Less than six months after commemorating a newly constructed state-of-the-art marina with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, officials at a well-known beach resort on Estero Island have another reason for celebration.
On Aug. 2, Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina at 275 Estero Blvd. was officially designated a Clean Marina by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
The Beach marina, which completed a $1.2 million construction renovations project on Feb. 20, 2013, becomes the 10th marina in Lee County, the 59th in Florida's newly restructured South District and the 272nd in the State to achieve this designation. The Florida Clean Marina Program is a voluntary program with a proactive approach to environmental stewardship that recognizes facilities engaging in environmentally friendly practices, beyond regulatory requirements, in and around Florida waterways.
Pink Shell Beach Resort's newly constructed state-of-the-art marina was recently designated a Clean Marina by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
"Yes, that was quite an accomplishment getting the Clean Marina designation so quickly. We are very proud of that and the designation," said Pink Shell Marketing Director Ellis Etter. "The real accolades go to our Dock Master, Dave O'Connor, who was very instrumental in orchestrating this achievement. His dedication to the environment, marina and the Pink Shell is evident on a daily basis."
Pink Shell joins Fish-Tale Marina and Snook Bight Yacht Club & Marina as the three marinas on Fort Myers Beach to receive such a distinction. Fish-Tale was designated as a Clean Marina on July 1, 2003, and is one of only 21 Clean Marina facilities that has been praised in the state program for 10 years. Snook Bight received designation in August 2010. Both have maintained their status throughout the years.
The recent marina distinction shows that Pink Shell Resort has demonstrated their commitment to protecting the environment once again. The management team and staff at the Pink Shell first proved their environmental commitment in 2008, when FDEP designated the resort as the first Green Lodging Property on the beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel.
According to Pink Shell records, when the decision was made to renovate Pink Shell's marina in 2012, there was no question the plan called for a facility designed to protect and preserve Florida's waters and coastline.
"We are excited the Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina has been awarded this prestigious designation," said Bill Waichulis, vice president of operations at Boykin Management Company. "It's an honor to be able to give back to the environment, which has provided us with so much enjoyment. By doing this, we help to ensure future visitors and generations to come enjoy the beaches, wetlands and waters around the barrier islands of Southwest Florida."
DEP's Clean Marina Manager Brenda Leonard said her agency conducts workshops around the state and offers mentoring through their Clean Boating partnership, though some marinas hear from word-of-mouth or the Internet and make calls to inquire.
Leonard stated Pink Shell applied to the Clean Marina program on Oct. 18, 2012, while they were building the marina and implementing best management practices during the construction process. Pink Shell also installed a pump-out system that is available for boaters through the Clean Vessel Act grant program.
On July 26, South District DEP Coordinator Laura Comer and US Coast Guard officials performed a Clean Marina audit of Pink Shell and prepared recommendation. Two days later, Pink Shell was recommended.
"Pink Shell is a great example of an environmental leader for our state," said Leonard. "Marinas that implement Clean Marina best management practices are an asset to the Florida economy as boaters choose to frequent marinas that have made this commitment."
To be nominated a Florida Clean Marina, a facility must demonstrate excellence in three categories: Environmental Management; Marina Environment Quality; and Services. Criteria in each of these categories addresses critical environmental issues such as waste management, storm water control, emergency preparedness and access to drinking water. The marina must also have knowledgeable personnel on staff to provide visitors with environmental information.
Environmental measures are also designed to protect Florida's waterways by addressing critical environmental issues such as sensitive habitat, waste management, stormwater control, spill prevention and emergency preparedness.
--information for the story was provided by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Agency and www.pinkshell.com