Sustainable Tourism through Sustainable Boating

Photo by  @soelyachts

Photo by @soelyachts


To kick off our collaboration with We Are On A Boat, Ally Dragozet (CEO & Founder of Sea Going Green) sat down with Tiago Varandas (Founder of We Are On A Boat) to discuss what prompted him to create his eco-friendly boat-sharing platform and why sustainability is such a crucial part of WAOAB's mission. 


Why eco boats?

The Amsterdam canal boats are the number 1 tourist attraction in the Netherlands (over 3 million visitors a year). Given the large scale of boating, the overall amount of boats comprises of approximately 250 boats for commercial use (canal cruise boats and rental boats) and 14.000 small leisure boats (owned by citizens of Amsterdam). Therefore, the transfer to electric boating could contribute to the air quality in Amsterdam and a self sustainable city.

By renting 100% green boats, we aim to eliminate fuel costs/noise/smell and exhaust fumes. We want to give people the opportunity to experience sustainable technology hands on.

Furthermore, if all the boats on the Amsterdam canals could have a solar panel, they definitely could generate enough energy for the entirety of the city and respective homes. Seriously, we can do this.

What does We are on a boat do?

We are on a mission to exclusively promote the rental of eco-friendly boats & yachts. Electric, wind or solar-powered, through our new P2P platform:, everyone with a solar electric boat can rent on our platform. We only refuse the listings of motor boats.

We can all have fun without harming the ocean. Calmness, that’s what we all need. We also want to promote eco-tourism and friendly experiences such as bird and dolphin watching, plastic fishing, standup paddle-boarding or simply wine tastings and healthy food on board.

Triggered by the issue of global warming we want to contribute towards a healthier and eco-friendly planet.

Why did you start We are on a boat?

5 years ago we naively launched our boat sharing app to match people who would like to be on a boat with people who are willing to share their boats with the public. Since then, we have been building a community of boating enthusiasts. We have been relying on Social Captains that occasionally share their boats in exchange of rewards such as: a simple smile, a hug, drinks and snacks, a good story, a new friend, a bottle of wine, etc.

It all started in Amsterdam, but the app has started to be used all over the world with more than 10,000 app downloads from 100 different countries. We saw boats being shared in Amsterdam, Denmark, Italy, Toronto, U.S., New Zealand, Japan and counting...

With the rise of the sharing economy, it has become easier than ever to get on a boat. Any boat. In some ways it is great to see our canals, rivers and oceans full of boats, but at the same time: the more motor boats we have on the water, the more polluted it becomes.

Luckily, there are alternatives to motor boats, but for some reason they have not been receiving the attention they deserve. Therefore, the need to create a platform exclusively for eco-friendly boats inspired our purpose. 

Can you describe a typical work day for you @ WAOAB?

There’s no such thing as a typical work day. Besides that, it’s not work, it’s a mission!

What has been your biggest challenge so far?

The biggest challenge has been educating people on how to be a conscious traveller. People just simply want to have fun on a boat without ever thinking about the fact that there are boats that pollute the oceans and eco-friendly boats that don’t have to pollute them. We aim to educate people on this matter so that they can make an informed decision when choosing a boat to rent.

The Importance of Sustainable Tourism

We also need to create awareness about a new unavoidable reality: Climate change and Global warming is not coming, is already here.

As a consequence of a warming climate, sea levels are rising at a rate of more than 3 millimeters (mm) a year, according to NASA. Sea level rise will have increasingly serious consequences for human health and life quality, with coastal and vulnerable populations at risk for dislocation due to flooding. We need to adapt to this new unavoidable reality.

Therefore, more than ever societies will need to rely on boats. Seriously.

Meanwhile feel free to list, book or share solar electric boats, yachts, sups, pools & experiences at Join the solar punk movement. Have fun, consciously.


Check out Tiago's interview of Sea Going Green's Founder Ally Dragozet on their blog