Top 7 tips for navigating greener yachting operations
Written by: Gemma Harris
Unsurprisingly, ‘green’ has been edging up the yachting agenda for some time now. Our global issues have been intensifying, and lowering our impact on our planet is more important than ever. Undoubtedly, making change is hard. Still, small daily acts can lead to bigger behavioural shifts throughout the industry. Here are some of our top tips for implementing greener procedures onboard today:
1. Green cleaning
The housekeeping departments onboard will know that within the superyacht industry, there is a whole different calibre of what ‘clean’ actually means. With this demand for 7-star cleanliness comes products upon products poured into our oceans. Unfortunately, various standard cleaning ingredients are toxic to marine environments. Not only are these substances harmful to our oceans, but to ourselves. Speak to your head of housekeeping and see if you can suggest that you change out some of the products used. If you are responsible for sourcing the cleaning products yourself, pay attention to labels, be aware of greenwashing, and try to select more natural products.
2. Say no to plastic
We cannot ignore our global plastic pollution. From ditching single-use water bottles in place of a water tap to using more refillable products, bulk buying, reusable shopping bags, and alternatives in food preparation and storage, there are plenty of plastic-free changes to make. Toiletries are another main culprit – but there is now an increasing amount of other options such as bamboo toothbrushes and shampoo bars to replace the endless plastic use onboard.
3. Be mindful
No matter what department you work in onboard, it is vital that you understand your own impact on our environment; each role plays an important part onboard to minimise the operational impact of a yacht. For example, whether you are the deckhand ensuring you aren’t anchoring in seagrass, a stew using better cleaning products, the engineer replacing systems with better efficiency, or a chef reinventing leftovers – there are so many ways onboard you can ensure the whole crew is working to be greener.
4. Sustainable menus
Food waste is a massive problem in the world, and particularly on superyachts – How many times have you seen food being thrown away because guests change their minds? It is a big culprit adding to the industry’s already significant carbon footprint; ensure as a crew, you encourage eating and using leftovers and your chef properly rotates stock to reduce unnecessary wastage. When it comes to food you can also implement procedures such as eating as locally and seasonally as you can to reduce food miles onboard.
5. Correct disposal
Although the ‘zero waste’ movement is an inspiring aim, in yachting, this can be extremely tough to carry out onboard, but reducing the amount of rubbish and waste you produce can be managed. Following the important ‘R’s’, refuse, reduce, re-use, then recycle. It is a great idea to have separate bins onboard for recycling, and depending where you are in the world, have clear recycling instructions up in the crew mess for that specific marina.
6. Support industry initiatives
Over the years there have been various initiatives popping up to help improve the industry’s sustainability credentials. From crew organised beach clean ups, to new, inspiring organisations such as Blue ESG forming. It is important to support these changemakers to pave a better future ahead. Another element of support is through donations and volunteering for marine conservation organisations.
7. Spread awareness
Word of mouth is so powerful in the world of superyachts, so what better tip to help improve the industry than spreading awareness of the changes crew can make onboard and showcasing how yachts are doing things better. The recent yacht shows this month have been a testament to spreading awareness, such as the ‘Green route’ at Cannes Yachting Festival and the Sustainability Hub at Monaco Yacht Show – showcasing businesses and products in the industry that are helping yachting have a lower impact.
‘The greatest threat to our planet and oceans is the belief someone else will save them – start today!’
The need for greener yachting is vital; without a change, our industry, and our oceans, will not survive. All stakeholders within the industry need to step up and make changes. Tune in to our latest episode of the Power of Purpose podcast where Julia chats to the founder of Blue ESG, Nigel Marrison.