As short-timers on this planet (relative to it’s history), we should all be 100% committed to doing our best to make the planet better than when we fist joined the rat race. It’s somewhat like my philosophy developed over years of crewing on race boats. Somewhere – I’m not sure where – I adopted the mentality that IF someone was footing the bill for me to be able to go racing, the least I could do was make an effort to ensure the boat was in better condition when I left than when I first climbed aboard. Maybe it was some rigging tape covering some exposed ring-dings that might snag a headsail during a tack. Maybe it was helping prep the hull or burnish antifouling paint. A little help to rebuild a winch is the least a crew member can do to contribute. Right or wrong, good or bad, it’s always been my philosophy and I think it’s a good one.
I really feel the same way about chartering. I’ve been fortunate enough to see some of the most remarkable things while chartering around the world. Whether it was rays breaking the surface or beds of urchins as far as the eye could see in the South Pacific, Orca whales and porpoises dancing across the water in the Pacific Northwest, or the countless fish in a variety of snorkeling spots across the Caribbean, the waters we sail on and the communities we visit while chartering are quite remarkable.
As visitors, we have the explicit responsibility to leave no trace from our visits. Whether it’s handling garbage safely (some islanders do not always do this even when they take money for removing your trash – it often gets thrown behind a building somewhere) or being cautious fueling vessels and watching what gets sent overboard, it all adds up.
However, I think charterers can do more. For instance, I like what Moorings is doing with their electric propulsion system on their Robertson and Caine catamarans. Sure, they still have a diesel generator to charge and run the boat’s systems. But, for large vessels, this at least cuts the number of fossil fuel powerplants in half. This system relies on Glacier Bay’s OSSA propulsion and DC genset and is supposed to reduce emissions and exhaust in the precious ecosystems in which we charter.
[BTW – have you had experience with these catamarans? I’m curious to hear how they actually perform underway. Please share your comments below!]
I think we can do more. Whether it’s encouraging more green chartering efforts or even programs to donate to causes that help protect and improve popular chartering regions, I’m for it. I would also like to hear about programs like this from readers and highlight those that create and foster these efforts.
So, cool ideas or organizations that foster green chartering? Let us know!