On Tuesday, April 9th, Clean Ocean Access (COA) redeployed the New England Boatworks Marina Trash Skimmer located in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, marking the unit’s third season out on the water since its initial launch in May 2017.
Funded by 11th Hour Racing, the New England Boatworks Marina Trash Skimmer is part of the Southeast New England Marina Trash Skimmer program, a multi-year initiative that seeks to improve the health of southern New England’s harbors and marinas frequented by thousands of residents and visited by tens of thousands of tourists annually.
“When the unit is operating correctly, it has many benefits. It keeps the entire fuel dock area clear of all debris. The aeration actually breaks down any residual fuel in the water,” says Stan Piszcz, marina manager at New England Boatworks. “It’s a great talking point for the dockhands with fuel customers.”
The New England Boatworks Marina Trash Skimmer is highly effective at condensing and trapping excess diesel and hydrocarbons that are emitted into the water. Due to its location in a private marina, the New England Boatworks Marina Trash Skimmer does not collect as much consumer waste as the unit located in Newport Harbor along the high-traffic downtown area. Much of the debris collected at New England Boatworks consists of broken-up foam caused by natural erosion to the underside of docks.
“The trash skimmers provide us with important data about the pollution that ends up as marine debris in our coastal waterways,” says Max Kraimer, marine debris specialist at COA. Kraimer works to leverage, facilitate, and establish marina trash skimmer technology and research on the East Coast. He also leads trainings and educational outreach events with local schools and community groups.
Over the past three years, the marina trash skimmer program has educated and engaged 959 individuals, including elementary school students, college graduates and senior-level scientists studying marine debris. COA’s marina trash skimmer outreach and education efforts are made possible by the generous support of the Amgen Foundation and the Island Foundation.
“We’re able to use the technology to educate the public about ocean pollution, bringing visibility to the problem of marine debris and inspiring communities to make environmentally-responsible decisions on land that improve the health of our ocean,” Kraimer adds.
To date, the New England Boatworks Marina Trash Skimmer has removed 1,828 pounds of marine debris. This floating marine debris and litter not only presents a nuisance to recreational and commercial vessels, it also impairs water quality and degrades marine habitat and ecosystems that are critical to Rhode Island’s coastal communities.
This spring 2019, COA will deploy three more marina trash skimmer units in southeast New England, including an installation in Providence in partnership with the Hot Club, making the City of Providence the first state capitol to host the technology. The launch event for the Hot Club Marina Trash Skimmer will be on April 19th at 1p.m. at the Hot Club waterfront bar located at 25 Bridge St, Providence, RI.