Operational Marina Safety Planning

With pre-season planning underway, a large national marina management company announced that they had acquired the services of a high-tech training firm to develop and oversee their corporate marina safety program. Whether you own one or dozens of marinas across the country, comprehensive operational marina safety planning is a vital component in your pre-season planning.

Previously, we covered safety programs geared towards boaters and water enthusiasts. Now we’re focusing more on the operational aspects of marina safety planning.

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) is a good start for safety enforcement in the workplace – addressing safety issues required by law. OSHA provides training and outreach for compliance.

Even with a marina safety program in place, will it pass muster? Answer the following questions in various operational categories to make sure you have all safety measures in place:


  • Do your employees know where to find PPG/PPE (Personal Protection Gear/Equipment) to protect against blood borne pathogens?
  • Do you provide a map of your marina showing first aid kits, spill kits, life rings, safety/rescue ladders, evacuation routes, and no swimming areas?
  • Are your no swimming signs prominently posted?
  • Are your marina’s life rings Type IV as required by the U.S. Coast Guard?
  • Do you have signage advocating the use of PFD (Personal Flotation Device)?
  • Do you effectively address slippery decks and materials?
  • Are Emergency Numbers clearly posted?


  • Are you compliant with mandated NEC Standards?
  • Are you spot checking for electrical leakage frequently enough?
  • How regularly are your power pedestals checked for wear and damage?
  • Do you provide appropriate ground fault protection?
  • Are you and your employees trained to spot ESD (Electric Shock Drowning)?


  • In the event of a fire, do you have a plan for whom, how, and to where boats will be moved?
  • Are your employees trained in the use of a fire extinguisher?
  • Can your employees recognize the different types of fires and how to put them out?
  • Do you have more than one exit route in case of a fire?
  • Is the emergency fuel cut-off clearly marked?
  • Do you know who is legally responsible for disconnecting in the event of an emergency?
  • Do you know the five most common causes of fires at a marina?


  • Do you have an active float plan for your customers?
  • Do all your employees know where your emergency spill response and first aid kits are located?
  • Have you recently practiced a Man Overboard Drill?
  • Do you offer your customers a Pre-departure Checklist?
  • Do your boaters know the legal requirements for safety equipment?


  • Do you and/or your employees perform daily manager walks to mark out safety hazards?
  • Have you recently performed safety drills for fires, floods, or inclement weather?
  • Do you appropriately implement your PFD policy for children and adults?
  • Do you properly address customer-caused safety hazards?
  • Is somebody assigned the responsibility for enforcing safety procedure and practices?
  • Are you due for your insurance company to do a walk-through with you to identify potential liabilities?


  • Do you adequately enact clear walkway policies with your customers and employees?
  • Do you have an effective state-of-emergency communications plan for your guests and employees?
  • Do you have a lock-out / tag-out policy?
  • If emergency response has to be called (fire, ambulance, police), is somebody assigned responsibility?
  • Do you have a policy for non-slip deck shoes and eyewear?
  • Do you have a golf-cart policy?


  • Do you have any company certifications in your training program (i.e., who is allowed to move boats, handle certain equipment, etc.)?
  • Is your repetitive training program regularly scheduled?
  • Do you have an adequate number of monthly fire drills?
  • Do you have special training for new hires?
  • Do all appropriate individuals have CPR training and defibrillator training?
  • Are your employees trained to detect the early signs of heat exhaustion?


  • Do you have a policy that determines when equipment needs to be removed for maintenance?
  • Do you have your fire extinguishers examined and certified frequently enough?
  • Are cracked tiles and splintered wood decking addressed regularly?


  • Are trash receptacles emptied and cleaned out routinely?
  • What visible checks do you perform on your pump-out station?
  • Are outlets for non-potable water posted clearly?
  • Are restroom facilities cleaned and maintained routinely?

Feel confident? Not sure? Don’t know where to go?

Without having to acquire the services of a national training service, you can find good sources online like the following:


Additional Safety Related Articles:

*Sign up for our newsletter so you can stay up to date


About MariCorp

Maricorp is one of the largest floating boat dock manufacturing and construction companies in the United States, specializing in galvanized steel floating docks and boat lift systems. With projects spanning coast-to-coast, Maricorp provides marina consultation and design, marine construction, marina repair and renovation, and boat dock disaster response and demolition