What can yacht crew do to improve sustainability?

Photo by Gemma Harris

Photo by Gemma Harris

What yacht crew can do on superyachts for sustainability

The superyacht industry isn’t the most environmentally friendly of industries and it often receives negative press when it comes to sustainability, from the endless single use plastic, the food miles consumed to the huge emissions. Quite simply, it is an industry which relies on the health of our oceans and without them, cannot exist. In recent years, there has been an increase in environmental awareness and changing attitudes within the industry. The process for change is happening in many ways but one is down to the power of the individual, individual yacht crew making changes to the daily operations of the yacht and taking responsibility for the yachts environmental footprint to provide long lasting benefits. So, what are the steps in which yacht crew can take to flip unsustainable practices onboard?

Say bye to single use plastics

Our global plastic pollution problem is one that cannot be ignored, it is a huge issue and one that the superyacht industry can help with. Crew can begin to identify all single use plastic being used onboard and seek out viable alternatives. The first and easiest step is to eliminate all plastic water bottles. The company, Water Without Waste is helping yacht crew make this transition, providing reusable bottles and water filtration system options. For reusable water bottles, there are plenty of companies out there and some that can even put the yacht’s branding on them, adding another incentive to switch for the owner. From water to sundowners, crew can also get rid of plastic straws and stirrers, cutting them out altogether or replacing them with bamboo or metal ones. Another reduction onboard in single use plastic is shopping bags, using reusable shopping bags and biodegradable or material cloth produce bags when shopping. When it comes to food preparation and storage, try to reduce the plastic, for example replacing plastic wrap with beeswax food wrap alternatives. Another main culprit for single use plastic is toiletries, there are an increasing amount of alternative materials being used now such as bamboo.

Switch to green

When it comes to cleaning, superyachts require a whole different calibre of what ‘clean’ means so it is important that crew are fully equipped with all the lotions and potions to do their job. Products are literally poured into the ocean and a lot of standard cleaning materials are toxic for marine environments. Alongside the increasing trend in environmentally friendly products, yachting has also increased their levels of interest towards sustainable, organic and eco-friendly products. For example, Ecoworks Marine provide a wide spectrum of products which reduce the environmental impacts. This is not only for cleaning products, there are also natural toiletries and cosmetics which are chemical free and for example, sun creams which don’t cause harm to marine environment. When it comes to the interior and uniform, crew can also look at going green, sourcing eco-friendly and ethically sourced fabrics and materials.

You are what you eat

Improving the superyacht industry’s environmental footprint encompasses all departments onboard, even the chefs. Try to shop organically, locally and seasonal for all menus. Sometimes, in certain locations and with specific guest demands this can prove challenging but it is something to work on by encouraging change in guests attitudes. For charter guests, try offering local and seasonal menus onboard each charter, this not only makes it easier for the chef to plan, it also reduces the yacht’s food miles. Cooking at sea, naturally means that you will want to include seafood on your menus, pay attention to the sustainability index of the fish you are buying and ensure you avoid unsustainable seafood. Another tip for chefs is to try and introduce meat free days, more vegetarian meals are better for our environment and if guests won’t agree to it, at least as the crew you can do something about it in your weekly menus. When it comes to food waste, it is wasting not only money but natural resources and the best thing about this type of waste is we can reduce it by eating it.

Get rid of it properly

The ‘zero waste’ movement is becoming increasingly popular as a way to reduce the amount of rubbish and waste we produce, which onboard yachts is important. Implementing certain elements of this lifestyle onboard is key to improving the yachts sustainability. Yachts produce a lot of waste and depending on the size of the yacht, crew can take rubbish out a handful of times a day. Making sure you re-use, repair and or recycle things onboard can really reduce your waste. An easy change to make when it comes to waste, if you don’t already, is to have separate bins onboard for recycling. Take responsibility in researching each marina to check that there are proper disposal systems for recycling and use all the correct bins.

Pay attention

When working onboard a large luxury superyacht it can be easy to not take notice of your surroundings. For deck crew, it is important when dropping the anchor to ensure that it is a safe place and that you are adhering to any restrictions without damaging the seabed. Pay attention to your general surroundings, for crew that are based out of marinas be sure to get involved in any beach cleans that maybe going on. Back on board the yacht it is important that everyone is aware when it comes to energy consumption, turning lights off when not in use, not running taps when not in use and turning the air conditioning off when not needed.

Today, it is difficult to call a superyacht eco friendly however the industry is at the forefront of innovation and technology with a huge amount of economic power within it, the green revolution is making a significant dent and attitudes are changing for the better. A few changes in yacht crew’s daily habits has a vast effect and helps conserves our oceans.

If you are a superyacht owner who would like to incorporate sustainability on board, set up a call with us here and we can discuss how we can help you!