I confess that I might be biased when I compare the huge number of agencies and regulations that govern the operation of a boatyard compared to most other businesses, but I believe we are inundated by a significant factor. Clearly, these regulatory agencies and their rules exist for very important reasons. Therefore, this observation is not intended to be critical. Yes, there is some regulatory duplication, but the core issue is more than just the quantity and costs of being compliant with all these rules. Rather it is the lack of a level playing field when it comes to these laws. And, for the companies that choose not to be in compliance, what are the consequences, if any?

As we know, not everything in life – and in business – is fair. Which laws are enforced and to what degree as they relate to boatyard environmental compliance on the Bay is a study in such contrasts. On San Francisco Bay, from Vallejo to the west, there are 13 boatyards in operation. All these boatyards are governed by the same laws and reporting requirements. The State of California’s Water Board website hosts the database where boatyards must report their stormwater analytical laboratory data (such as how much copper, a known boatyard pollutant, is detected in that site’s stormwater). As one might expect, all these 13 boatyards should be current and complete in their submissions, but they are not. One might also expect the regulatory agency would be active in monitoring and enforcing their rules when such absences exist. Alas, this is not the case.

So, the question becomes, how do companies that do put the effort into operating in a compliant manner communicate this to their clients? Several years ago, a group of marina operators in Southern California, working in concert with regulators, developed the country’s first Clean Marina Certification Program. This program has grown statewide and has been expanded to include a Clean Marine Boatyard Certification Program.
The Clean Marine Boatyard Certification Program is based on the marine industry’s Best Management Practices which have been thoroughly vetted with stakeholders. These stakeholders include agencies such as California Environmental Protection Agency, California Department of Toxic Substances Control and their office of Pollution Prevention and Green Technology, California Coastal Commission, California Department of Boating and Waterways, California Department of Pesticides, City of San Francisco Health Department as well as NGOs such as San Francisco BayKeeper.

I am pleased to share with you that KKMI’s Pt. Richmond location was recently awarded Clean Marine Boatyard Certification, the first such boatyard to receive this acknowledgement in the Bay Area. We have long held a strong culture of safety and environmental practices as a benchmark for our operational success, and this certification speaks to our commitment to protect our clients, employees and the sensitive Bay environment. Since our founding nearly 25 years ago, we have become recognized as maritime industry leaders delivering superb craftsmanship within an environmentally friendly facility. We are proud to have been awarded “Boat Yard of the Year” by the American Boat Builders and Repairers Association, “Small Industry of the Year” by the California Water Environment Association and just recently the “Clean Marine Boatyard Certification.”

I also would like to recognize KKMI’s Safety, Health and Environmental Director, Janis Johnson, who was responsible for coordinating with Clean Marine certification judges. Janis commented, “The process of obtaining certification, although time consuming, represents so many things. Not only does it demonstrate KKMI’s compliance with the myriad of regulations that govern the maritime industry, but it also speaks to KKMI’s commitment in taking the additional steps to achieve the highest level of sound, environmentally friendly operations. Receiving one of the highest scores is a powerful testimony to the level of dedication that exists within our company and team members.”

We are very proud to be recognized for our efforts to operate an environmentally sound boatyard business. It is my sincere hope this industry recognition will inspire other boatyards in the Bay Area and beyond to apply for their own Clean Marine Boatyard Certification.

Like Kermit the Frog says, “It’s not easy being green.” And I will add “or clean”…but it is the right thing to do.

See you on the waterfront,


KKMI is your one stop full service Northern California and San Francisco Bay Area boatyard providing unbeatable service, competitive prices, and outstanding workmanship. Specializing in boat bottom paint, boat hauling and storage, boat carpentry, fiberglass gelcoat and repair, rigging and much more, KKMI’s North Bay Boatyard location in Sausalito and East Bay location in Point Richmond are here to serve all of your Bay Area boating needs. For great prices and service you can trust, make KKMI your SF Bay Area and Northern California boatyard specialist and give us a call today.