How to make Sustainable Sailing Holidays Possible?

Sustainable sailing translates to adopting protective measures to ease this travel option upon our limited natural resources. You just have to keep in mind that the next time you are cruising over the crystal clear waters in any part of the world, you yourself play the most important role in making your sailing trip sustainable so as to reduce any negative impact which may have on the environment. 

Try eco friendly companies on their fleet of sustainable sail boats and flotillas such as – to ensure you do your bit for the environment whilst enjoying a fabulous sailing holiday. 

Apart from that, these easy tips highlighted here will make your next sojourn over the waters a positive and healthy one. 

Spread awareness

As the demand for nautical tourism grows, it is vital to ensure the protection of the seas and oceans. All stakeholders and interested individuals should come together to impart responsible practices to safeguard the marine environment through partnerships with the entire nautical community. 

This can be effectively done by offering environmental friendly literature, organising programs, distributing materials and conducting informative educational activities. These novel ideas are bound to encourage sustainable nautical practices. 

Tackle the rubbish

Over the years it has become quite evident that our waterways are suffering to a very large extent by the dramatic increase in pollution levels. Though, initially, this malady may not be visible and easy to assess, it becomes our responsibility to limit it in a very conscious and careful manner. 

Proper waste management onboard is the best approach to this problem. Reduce, recycle and re-use should be the motto of every sailor. By disposing of the waste collected on the boat in an effective manner and recycling as much as possible will reduce the impact on the environment and ecosystem greatly.

Reduce engine use

If conditions permit, just switch off the engine, hoist the mainsail and unfurl the jib and simply let the boat do what it is best designed to do – sail. Believe me, with no engine noise the stillness of traveling by wind power alone not only gives a wonderful feeling of freedom but lessens any ulterior impact on the environment. Taking into account the wind conditions it is best to utilise your expertise to choose this comfortable and eco-friendly way to sail.

Pack sea-friendly sunscreen

When on the sea, it is quite obvious your designated port of call will be home to some exotic diving or snorkeling location nestled among some stunning coral reef hotspots.It is important to remember that our coral reefs are among one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world and are very prone to the harmful ingredients in a standard sunscreen, which a person may have applied when in contact with them as it takes just a drop to cause irreparable damage to a reef. There is a growing number of natural sunscreens which do not use toxic chemicals, such as beeswax and natural oils which are safe for the environment and should be used.

Fuel economy

Exposure to the fuel used on the sailing yacht can have a toxic effect on many forms of marine life, even though it is very light and less concentrated. To reduce this contact which is caused by the spray when you tank up, it is recommended to fuel as early in the morning as possible when the fuel is less dense and colder. 

Not only will this reduce the spray caused but it will also reduce the residue which tends to get deposited in the fuel tanks. Further to save fuel it is advisable to keep the boat speed around 25% below the optimum speed of the vessel. This will avoid frequent refilling and reduce pollution.

Treat the waste

While a majority of the large boats discharge their waste water in a regulated manner as per marine laws, the smaller boats can cause a great deal of damage to the environment if not treated timely and properly, by killing the algae and stripping the natural oil from gills of fish. 

Ensure that you use eco-friendly products and detergents when cleaning the dock and toilets. An environmental friendly waste treatment system installed will ensure that all the waste water gets treated and your vessels clears all maritime safety regulations.

Vessel maintenance

Timely and actively maintaining all the services onboard can greatly reduce the environmental impact. This routine cleaning of exhausts and removal of dust particles from the fuel filters can not only increase efficiency but ensure better water quality as well. 

Ensure that no oil gets leaked into the sea along with the water from the bilge. Change oil filters often, check seals, clamps and gaskets for any leaks or drips. Spills spotted, if any, should be wiped up immediately to prevent them from entering the water.

Anchor carefully

Dropping the hook in a hostile or unknown location can throw up a host of problems. Make sure you anchor well and in deep waters in order not to damage the plants or any marine life unmindfully on the seabed. 

If the water is shallow, your vessel might get stuck during the change of tide. It is better to anchor in sand or mud instead of any sensitive ecosystem, especially the sea grass. Anchors should be lowered to avoid minimum coastal damage. Extreme caution should be used when lifting the anchor to minimise drag. Clean the anchor carefully after use so as not to introduce any invasive species to the next anchor spot 

Practice sustainable habits

Sustainable logic should be applied not only on sea but even before you board.

  • Before setting sail stock up the boat with sustainable supplies like reusable water bottles, metal straws, etc.
  • As far as possible make use of local produce and seafood for your kitchen supplies.
  • Carry biodegradable rubbish containers which break down within twelve months instead of hundreds of years.
  • Items and rubbish may at times tend to get blown overboard due to the movement of the boat. Ask the crew to take preventive measures.
  • Use sea and marine friendly products like SPF and sunscreen to prevent harmful chemicals mixing with the water should you decide to take a dip.

By following the advice given to sailors on these timely sustainable sailing trips it will become evident that clean boating practices can make the experience both enjoyable and practicable. Sailing is in itself a sustainable activity, but our crowded marinas and harbours are indicators that the problem needs to be addressed in an efficient way. In the coming years, going green should become the norm, while remaining indifferent to our environment, will become expensive and obsolete.

Clay Miller
the authorClay Miller
I am the creator/writer of and I'm an advocate for oceans, beaches, state parks. I enjoy all things outdoors (e.g. running, golf, gardening, hiking, etc.) I am a graduate of the University of Kentucky (Go Wildcats!!). I'm also a huge fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I was born and raised in the beautiful state of Kentucky.

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