A Brief Introduction to Sustainability in Marinas

A Brief Introduction to Sustainability in Marinas

Responsibilities have shifted with the growing tide of scientific publications describing the dire consequences of not acting now to reduce anthropogenic GHG emissions and biodiversity loss. From the IPCC and IUCN’s reports, the message is that we are nothing if not pressed for time, but that a close examination and reevaluation of our current modus operandi is imperative.  

How does this affect life in marinas? 

As major players in coastal tourism, marinas offer attractive and regulated access to the sea, via facilities for boaters, curated waterfronts and often an array of marine leisure operators. Increasingly, within this privileged role linking the land to the ocean, marinas are choosing to practice ocean stewardship: lifting the lid on activity-based environmental stressors, promoting ocean literacy and inviting civil society members to carry out environmental and conservation studies.

At the same time, collaborative actions can help contribute to developing resilience for both the marina hub and wider locality. Strengthening communities both locally and internationally, promoting local cultural and natural heritage, creating a more diverse workforce, and reaching out to include more vulnerable sectors of the public, are all beneficial actions that can contribute towards a more equitable - in many cases productive, and interconnected society. 

Faced with impacted marine ecosystems, an increasing occurrence of extreme weather events, rising temperatures and worsening global socioeconomic and political issues, we need to do what offshore sailors do – prepare, intelligently, for the worst. A first step might be to start checking through our systems, making careful use of limited resources; paying a healthy respect to our surroundings and the signs around us; watching out for our crew and other boats, and amending our course accordingly. 

This brief, practical guide explores some of the many components of sustainability pertinent to marinas. It includes content from various specialists in the field, exploring topics from water and energy to digitalisation. Just a small taster of course, but hopefully one that stimulates an appetite!

Thanks to José Luís Fayos, Marcelo Sabanes, Idan Cohen, Hannah Wagstaff and Fadwa Ghannoum for their valuable contributions.