From Boating to Luxury Cruises: Why Sustainability is Paramount
The boating community has seen its fair share of trends come and go. From the sudden influx of international cruises to the rise of single-handed sailing, there’s always something new going on that people want to try. While the popularity of these trends tends to fluctuate, one that is here to stay is sustainability.
In line with ONS surveys that reveal 75% of British adults are worried about climate change, the boating community has similarly shifted their attention towards more environmentally conscious initiatives. As a matter of fact, trend reports from Boat Trader note that those on the market for boats consider social and ecological responsibility when making their purchase. Apart from private owners, other industry stakeholders like regulators, service providers, seafarers, and passengers are also pushing to put sustainability at the forefront.
How boating and shipping have affected the environment
Boats and ships continue to be an ever-present sighting throughout the world’s waterways as they are used for transportation, leisure, sporting pursuits, fishing, and international trade. In line with this, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) was one of the earliest regulatory bodies formed to address threats to maritime safety. Since the Torrey Canyon disaster of 1967, though, the IMO has put their focus on handling pollution at sea and preventing ecological damage from seafaring vessels. After all, the aforementioned incident alone was responsible for 120,000 tonnes of oil spillage.
Research from the RPS Group also showed that long-time boating and shipping operations present detrimental effects on the environment. Such impacts include habitat degradation from vessel groundings, disruptions to marine ecosystems, and water pollution. Furthermore, global shipping operations account for more than 18% of nitrogen oxide pollution and 3% of worldwide greenhouse gases, which has caused lasting damage to both marine life and the broader issue of climate change.
Commercial boats and ships are also not exempt from this concern. Historically, the boating community has been a significant contributor to global carbon emissions. For instance, The Guardian reports that the sales of superyachts reached £5.3 billion in 2021 alone. However, superyachts on their own can produce 1,500 times more carbon than a typical family car.
Present-day sustainability initiatives
Fortunately, there are sustainability initiatives emerging from regulatory bodies and companies alike. For example, the UK government emphasises a multi-million-pound Zero Emission Vessels and Infrastructure (ZEVI) competition launched to help decarbonise the region's maritime sector. With this, the government is putting the focus on green technology that provides ships with electric battery vessels, shoreside electrical power, and systems that run on low-carbon fuels.
In addition to this, commercial vessels are adopting green solutions on board. Explora Luxury Cruises heavily promotes their dedication towards providing a premium experience at sea while supporting the environment. A high-end cruise provider known for offering exclusive perks like thermal wellness programmes, butler services, diverse culinary concepts, and specially curated shore excursions, Explora is committed to green practices, too. Notably, the cruise line uses hybrid power generation. This enables Explora ships to reach unique global destinations while reducing their nitrogen oxide emissions by 90%. Such an effort is in line with their pledge to hit net-zero emissions by 2050.
The luxury cruise provider has also partnered with Travelife to provide all of Explora's advisors and tour operators access to sustainability learning modules, best practice examples, and excursion guidelines following internationally recognised green standards.
Other cruise lines such as the Royal Caribbean Group are similarly taking the necessary steps to integrate sustainability with their ships. Known as one of the most popular cruise providers, thanks to their diverse destinations, Royal Caribbean is now focusing on the use of renewable biofuel for their journeys. These alternative “green” fuels were innovated to reduce carbon impact and preserve the vibrancy of the oceans, as they significantly cut down emissions. Besides green fuel, our post on ‘Electric and Hybrid Boats - The Future of Sailing' highlights how electric and hybrid boats and yachts are gaining traction to help address the environmental impacts of oil-powered engines.
In conclusion, the adoption of sustainability efforts in the maritime industry is well underway. However, it still has a long way to go. In order to reach the IMO's net-zero emissions goal, joint sustainability efforts are required. In so doing, there is hope in preserving the waters that our community holds dear. To know more about how you can make your boating life easier and more sustainable, check out TheBoatApp and get tips on how to get started.