Are you doing your bit to help preserve the ocean and the environment?

March 8, 2019

(Part 1 – Yacht Owners and Crew)

Even when cruising in the most beautiful places, I am often surprised, and appalled, by the amount of plastic and trash in the water and on beaches. Some floats in from other places, some is left behind by unscrupulous and/or ignorant boaters. Recently, a charter yacht in the [protected] Exumas Land and Sea Park in the Bahamas was captured on camera dumping bags of trash on the beach. The culprit was identified and is being pursued by the authorities. But I ask myself, WHY? Who wants to swim, play and cruise in water with so much plastic floating by, or landing on a beautiful beach in the most amazing surroundings to find trash everywhere?

Superyacht designer Dan Lenard (@danlenard) recently completed a solo transatlantic crossing on a 33ft sail boat (with no engine, no radio and no compass), from Cadiz, Spain, to Fort Lauderdale, USA, to raise awareness for the plight of our oceans. Indeed, the statistics are horrifying. For example, as highlighted by @vela.code, the garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean is now three times the size of France. And it is estimated that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish!

We all know not to throw anything overboard, and not to leave trash behind in parks and on beaches. But we can do more, and we can start with simple things, guided by the so-called “R’s”:

  • Refuse – for example, refuse plastic straws in your drinks, in restaurants or elsewhere. Refuse to use balloons and balloon strings for celebrations. Refuse single-use plastics and cutlery. Refuse plastic packaging, for example for fruit and vegetables in grocery stores, use cotton or mesh bags instead.
  • Reduce, Return, Re-fill and Re-use – for example, refill your bottles of water, bring your own coffee cup.
  • Reform habits – for example, use less detergent in washing loads, choose brands that have and follow an environmentally friendly and sustainable production strategy.

In addition, you can pick up whatever plastic and trash you see the water and on beaches. Every little bit helps.

“One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.”
– John F. Kennedy

Yacht crew are also working on changing habits, aiming for a plastic free nature and promoting more environmentally friendly habits and products on yachts. For example, Girls Going Green (@gggreen_yachts) is a non-profit association to help crew to become green on their boat and to help to protect the environment. Project Green Flag is a crew led effort to make the charter boat industry in the Virgin Islands greener (for example through posts and discussions in their Facebook group: : “We are crews committed to reducing reef destruction, marine pollution, and supporting sustainable practices in the islands.” Crews who commit to specific green actions receive green burgee flags to fly on their vessels. Elite Yacht Management (@captaleks and @eliteyachtmgmt) out of Los Angeles, USA, organizes regular marina clean-ups.

In a future blog, I will revisit this issue and see what yacht builders are doing to help. We all enjoy being out on the water, we have no excuse not to do our bit to protect and preserve our oceans and the environment, for our enjoyment, and that of future generations.

“It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little. Do what you can.”
-Sydney Smith (edited)

Follow my journey @yachtambassador