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The 10 commandments of green yachting by Camper & Nicholsons
7th March 2023
How can superyachts help protect the oceans? From eco-conscious yacht design to serving a sustainable menu, Camper & Nicholsons outlines a guide of 10 top tips for greener practices that will help the superyacht fleet sail more sustainably.

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VELA Luxury Sailing Yacht for Charter | C&N
50.00m | Pak Haji Abdullah | 2022
6 Cabins | 14 Guests | 18 Crew

From: US$ 105,000 p/w

EMOCEAN Luxury Motor Yacht for Charter | C&N
38.20m | Rosetti SuperYachts | 2021
5 Cabins | 12 Guests | 8 Crew

From: € 160,000 p/w

SEQUOIA Luxury Sailing Yacht for Charter | C&N
26.30m | Saleh and D.E.N | 2017 (2022)
3 Cabins | 6 Guests | 12 Crew

From: US$ 87,500 p/w

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The 10 commandments of green yachting by Camper & Nicholsons

Are superyachts bad for the environment? It’s a question posed to the industry often, and a complicated one to answer. What we do know is that the oceans on which the Camper & Nicholsons fleet float make up 91% of the earth’s biosphere – but scientists are warning that they are in dire need of protection. Human activities like chemical pollution, plastic waste and overfishing can cause the worst damage.

Those in the superyacht industry are in close contact with the world’s waters and therefore in a prime position to lead by example. Camper & Nicholsons has taken action to implement green yachting practices within the fleet, from initiating every charter Captain with an environmental introduction, to partnering with NGO Mission Blue to develop eco-friendly charter itineraries. But there is still more to be done.

By following Camper & Nicholsons tips for transitioning into eco-conscious cruising, you can do your part to make your yachting experience greener. Read on to discover how to reduce your superyacht footprint to help protect the waters through which we sail…

1. Choose a sailing yacht over motor

When it comes to selecting your next superyacht for a charter or for purchase, sailing with a wind-powered vessel produces significantly lower emissions. Sailing yachts do have engines in order to run certain electric systems, manoeuvre into tight berths or continue cruising in unfavourable winds, but they’re designed to make a journey fully-powered by sail and therefore fuel-free. Sailing yachts are also less likely to disturb marine life while underway as they tend to produce a smaller wake.

2. Install green technology during refits

If you’re a superyacht owner with a refit planned, the yard period is an opportunity to make changes that can dramatically reduce your footprint. Changes like installing LED lights, using silent batteries in your generator to reduce noise pollution, changing to biocide-free anti-fouling or converting to a hybrid propulsion package can make a significant impact. Speak to the shipyard and designers to find out how best to optimise the performance of your superyacht.

Examples within the Camper & Nicholsons charter fleet include 26m Sequoia. Equipped with low-consumption propulsion, generation and sanitation systems, she can sail through her cruising grounds of Indonesia with a minimal carbon footprint.

Rosetti charter yacht Emocean, meanwhile, has been designed to cruise 5,000 nautical miles – the distance from Britain to Brazil – while consuming the same fuel as just a small tender. The 38m explorer also features a state-of-the-art electricity management system that supervises energy consumption on board, automatically switching off outlets that aren’t functioning. Incidentally, this technology leads to a smaller fuel bill for both her owners and charter guests.

Aside from tech, eco-conscious choices can extend to interior design. The 50m Phinisi Vela features furniture produced by local artisans using teak from sustainably managed sources throughout the yacht. Emocean has also been styled with sofas made from 100% recycled fibre – mostly from PET bottles scooped from the sea – as well as using renewable woods for screens, pillars and parquet floors. And a combination of natural fabrics and recycled nylon have been used for soft furnishings in place of animal furs and skins.

3. Ban single-use plastic on board

Plastic items cause havoc on ocean ecosystems; choking or entangling marine life when whole and poisoning the waters once disintegrated. According to Mission Blue, millions of tons of plastic enter our world’s waters each year. Superyachts can reduce plastic waste by banning single-use plastics like water bottles, straws and toothbrushes on board. Sequoia has already introduced this mandate on board, while Emocean has a potable water system installed that can mineralise or spritz drinking water and renders plastic bottles unnecessary.

4. Collect litter as you travel 

Though advances in technology have introduced successful, large-scale tools like The Ocean Cleanup’s garbage interceptor boom, such apparatuses cannot collect every piece of plastic in the oceans. If crew, owners or guests spot litter in the water while cruising, they can make a small impact by simply picking up and responsibly disposing of such items. Participating in a worldwide event like the annual World Cleanup Day can also help make a difference while serving as a team-building activity for crew and captains.

