Recreation : Boating-related infrastructure : Land side boating facilities

Impacts from land side boating facilities

Launch areas

Lift-out areas

Maintenance areas

Procedures for oil or chemical spills to land or water

Fuel docks

Cleaning of craft in water

Following construction, the operational impacts of the facility will depend upon how it is subsequently used and managed. Facilities management can have a potentially significant role to play in minimising environmental impacts arising from the use of the facility. The provision of adequate facilities for the reception of various wastes, the adoption of run-off minimisation strategies and effective general site management can all improve the environmental performance of a facility.

It is evident that there is a large variability in the effectiveness of management practices at different facilities. On the whole, the largest and most modern marinas have the most impressive facilities and often the most effective management practices. However, smaller size and high quality management are not mutually exclusive and many smaller boating facilities have exemplary management practices.

A key feature of marinas, boatyards and yacht clubs is the extent to which owners of craft carry out their own maintenance activities either in the water or on the land. This can make it difficult for facilitiesí managers to ensure that all activities within the facility are undertaken in a responsible manner, particularly in the case of waste management and materials handling. It only takes one irresponsible action by a boat owner to create an environmental problem. The relationship between such activities and overall facilities management is a key consideration where such issues relate to mSAC sites

The nature of owner-maintenance activities and other commercial operations means that there is the potential for various substances used in boating facilities, including paints, resins and other chemicals to leach into water via surface run-off and storm water drains. This may have an impact on local marine features and the fauna and flora communities which they support. However, site managers should be aware that there are many untraceable point discharges just as likely to cause impact.

Launch Areas

Where craft are launched from established slipways and launch points, it is unlikely that significant additional impacts will occur from the launching itself. Most of these launch areas have been chosen to be accessible at high and low tides and therefore this minimises disturbance to sediment. The construction of new launch areas may cause impacts on marine features similar to those discussed above, but the magnitude of such impacts will depend upon the scale of the facility and the environmental characteristics of the site.

However, should craft be launched from unofficial access points, it is possible that some damage may accrue through trampling, erosion, turbidity and disturbance to wildlife, depending upon the characteristics of the launch site. It should be noted that such impacts are not inherent features of the craft themselves but are caused by irresponsible use and behaviour.

Lift Out Areas

Many marinas, boatyards and yacht clubs have lift out facilities which enable a boat to be lifted onto the shoreside. These range from hydraulic cranes to chain winch slipways. The majority of lift out areas have high pressure hose wash down facilities available.

The high pressure washing down of a boat after lift out can result in significant quantities of antifouling paint being removed. The resulting water and paint mixture invariably drain directly or via the storm drain into the water. As a result, there may be a potential build up of biocide concentrations in the vicinity of the facility.

Maintenance Areas

Maintenance areas are a further potential source of water contaminants. Most marinas and all boatyards have commercial maintenance areas, usually under cover, and also areas where boat owners can carry out their own maintenance on their craft. The latter may be in dry berthing areas, against walls or on scrubbing grids.

In these areas, pressure washing, shotblasting, scraping and painting operations may take place. Where containment is limited, the waste residues from such activities invariably drain via surface and storm drains to foul sewers and/or into the water. In some commercial facilities, the maintenance work is carried out while the boats remain on winch trolleys over the water, leading to direct run-off into the basin.

Activities involving other potential pollutants, including oil, fuel and paints are also undertaken in these areas but these are generally easier to handle and disposal is fairly straightforward. Most larger facilities have designated areas for the safe disposal of such materials.

Procedures for Oil or Chemical Spills to Land and Water

Toxic substances may enter the water in the event of an accident. It is the responsibility of the facilities management to minimise the likelihood of such an accident. In particular, oil and chemical storage facilities should be isolated by bunds to prevent drainage to surface water and emergency response procedures should be in place.

Mechanical appliances, such as lift out systems, can also be potential sources of oil and other harmful substances entering the water.

Fuel Docks

Those facilities which have fuel facilities require authorisation from local authorities. The facilities must comply with certain safety standards for a licence to be granted and this should reduce the potential for environmental impact. However it does not prevent accidental spills of fuel during operation. In addition, the authorities do not refer to methods of containment or emergency response procedures.

Cleaning of Craft in Water

High pressure hoses are available at some boating facilities for cleaning of boats whilst in the water. However, in general, boat owners use buckets and mops for cleaning decks and upper hull areas. Most boat cleaning materials consist of conventional detergents. In sufficiently concentrated quantities, these may pose a risk to water contamination, particularly where the products consist of chlorine and/or phosphate-based ingredients.


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