Blog

An Interview with the Inventor

I sat down for an interview with the inventor of the Marina Trash Skimmer (MTS) recently in order to give you a better understanding of the product and the man who created it. He has a lot to teach us about this incredible product and the need for action.

Marina Accessories (MAI): Hi Louis, I’m really glad we could get the chance to talk.

Louis Pasoz (LP): Me too! Thanks for having me.

MAI: Let’s start with introductions. What is your name and where are you from?

@world_debris
Louis Pasoz (left) with Dave McLaughlin (right) of Clean Ocean Access

LP: My name is Louis Pasoz and I’m from San Clemente, California.

MAI: What was your inspiration to create the Marina Trash Skimmer (MTS)?

LP: I love surfing; I would go regardless of the weather. One day, I went surfing after a storm and I saw debris everywhere. I decided I wanted to do something about it. I devoted myself to cleaning up the ocean.

MAI: What did you do then?

LP: I researched the issue, and the name Lenny Arkinstall came up as a big environmentalist in California. He had this wonderful story about restoring an entire wetland, and he did it without ever being paid. I found it inspiring. He now takes care of the City of Long Beach, and he has made a big difference in California.

MAI: Wow, he sounds amazing! When did you really start to think about the design of the MTS?

LP: I think around the year 2000, I was having lunch with my wife at Long Beach Harbor and saw the crew trying to clean-up debris in the water. They were on a dingy, using nets to scoop it all up.  When they left, I could see all this debris coming right back towards the area they had just finished cleaning and I thought there has to be a better way! The next day, as I was driving to LA, I was stuck in the worst traffic possible. I used that time to brainstorm a trash skimmer, drawing several shapes and working out details in my head.

MAI: What was your next step?

LP: It took me a while, but I drew out a blueprint and built that first unit myself with the help of a local machine shop. I don’t have a background in engineering, but I am knowledgeable about water treatment operations. I used that training to build this unit. After it was built, I took it to Mr. Richard Miller, who was the City of Long Beach harbor manager at the time. I showed him this model that could potentially clean up his harbor. It was great timing since they were just receiving bids for debris removal equipment. My unit really got their attention.

MAI: Let’s talk about what the MTS does for marinas and oceans. How would you explain the skimmer and its benefits?

LP: The most important thing to understand about the MTS is that it cleans up anything that may hurt marine life. It has been able to clean all sorts of debris, plastic, organics, oil, pelagic plastic, and Styrofoam. There are also micro-plastics that the MTS can collect, which cannot be easily cleaned with a net. The MTS also collects oil floating around the marina. The ocean is critical for human life. It generates half of the oxygen we breathe and absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. What happens if we don’t take care of the ocean? What will happen to us? I don’t know if there is a definite answer to those questions, but I do know that taking the first step and installing a MTS is beneficial to our Earth.

MAI: It seems clear that you care deeply about this issue, thank you for sharing that. What made you choose to collaborate with MAI?

@world_debris
A recent MTS installation at the Port of Los Angeles

LP: Well initially, I was looking for a dock manufacturer with growing a presence and could provide a path that market. Bellingham Marine was a market leader, and MAI was recommended as a prime distributor; selling marina products. I presented the unit’s potential to Everett Babbitt (CEO and president of Bellingham Marine) and Tina Jeffcoat (vice president of administration), who welcomed the idea. Now here we are years later, working together.

MAI: We are glad to be working together, Louis. I understand that getting your product to market is huge. What else would you say was exciting for you?

LP: Well, this entire thing is exciting! I love my product and I am so happy to see it making a difference right now. The recognition of my product is a great accomplishment to me, watching its market expand all the way out to the Bahamas.

MAI: As the MTS expands further and further into the market, do you have any other goals in mind?

LP: One goal is to improve the MTS with every model. We learn and grow with every skimmer we produce. I hope that we can make a lasting impact on the world and that a trash skimmer will become standard in new marinas.

MAI: The problem of ocean debris has become a trending topic, what would you say to people who are considering buying a product such as the MTS?

