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Seabins Coming to Lake Erie

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In what could make their way into boating facilities across the country, Australian Seabins are being placed in Lake Erie marinas with the aim of delivering automated litter and debris removal.

Ohio State University’s Sea Grant program is partnering with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Ohio Clean Marinas Program and Keep Ohio Beautiful to begin placing Seabins in Lake Erie locations as a pilot program. The devices will work 24/7 to skim and collect debris from the water.

The Seabin unit is a trash skimmer designed to be installed at marinas, yacht clubs, ports and any water body with a calm environment. Seabins can also filter out gasoline and oils, as well as microfibers and microplastics down to 2mm. It costs about $3 a day to operate.

Water suctioned from the surface passes through a catch bag inside the Seabin, which has a submersible pump that displaces 6.6 gallons per hour. The bag can hold 44 pounds of debris. Each device can remove 1.4 tons of debris a year, including contaminated organic materials.

“Our exciting new collaboration with Keep Ohio Beautiful and Ohio Sea Grant enables ODNR to use new technology to continue our efforts to protect the waters of Lake Erie,” says Glen Cobb, chief of the Division of Parks and Watercraft. “Not only will our boaters benefit from the removal of litter and debris, but cleaner waters are critical for all users.”

Initially, four devices are being placed along Ohio’s Lake Erie shoreline in marinas at Geneva and Mentor, as well as marinas near Lorain and Huron. Marina staff will document the amount and type of litter collected so it can be analyzed. Seabins have been in used in Europe, Asia and Australia for years.

“Until now, all of our work has only been able to help prevent microplastics from getting into our waterways,” says Michael Mennett, executive director for Keep Ohio Beautiful. “So we are thrilled to be making an effort to actually remove microplastics from the water. We’re grateful to our partners who will be maintaining and recording Seabin data and making this trailblazing project possible.”

Funding for installing and maintaining the Seabins came from Keep America Beautiful grants.

MBIA Awards Scholarships

The Recreational Boating Industries Educational Foundation announced it is awarding $12,500 in scholarships to applicants who express interest in careers in the marine industry.

The RBIEF scholarship fund was developed in 1986 by the Michigan Boating Industries Association with one mission: advancing opportunities for scholarships and training benefiting Michigan’s marine industry. Scholarships are awarded to college students interested in a career in the marine industry, as well as MBIA members and their employees for industry conferences, certifications and other training programs.

Since it’s founding, RBIEF has distributed $422,117. “Michigan is the third largest recreational boating market in the country, and needs qualified, educated individuals to continue our leadership role,” says RBIEF president Jim Coburn. “RBIEF is proud to provide funding and educational opportunities for individuals interested recreational boating careers.”

One scholarship is named after RBIEF co-founder Greg Krueger, who also served on the MBIA board and was president of Jefferson Beach Yacht Sales. This scholarship is awarded to a student who has shown perseverance and strives for education in the marine industry.

“Our investment in students seeking boating industry careers is an investment in the future of our industry,” says Nicki Polan, executive director of MBIA and an RBIEF director. “MBIA continues to prioritize the development of the marine workforce in Michigan, partnering in the opening of two marine tech programs and being the connection between education programs and our industry members.”

Donations from benefactors, along with an annual contribution from the MBIA, makes up RBIEF’s scholarship funding.

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