A marina with a focus on minimal environmental impact

17th December 2023

Good practices

A marina with a focus on minimal environmental impact

El Balís marina (Sant Andreu de Llavaneres, Maresme)

In the Maresme town of Sant Andreu de Llavaneres, there is a unique port where the focus is not only on enjoying the sea but also on a dedicated commitment to the environment which avoids greenwashing and implements actions to address the climate crisis head on.

To achieve this, they have initiated a project with the Chair of Circular Economy and Sustainability at the Tecnocampus in Mataró. Leveraging the upcoming reconstruction of the port, they have outlined a pathway for implementing best practices linked to the opportunity presented by the marina’s renovation project.

They have started by embracing renewable energy and enhancing energy efficiency. With the installation of photovoltaic panels on the roof of the social club, to generate all the electricity they require.

Additionally, they have renovated the so-called torretes, or “little towers”. These are the points where boats moored in the marina can connect to get electricity and water. Previously, these were not smart points, making it impossible to know what each person used. Everyone paid the same rate.

Now, a new generation of torretes for larger boats (12 to 30 metres) will make it easier to monitor each mooring's consumption, allowing boats to be billed the real amount for the electricity they have used. This measure alone will raise awareness among boat owners regarding energy savings.

And it will be accompanied by incentives to reduce consumption, including an awareness campaign. This initiative is just the beginning of a more extensive project.

In the future, once the new port is operational in 2026, more ambitious goals will be set. These include the incorporation of eco-design into boats, with a repair service using sustainable materials, and a gradual shift towards a fully sustainable fleet of boats.

El Balís has also implemented a series of initiatives, ranging from installing push taps for water to control water consumption in the context of the current drought, to introducing non-polluting vehicles such as bicycles, electric motorcycles, and buggies for sailors and the nautical port's security team to use.

The best tool against pollution is prevention

Meanwhile, to prevent marine and land pollution during sailing activities, a plan has been implemented that places special emphasis on preventing spillages from boat leaks. The way to do this is through training activities and by providing emergency equipment to all marina users.

The fight against pollution is not the sole responsibility of sailors. The port itself has taken actions to minimise waste generation, promoting improved waste management.

As part of these awareness-raising tasks, El Balís organised a series of sustainable talks in collaboration with the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). With a focus on climate change, members had the opportunity to hear the thoughts of Miguel Ángel Mateo, an ecologist specialising in seagrass meadows, and Fernando Valladares, a specialist in this global transformation.

This is not the only environmental awareness initiative that this sports and leisure centre has promoted. One of their flagship activities is “Let's Clean Europe”. A project that aims to raise public awareness of waste dumping in natural spaces and to promote changes in habits through environmental cleaning actions. The last one brought together 50 volunteers who removed a total of 120 kg of litter from the Sant Andreu beaches.

These actions are just a few examples of the strategy that led this maritime recreation area facility to obtain the Biosphere certification.

El Balís is proud of having embarked on a path towards sustainability. Despite being aware that there are still many areas for improvement, they are already on the way to having facilities with the least possible environmental impact. Because enjoying leisure activities does not have to be at odds with taking care of the environment.

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