LP: We are here to tackle the constant dilemma of floating trash in the water and the effects on sea life and on human life. The purpose of the trash skimmer is to help clean our water. This is an industrial sized product to tackle this industrial size problem, and I hope that you feel the same way. Survey the problem areas, go to your local clubs and learn more about the effects of garbage in the water, and think about getting a trash skimmer. We are here to help.

MAI: Thank you Louis for taking the time to answer our questions. I really hope that this gives our readers more insight on the Marina Trash Skimmer.

 

If you are interested in learning more about the product, contact us here.

You can follow Louis’ progress through his Instagram @world_debris.

 

 

Top 3 Threats to Sea Turtles and How You Can Help

Researchers estimate that there are 100 million tons of plastic in the Earth’s oceans. In some areas, the plastic accumulation spans over 5 million square miles. The equivalent of the  U.S. and India combined. It washes out from our beaches, streets and highways. It blows out of a landfill only to end up inside a sea turtle’s stomach.

Two key items that the Marina Trash Skimmer collects are plastics and oil. We know that both of these have been inarguably linked to damaging coral reef and the deaths of marine life. Sea turtles are vulnerable to ocean pollution at every life stage, from eggs to adulthood.

1. Marine debris looks like food to a hungry turtle.

Over 100 million sea turtles, seabirds and other marine mammals die each year from pollution and marine debris. Scientists have an explanation for why this is so common in sea turtles, it is their own body structure. The esophagus is lined with hundreds of fleshy spines called papillae. These spines allow the turtle to keep food down while allowing water to be spit back out.

The problem is that these spines also trap plastic bags and other debris in the stomach, causing the turtle to not be able to ingest anymore food so they eventually starve to death. But why would they eat a plastic bag? Because it looks like a jellyfish!

You see the difference, sea turtles do not

 

2. Entanglement

A study found that more than 1,000 sea turtles die every year after becoming entangled in debris such as plastic six pack holders and discarded fishing gear. These are just the turtles we find washed ashore, scientists believe many more die in the bottom of the ocean and are never recovered.

Entanglement can lead to severe abrasions and even loss of limbs. It also causes turtles to drown or be caught by larger predators. This happens in various types of marine debris, including packaging and ghost nets (lost fishing gear). Another sad ending is that the debris eventually becomes biofouled – that is, covered in microorganisms and plants – attracting ocean grazers and predators like sea turtles. They either ingest it or become caught up in it, both leading to eventual death.

Sea turtles entangled in plastic and fishing nets

 

3. Habitat Degradation

It has been well documented that plastics in marine environments is leading to the degradation of turtle habitats. From nesting beaches to our coral reefs, the effects are devastating. Nesting mother sea turtles are forced to lay their eggs on top of trash heaps, and hatchlings are dying trying to navigate through the debris to get to the ocean. Coral reefs are being suffocated by plastic pollution, decreasing the abundance of habitat and available food for marine life.

Plastic at the bottom of the ocean floor

Take Action Today

All of this devastation makes the solution seem impossible, but Marina Accessories doesn’t believe that. There are things we can do every day to save sea turtles. One way is to refuse single serve plastics, or reuse and recycle the ones you do use. Beach cleanups are also a great way to make an impact, find one in your local community here.

While our Marina Trash Skimmers won’t completely solve the issue of marine pollution, they are making an impact on the amount of debris entering the waters where they are installed.

Marina Trash Skimmers are working tirelessly 24/7 around the world to clean up the debris that has already ended up in our waters. Designed for the removal of pollutants on a commercial scale, the Skimmer filters 375 gallons of water per minute. Half Moon Marina in California, collected 6,425 gallons of debris in an 8 month period. Water that was hazy when the Skimmer was installed is now clear enough to see the basin bottom.

Ask us how you can be a part of the solution with your own Skimmer.

Marine Debris Interview

We recently came across a great article by the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association (RIMTA). It is an interview they conducted with Clean Ocean Access, a group dedicated to eliminating marine debris, about the Marina Trash Skimmer. At Marina Accessories we are always excited to hear about the community interest in our skimmer and the organizations that are using it to make a real difference. Give it a read and be sure to let us know if you would like more information, enjoy!

