“Trash Skimmers” Clean Up Newport Harbor

Newport Harbor, Photo/NEB
Newport Harbor, Photo/NEB

ecoRI.org: They look like small, floating Dumpsters; they work much like pool skimmers, and they need to be treated like boats. Their job is to help keep Newport Harbor clean—a task not limited to cleaning up after people.

In early August, two “Newport Harbor Trash Skimmers” were attached to docks at Perrotti Park. The electric-powered units were bought to strengthen and expand efforts to improve water quality and eliminate marine debris in Newport Harbor.

Read more about visiting Newport Harbor by boat.

Those behind the installation of the skimmers say the devices also will help increase the recreational value of the city’s waterfront, bring awareness to the types of accumulating debris in the harbor and promote environmental stewardship.

The installation of the two skimmers was made possible by a partnership between Clean Ocean Access, 11th Hour Racing and the city of Newport. The cost of the skimmers—about $22,000 combined, including delivery and installation—was paid by 11th Hour Racing, a Newport-based nonprofit that establishes partnerships within the sailing and marine communities to promote healthy marine environments. The city of Newport is funding the costs and maintenance associated with the operation of the skimmers.

Michelle Carnevale, program associate for 11th Hour Racing, said the skimmers are as much a teaching tool as floating trashcans. “We need to change behaviors,” she said. “Land-based behaviors have a big impact on the harbor and the marine environment. The skimmers are another tool to educate people and businesses about the importance of reducing the materials we buy and use.”

About 30 units, manufactured by Washington-based Marina Trash Skimmers, are in use on the West Coast and Hawaii. The two installed in Newport Harbor are believed to be the first ones in use on the East Coast.

Read more about the trash skimmers that are helping to clean up Newport Harbor.