5. Serve sustainable menus

Superyacht chefs can make a difference in the kitchen by serving meals made using sustainably sourced and organically-farmed ingredients. The vegan owner of Emocean, for example, has even ensured that the wines stored in the 150-bottle cellar are all organic.

When selecting provisioning companies, ask questions about where and how the ingredients are farmed to be certain the production process is responsible. Items labelled with a certification like the Marine Stewardship Council or the Rainforest Alliance can help identify the right brands to stock your galley with. Choosing foods which are in season and incorporating local specialities from where you are cruising will also help minimise both the transportation emissions and costs of the food on your plate.

Trying to grow greens on board is another way to reduce the footprint of your food – and also ensures that you have extra stock for longer voyages. Industry influencers include chef Danny Davies, who grew micro herbs at sea while working on board 80m Abeking & Rasmussen motor yacht Excellence.

Chefs can be inventive with leftovers too to reduce food waste, using surplus vegetables to create home-made stock or as a compost material for on board plants. On board 58m explorer yacht Just B, the owners have even installed a biodigester system for absorbing on board food waste.

6. Use eco cleaning products on board

It is estimated that millions of tons of wastewater filled with remnants from soaps and cleaning products enter the oceans each year. Many of these mainstream products contain chemicals which are poisonous to marine life and upset the delicate balance of underwater ecosystems.

Some of the worst offenders are microplastics, heavy metals and toxic pollutants including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which can be digested by marine species and bioaccumulate in the food chain. Excessive nutrients from phosphate-rich products can also cause invasive species like algae to bloom and deoxygenate waters. 

In guest quarters, swap out luxury soaps, toiletries and sunscreens for those that are biodegradable and made with natural, plant-based ingredients. If they are certified by organisations such as EcoCert, the MSC or USDA Organic, even better.

Crew can also make a big impact by changing to eco-conscious cleaning products and laundry detergents. Some brands founded by former crew members include Washdown by Leah Tennant, which also uses eco-friendly packaging for its line of products. 

7. Share fuel usage data with guests

For many modern superyachts, reducing to a lower cruising speed of around eight knots can reduce fuel consumption by as much as 50%. Informing guests and owners about how much fuel a superyacht uses can open the discussion to reducing emissions, allowing the Captain to create an itinerary that will not only reduce the footprint but also save fuel costs.

8. Design inspiring cruising itineraries

The best method for inspiring a sense of protection for the environment is by showing travellers just how beautiful the natural world is. Being on board enables this, allowing guests and owners access to some of the most pristine corners of the planet.

By incorporating nature-focused activities in the itinerary, superyachts can inspire guests through meaningful and memorable interactions with the natural environment. This could include scuba diving or wildlife watching, as well as aiding marine research projects or inviting naturalists and scientists on board to give lectures.

Through partnership with Mission Blue, charter itineraries on board the Camper & Nicholsons fleet now include visits to “Hope Spots”; oceanic zones that contain unrivalled biodiversity but require additional protection. Guests and owners can visit these areas and view, track and log marine species in each Hope Spot with an app to learn more about endangered marine life.

Even water sports can be adopted into an eco-conscious activity – Emocean, for example, offers a fully-electrified toybox including a Seabob F5 SR, e-bikes and a DVI-drone for capturing images and film of the surrounding scenery and wildlife.

9. Practice conscious anchoring

Prevent damage to ocean floors and marine creatures by practicing “conscious anchoring”. Sea grass is an underwater species which captains and crew should be careful of, as it is a habitat for many varieties of marine life. These plants also help oxygenate waters, absorb greenhouse gasses, stabilise underwater sediment and reduce harmful bacteria in the waters. However, sea grass and other species like coral can be damaged or uprooted when anchors embed into the seafloor, or when the anchor chain pivots along the seabed during wind and tide changes.

When unable to use mooring buoys or pontoons, aim to drop anchor on bare sand with the assistance of map apps like Donia, which can identify the position of seagrass populations.

It’s also important to clean anchors after use – not just to maintain functionality and reduce rusting, but to ensure that no new bacteria or foreign species are being introduced to the ecosystems at your next destination.

10. Wear recycled crew uniforms

While still looking smart, eco-friendly crew uniforms are made from repurposed waste materials like landfill plastic, fishing nets, fabric scraps, and discarded carpet flooring. If you’re not able to get your hands on a recycled clothing line, at least opt for uniforms made from organic cotton to help counteract the chemical pollution created by many main-stream cotton farms.

A number of superyacht crew members themselves have launched brands that make eco-conscious uniforms. Examples include Ethical Yacht Wear, created by the former stewardess of Orso 3, Latitude and Samadhi Lauren Wardley, and La Bom Swim, a swimwear range made by Athene Hope Macrae who used to work aboard Galateia.