18 FEB-DOING OUR PART TO COMBAT MARINE DEBRIS: AN INTERVIEW WITH CLEAN OCEAN ACCESS

Marine debris is a problem, and we all know it. A short walk along the beach puts you in contact with the evidence:  plastic bottles and bags, food containers, fishing line, and more litter. But few of us may realize just how devastating this problem is.

A study published in 2015* quantified the amount of plastic waste travelling from land to the ocean at 8 million metric tons of plastic each year. That’s equivalent to five grocery bags filled with plastic for every foot of coastline in the world. And based on our prolific use of plastic, that amount is only projected to grow rapidly.

As an industry, we cannot afford to sit back and watch the problem explode, for our business depends on having water that is clean enough to attract boaters. So we went to Dave McLaughlin, executive director of Clean Ocean Access, for advice. The mission of this Rhode Island-based organization is to take action today so future generations can enjoy the ocean—by eliminating marine debris, improving coastal water quality, and protecting shoreline access.

And there is good news. “Marine debris is a solvable problem,” says McLaughlin. “It starts by people on land making different decisions … We have to be the ones to make it happen.” Here are a few ways our industry can learn from Clean Ocean Access about stemming the tide of marine debris.

SKIMMING MARINE DEBRIS AND EDUCATING THE PUBLIC

Clean Ocean Access owns and operates four trash skimmers in Rhode Island. These large box-like units are positioned in the water to collect marine debris while also aerating the water and cleaning up oil sheen to ultimately improve water quality.

The skimmers play an important environmental role, but they are also valuable educational tools. In 2017 alone, Clean Ocean Access collected some 8,000 pounds of marine debris and catalogued what was skimmed. They also installed signage by the skimmers so the public can learn more, educated several hundred students, and exposed thousands of people via social media and other communications about the threat of marine debris. 

In terms of items collected in 2017, the biggest culprit by far was food wrapping/containers, which accounted for 41% of the waste skimmed last year. But items collected ran the gamut—from food containers to cigarette butts and filters, plastic straws, balloons, plastic caps and lids, fishing line, 6-pack holders, and much more. Take a look at the chart of what was collected in their 2017 skimmer report (click here for the report, and scroll down for the chart). Their findings are a vivid reminder to skip items like plastic straws, balloons, plastic food containers, disposable coffee cups and lids, and other items.

As an industry, one way we can help reduce this debris is by installing more skimmers on our coast. According to McLaughlin, any waterfront location with the geography that allows wind and wave action to accumulate debris (and someone in that location who can document that debris collects on a regular basis) is a candidate for a trash skimmer.

TRASH SKIMMERS: NUTS & BOLTS

Once you have identified a location where debris accumulates, about 8 feet of dock space is required for a skimmer. The units cost approximately $11,000 and an estimated 60 cents a day for the electricity to run the unit. There are also pumps to oversee and an electrical panel to set up.

In terms of day-to-day operation, someone will need to empty the unit on a regular basis. Depending on how much debris collects, it may need to be emptied twice a day or as little as every two to three days. There is weekly and monthly maintenance, and in winter, Clean Ocean Access pulls their units out and covers them for the off-season.

According to McLaughlin, the skimmers are workhorses that run 24 hours a day and can last for many years. If marine debris and poor water quality at your location is a deterrent to your customers and you are inspired to change this, the skimmers are an excellent solution.

When it comes to purchasing the unit, businesses can be creative in how they approach that investment. Your marina might partner with a local nonprofit that can seek grant-funding and develop educational programs around the skimmer; these units create an opportunity to educate the public and can be the type of community project a foundation will want to support. The units also lend themselves well to sponsorship, and signage can be installed to promote a sponsor’s corporate responsibility for the environment.

Although Clean Ocean Access does not produce the skimmers (they are made by a company in Washington state), McLaughlin is happy to be the first point of contact for local marine companies that want to explore their best options for combating the problem of marine debris. McLaughlin has already received requests from locales in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Maryland about installing trash skimmers.

