Sailing is an incredible way to get closer to nature, to explore and appreciate the beauty, mystery, and life of our oceans and seas. And renting eco-friendly boats is how we can aid in the critical conservation of this fragile, aquatic world. After all, we want to be here to enjoy it for many years to come!
Everything You Need to Know When Going on a Sustainable Boat Holiday
Minimize your carbon footprint
- Use your sails: Wind is an efficient and powerful green energy source — harness it! Rent a sailboat for your next vacation.
- Use less fuel: There’s a lot you can do — from arranging passengers so the boat is balanced to maintaining an efficient cruising speed — that can help you reduce fuel consumption.
- Consider carbon offsetting: There are several organizations that focus on compensating for greenhouse gas emissions from sailing charters.
Avoid pollution and unnecessary waste
- Fill tanks with care: The last thing you want to do is accidentally spill oil or fuel into the ocean while refueling — definitely don’t overfill your tanks when refueling.
- Avoid single-use items: There are plenty of great reusable eco-friendly alternatives to disposable paper and plastic products, which, sadly far too often end up in the ocean.
- Recycle: Learn about the recycling policies of your destination and keep all recyclable items onboard until you can dispose of them in the appropriate bins.
- Dispose of waste correctly: When waste is unavoidable, ensure none of it ends up overboard while you’re sailing. Marinas have waste disposal facilities (including for fuel like engine oil and black water). With all the plastic already floating around our oceans the last thing you would want to do is contribute to this!
- Discharge black water in the right places: It’s actually illegal — as it should be — to dump untreated sewage within three miles of the shore. It’s also not allowed to discharge any black water in sensitive marine zones.
Protect the ocean and its wildlife when renting eco-friendly boats
- Visit blue flag beaches: These eco-friendly beaches are recognized for adhering to strict environmental standards and can be found all over the world.
- Practice sustainable fishing: This means taking measures like avoiding overexploited species, choosing to just catch and release, and throwing undersized fish back in.
- Use eco-friendly products and gear: Chemicals in items like shampoo, dish soap, and sunscreen can run off into the water (known as grey water) and potentially harm wildlife. Check labels and choose biodegradable products.
- Limit noise pollution: You don’t want to disturb underwater specimens with an unnecessarily loud engine. Slow down and enjoy your surroundings — it’s the cornerstone of slow travel, after all.
- Keep a respectful distance from wildlife: You could unwittingly damage a creature’s habitat and cause them stress by trying to get too close. In the same vein, be aware of and avoid known breeding areas.
- Solar powered boats: If you can, use a solar powered boat. Instead of using a lot of fuel, you will be using the natural light of the sun. Such a great way to sail more sustainably!
Source your food responsibly
- Bring your own fresh food onboard: And to help reduce your waste, choose loose items (fruit, vegetables, etc.) rather than packaged.
- Go for sustainable seafood: Research your destination beforehand to find out about its least-at-risk and most-at-risk species, so you know what to order and what to avoid.
- Eat local food: The closer to the source you are, the fewer carbon emissions were released to get that food to you.
Keep the boat in good condition
- Check and when necessary, repair the engine: Avoid leaking fuel or oil while sailing and keep your boat running at top efficiency.
- The same goes for the fuel tanks, lines, and bilge: Regular inspections will reveal any cracks that could cause leaks.
- Practice good boat maintenance: By staying on top of normal wear and tear, you can keep the environmental impact of your sailing to a minimum and avoid having to prematurely replace (and discard) parts.
A final thought on eco-friendly boating
When it comes to eco-friendly boating, every step in the right direction counts. Small, meaningful actions add up and each effort made to make sailing more sustainable is a crucial one — for our oceans, our planet, and for future sailing generations. Equally, choose your boat wisely – sailboat charters are a great way to enjoy a relaxing vacation and sail with eco-friendly boats!