsula Yacht Basin is the first marina in Gig Harbor to earn a Clean Marina Washington certification.
Jerry Harbaugh, the marina owner and dock master, received notification Sept. 11 with the 66th Clean Marina certification. The award is designated by fulfilling program requirements on a checklist from the EnviroStars programs and the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. Its goal is to protect the environment and to reduce and manage hazardous waste at marina sites.
“This is a voluntary environmental program that has been in place for about 10 years,” said Andy Gregory, Clean Marina program manager. “We want to work together with marinas to help do environmental audits and find best practices.
“Gig Harbor is an iconic and historic port in Puget Sound,” he said. “It’s great to see it be the first certified Clean Marina in the harbor.”
Harbaugh, who has lived in Gig Harbor for more than 23 years, has owned and managed the 100-slip marina for more than 10 years. His wife, Katherine, facilitates the administrative aspect of the marina, and co-dock master and manager Gary Stoop also helps to maintain it.
All are on board with the safe and sound practices brought forth by the Clean Marina checklist.
“I first started this process three years ago when I read about the Clean Marina program,” Harbaugh said. “It makes sense to want to cooperate, not only for the environment, but for our community. It’s always better to keep up rather than catch up when it comes to safety standards.”
At the time, the City of Gig Harbor was working to clean up its wastewater treatment plant.
“I wanted to help with what the city was doing,” Harbaugh said. “It’s important to use good marina practices for the wildlife, but also for the future of businesses and for our community.”
Harbaugh met with Gregory and a Pierce County Health EnviroStars program manager to complete an assessment. Together, they worked through a checklist that included oil spill prevention and containment, odor management and reducing ecological impact from the docked boats and locating resources available to help.
“The biggest challenge is making sure our tenants are aware of the best marina practices,” Harbaugh said. “We post signs on how to take care and are constantly monitoring the boats and dealing quickly with any problem areas.
“Most boat owners are aware and more than willing to comply with best practices and want to do the right thing for the environment,” he added. “Boaters are on the water and in the marina and inherently want to support our environmental effort.”
Harbaugh and Stoop talk to vendors who work on the boats, and they help to educate boat owners when they see practices that can be improved.
Best Marina Practices are posted, and the marina provides a boaters guide with the practices.
Harbaugh noted the marina’s location was part of the Mosquito Fleet in the 1880s and it has been in place since 1947. Eventually, the wood pilings will give way to concrete or steel.
“We are custodians of this marina,” he said. “Our job is to take of it.”
As a dock master, he sees the Clean Marina certification as a long-term investment to help be good family members of the community.
There are other marinas in the area that are just starting the process, Gregory said. Harbaugh offers them encouragement.
“Clean Marina is a good story,” Harbaugh said. “It’s easy to understand and makes sense. Going through the checklist is easy, and tenants want to help put the best practices in use.”
After the initial certification, the marina will periodically be checked and be up for renewal in 18 months, then every three years, Gregory said.
“This is a business-led cooperation developed by marinas to stay ahead of the environmental issues that occur to keep waterways clean,” Gregory said. “Peninsula Yacht Basin has done a lot to earn this certification, and Jerry Harbaugh pledges to keep spreading the clean boating message to his tenants.”
For more information about Clean Marina Washington, visit www.cleanmarinawashington.org.Lifestyles Coordinator Kim Eibel can be reached at 253-358-4152 or by email at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter, @gateway_kim.