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Surfrider Foundation’s South OC Chapter named Waterman’s Harbor an Ocean Friendly Restaurant. Photo: Courtesy

By Kristina Pritchett

Waterman’s Harbor was named the first Surfrider Foundation Ocean Friendly Restaurant in Dana Point.

Surfrider Foundation is a nonprofit dedicated to protecting the ocean, waves and beaches. They started their Ocean Friendly Restaurant program around the country, and recently began it here in South Orange County with Waterman’s.

The program works with and recognizes restaurants who institute self-regulated ocean friendly practices that reduce disposable plastic waste.

The program was created in response to increased pollution in the coastal zone and the ocean gyres, according to Surfrider.

In order for a restaurant to participate in the program, they must follow four criteria: they cannot use expanded Styrofoam, they must have proper recycling practices, they only use reusable tableware and they don’t provide plastic bags for takeout or to-go orders.

Restaurants can also choose a minimum of three other criteria: plastic straws are provided only upon request, no beverages sold in plastic bottles, a discount is offered for customers with a reusable cup, mug, bag, etc., vegetarian and vegan food options are offered on a regular basis, they have water conservation efforts, and there are energy efficient efforts.

If restaurants implement all 10 of the criteria, they’re recognized as a platinum level ocean friendly restaurant.

Waterman’s may be the first in Dana Point, but South OC Chapter Chairman Rick Erkeneff believes more restaurants will participate.

“[Waterman’s] is in the Harbor, and they’re setting high standards. They’ve been using the best practices and being sustainable since they opened,” said Rick Erkeneff, South OC Chapter chairman. “We’re excited, it was natural for us to come here.”

For more information about the program, visit

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comments (1)

  • This is great to see. I’d love to reward the restaurant with more patronage, but really need them to get some more varied vegetarian options on the menu before I can. A man cannot live on salad alone.

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