Sailors for the Sea Expands Clean Regatta Program Beyond New England and Into Fresh Water - Sailors for the Sea

Sailors for the Sea Expands Clean Regatta Program Beyond New England and Into Fresh Water

Press Release

Yacht Clubs and Regattas Commit to Clean Regatta Certification.


Boston, Mass. – May 5, 2008 – Sailors for the Sea, the only ocean conservation group focused on the sailing and boating community, today announces its 2008 Clean Regatta line up, which includes the program’s expansion beyond New England to include Eugene, Oregon and Chicago, Ill. and into fresh water.

In its third year, the Clean Regatta program is an effort by Sailors for the Sea, in conjunction with yacht clubs and marinas, to reduce the human impact on oceans and coastal waters. With oceans in an apparent constant decline, states and nations continue to pass regulations and laws that limit what can be done to and in the water. As a voluntary program, Clean Regattas help participating yacht clubs and marinas stay ahead of the regulatory curve and prepare to face future laws.

“Following on the heels of two successful and active sailing seasons with commitments from various clubs and regatta organizers throughout New England, this year’s roster of participants remains strong,” said Dan Pingaro, CEO and executive director, Sailors for the Sea. “With the completion of each regatta we receive resounding enthusiasm that our Clean Regatta program is making strides to effect change. Regatta participants embrace the certification criteria and are committed to doing their part. So far we have worked with over 35 clubs and events”

This year’s participating clubs and regattas include:

  • Triton Yacht Club, Emerald Cup, Eugene, Oregon (June 2)
  • Pleon Yacht Club, Marblehead Junior Raceweek, Marblehead, Mass. (July 21)
  • Marblehead Yacht Club, Down East Challenge, Marblehead, Mass. (July 26)
  • Buzzard’s Bay Regatta, Buzzard’s Bay, Mass. (Aug. 1)
  • Scituate Harbor Yacht Club, Junior Regatta, Scituate, Mass. (Aug. 4)
  • Flip Flop Regatta, Boston, Mass. (Aug. 8)
  • Corinthian Yacht Club, Junior Keelboat Regatta, Marblehead, Mass., (Aug 10)
  • Chicago Corinthian Yacht Club, T10 N. American Championship, Chicago, Illinois (Aug. 22)
  • Courageous Sailing Center, Rhodes 19 Junior Nationals, Boston, Mass. (Aug. 25)
  • Boston Harbor Island Regatta, Boston, Mass. (Sept. 27)

Benefits of Certification

Clubs and marinas can make an immediate difference to local waters as a certified clean regatta generates less material waste, reduces the amount of debris in the water and on shore, and the amount of non-point source pollution washed into the sea, and helps protect the important ecosystems and habitats for marine mammals, fish and birds.


Direct economic benefits to clubs and regattas include:

  • Saving money by reducing reliance on plastic bottles, fossil fuels, and disposable products
  • Anticipating regulations to reduce excess spending due to abrupt and costly changes due to new
  • laws and related cleanup efforts

Positive awareness of the Clean Regatta effort that can bring more and new regatta sponsors, and interest of donors, investors, and foundations for non-profit clubs

“The Marblehead Yacht Club embraced the opportunity to make the Down East Challenge ocean race, from Marblehead to Rockland Maine a ‘clean regatta.’ We’re not a social club, we’re a boating club, and our goal is to provide access to and appreciation for the sea,” Commmodor Bill Betters said. “Emphasizing that we should protect that great resource, as we enjoy it, just makes a lot of sense to us.” The Marblehead Yacht club, as well as the DownEast Challenge co-sponsor, the Rockland Yacht Club in Maine, see their participation as something that sets this regatta apart from a lot of other sailboat races and raises consciousness abut small steps sailors can take that collectively have huge impacts. The
MYC started running the race as a clean regatta in 2007 – it’s a tradition to keep alive as long as the regatta continues.

Clean Regatta Certification Standards
Clean Regatta certification provides independent, third-party verification that a yacht club or regatta is environmentally responsible, and is doing its utmost to protect and restore the waters upon which people sail. With three levels of certification available, participating yacht clubs attempt to fulfill requirements by forming a clean regatta committee for the event or a permanent committee for all club/organization governance and events to oversee the following certification criteria:

  • Trash free regatta – providing proper receptacles for all garbage and prohibiting overboard discharge of trash or debris, or litter at shore facilities (e.g., rigging tape, cigarette butts, beer cans)
  • No discharge – banning discharge of untreated sewage or blackwater in harbor areas or no- discharge zones (NDZs)
  • Oil spill prevention – requiring all motorized vehicles carry and use at least one bilge sponge and one fueling spill pad
  • Recycling – from encouraging of recycling from boats and shore facilities and using recycled paper (minimum government-standard 30% postconsumer content) for event packets to establishing a permanent, comprehensive recycling program
  • Green cleaning products – from providing participating racers a list of ‘green’ cleaning products to using only approved ‘green’ cleaning products at docks or shore facilities
  • Bottom paint – from prohibiting ‘soft’ paint that sloughs off or leaches into the water to using only non-toxic bottom paints and prohibiting any paints that contain toxic materials
  • Bottom cleaning – prohibiting bottom cleaning in the harbor and other sensitive areas
  • Maintenance – conducting activities such as sanding and fairing in approved areas using
  • mitigation measures such as tarps and dustless sanders
  • Global warming – from giving regatta participants the option to purchase carbon offsets to
  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions from event activities to committing to reducing the carbon
  • footprint by either reducing energy use by 10% or by purchasing offsets for all operations
  • Regatta awards – presenting race awards and trophies that contain recycled materials
  • Biofuel conversion – fueling at least one diesel-fueled motorized vehicle with B20 or higher
  • biodiesel or vegetable oil, or convert chase boat from 2-stroke to 4-stroke engine

A Clean Regatta designated by the Sailors for the Sea organization means all competitors agree to abide by Clean Regatta Certification Level requirements. Boats observed discharging trash into the water will either be disqualified from all races the day the infraction was observed. Sailors for the Sea provides support and materials, and the final certification that a club or event is a Clean Regatta.

About Sailors for the Sea
​Founded in 2004 and based in Boston, Mass., Sailors for the Sea is an action-oriented, nonprofit organization dedicated to providing education, programs and resources to motivate and empower sailors and other boaters to preserve, protect, and enjoy the harbors, bays and oceans upon which they sail. For more information on or to participate in any of the Sailors for the Sea programs, or to become a member and support the organization, visit