LEARNING FROM THE VOLVO OCEAN RACE

When the Volvo Ocean Race came to Newport in 2015, Sail Newport and its volunteers knew they would be flooded with big crowds and lots of spectator boats. In an effort to minimize the event’s environmental footprint, they created a Sustainability Plan. Volvo Ocean Race organizers were impressed with Newport organizers’ sustainability efforts and have used that plan as a model for all the stopovers in this year’s race.

McLaughlin co-chairs the Newport sustainability effort as a volunteer with marine scientist Martha McConnell, PhD. Some examples of what this 14-point plan includes are minimizing the race’s impact by avoiding single-use plastic in the Race Village; reducing the emissions footprint by encouraging race fans to bike, walk, take a water taxi, or carpool to the Village; and using the race as an opportunity to spread the word about ocean health, plastic pollution and sustainability.

We encourage all of you who work in the marine industry to take a look at the Volvo Ocean Race Newport Sustainability Plan here. There may be ideas you could adapt to make your own job site more sustainable.

TAKE A FIRST STEP, HOWEVER SMALL

When it comes to an industry-wide effort to keep our waters clean, marine debris is only one piece of the puzzle—albeit a vitally important one. Plastics and debris in the ocean may be a daunting global problem, but it is one area where each of us can take a first step, however small.

That might mean installing a trash skimmer at your marina or boat yard; or reducing debris that can travel from your job site and into the water by installing a water station so workers use refillable water bottles and coffee cups; or attending one of the many events and beach clean-ups Clean Ocean Access runs throughout the year (find a schedule here); or encouraging a restaurant at your marina to stop using plastic straws;  or even inviting friends, family and coworkers to Newport’s Volvo Ocean Race Village this May so you can all learn more.

By working as an industry toward a common goal of eliminating marine debris, we can have a big impact. But that effort is ultimately about more than trash, as Dave McLaughlin says: “It is all about community, about bringing people together and appreciating our differences while finding a common path to making this a better place for future generations.”

To learn more about Clean Ocean Access and their programs, visit their websiteClick here to get contact details for the Dave McLaughlin and the organization. You can also stay up to date on the work Clean Ocean Access is doing by subscribing to their e-news here.

*This study was conducted by a scientific working group at UC Santa Barbara’s National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis and published in the journal Science in February 2015.

Making A Difference

Scientific reports from around the world have stated that 2017 was the hottest year on record for the world’s oceans. While you probably won’t notice a difference while wading at the beach, there is plenty of reason to worry.

Two obvious victims of rising sea temperatures are our coral reefs and sea ice levels. Fields of the usually vibrantly colored coral reef are now nothing but white skeletons, as the warming waters have led them to expel the colorful algae that they require to live. With the algae gone, the coral starve and die. This matter may seem like it doesn’t affect you personally, but keep in mind that an estimated one billion people depend on coral reefs for food and income. They are also important to preventing coastal erosion, another serious issue for mankind.

Our polar ice caps are melting at unprecedented levels as well, leading to rapidly rising ocean levels. In coastal Louisiana we are losing about a football field of land every hour, 16 square miles every single year. If this continues unchecked, nearly all of New Orleans will be underwater by 2100.

Continue reading “Making A Difference”

Help save the ocean with a Marina Trash Skimmer!

We are bringing back an old post from our Facebook page because of the relevance to our product:

The Marina Trash Skimmer (MTS) is state of the art technology developed and built by Marina Accessories Inc.  These Marina Trash Skimmers are the first of its kind and have made great efforts in reducing pollution as well as helping to create a more sustainable ecosystem for marine wildlife.

The trash skimmer in a sense acts as a floating collector often attached to docks in harbors and marinas.  As garbage and debris fall into the water, the skimmer sucks the garbage into its trash receptacle removing the trash and preventing the items from freely floating through the water.  The skimmer even removes gasoline, diesel, and oil from the water.  As a result, the skimmer then pumps out cleaner more oxygen rich water, which greatly reduces the condensed pollution often found in harbors.

Continue reading “Help save the ocean with a Marina Trash Skimmer!”