Boatfolk goes green
Interview with Ben Lippiett, Haslar Marina Manager
At Southampton Boat Show, the boatfolk Portland, Haslar and Portishead marinas were awarded International Clean Marina accreditation, the first in the UK to be recognised by the new scheme.
International Clean Marina is a new programme developed by The Yacht Harbour Association (TYHA) with a focus on best practice rather than ticking boxes. Harbour Assist is a supporter of Clean Marina and boatfolk is a Harbour Assist client, we caught up with Ben Lippiett, Haslar Marina Manager and sustainability lead, for some boatfolk insight.
The boatfolk view:
At boatfolk we see ourselves as custodians of the coastline. With eleven beautiful locations across the United Kingdom, we consider it our responsibility to do all we can to make a positive difference to the marine environment. We do this through several action-based initiatives across our business, embraced by all our marinas.
Earlier this year boatfolk took a big step towards having a positive impact on the environment with the launch of Coastline Deadline. Coastline Deadline is boatfolk’s platform for change within the boatfolk community and beyond. It was developed to enhance our existing environmental initiatives alongside supporting the efforts of organisations who are doing what they can for the planet.
Earlier this year Coastline Deadline got behind The Seahorse Trust in their efforts to install eco-moorings at Studland Bay, protecting the seagrass beds and providing a safe habitat for seahorses.
The protection of marine species is something which extends to our 11 locations, through our Marina Mascot programme. As part of this programme each of our marinas has a species which lives in the local marine environment that they support, protect, and increase awareness of. This has led to the implementation of a wide range of projects, always working closely with conservation experts and researchers to implement them correctly.
Our most recent projects include Tern Island at Royal Quays Marina, Oyster rewilding at Conwy Marina, bespoke Guillemot bird boxes in Bangor Marina and Biohut cages to provide a habitat for short snouted seahorses at Haslar Marina. We have found that these projects have been a great way to both support the marine environment and engage the boatfolk community with what lies beneath their boats.
As part of Coastline Deadline, we are waging a war on plastics. Our dedication to tackling this comes in two forms. Firstly, we use our networks and resources to help educate and change behaviours. We strive to make it as simple as possible for boatfolk community members to reduce their use of single use plastics. On top of this we are doing all we can to tackle the plastic waste already in our waters, whether this be through the installation of Seabins, regular organised community beach cleans across all of our locations and the installation of litter pick stations at some of our marinas.
In addition to these initiatives, boatfolk also have operational improvements happening behind the scenes. As of January 2021, all the eleven boatfolk marinas around the United Kingdom are supplied with electricity from fully renewable sources. This is a big step in the right direction, but we are always striving for more and are looking at the steps towards not only being carbon neutral, but carbon negative. For example, at Haslar Marina we have updated two out of three washrooms from gas oil boilers to electricity to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.
Black water pump-out
A focus for us has been the need to do more with the provision of black water pump out. Many marinas offer this service, but often pumps are inaccessible or left out of service leaving pumps to perish and fail.
At Haslar Marina, a new hassle-free solution has been built for our berth holders in the form of a mobile pump out boat. With the name “Pumpy McPumpface” voted as a winner by our customers, Pumpy is available to empty customers’ back water tanks without the customer needing to be present. Taking a small £5 payment dedicated to Coastline Deadline, which goes towards supporting sustainability projects.
A sustainable future
To further move towards a more sustainable future, all of the boatfolk marinas are now enthusiastically engaging with The Yacht Harbour Association and the Green Blue to seek the new Clean Marina accreditation. We are proud to embark on this process of continual development and learning, ensuring that our marinas are kept at a high environmental standard that aligns with what we believe the entire marine industry should be striving for. The audit process that comes with this award is very valuable in holding us accountable and scrutinising our capability to deal with factors such as spills, the treatment of black water and the handling of hazardous waste. It is a process to encourage change where possible, setting realistic targets for marinas to improve how they are run environmentally. Whether this be though reducing daily impacts or putting contingencies in place.
As an industry there is already a great collective effort when it comes to environmental initiatives, but there is still so much more to be done. Having the first marinas to be awarded with the Clean Marina accreditation, boatfolk are keen to use this as a platform for sharing best practice, spreading the word on new and innovative solutions to commonly faced challenges. We hope that as an industry we can begin to make a real difference. In time, we hope to have worked with others in the industry to create a clean marina legacy, creating a marine environment that can be enjoyed by generations to come.
At boatfolk we see ourselves as custodians of the coastline.Ben Lippiett
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