Why yachting families make great climate caretakers
Superyacht owners and their families not only have a vested interest in the health of our oceans, they are perfectly placed to help preserve them. Here are five ways that yachting families can get involved as citizen scientists and climate caretakers.
A superyacht may be the last place one might expect to uncover budding climate scientists and activists. But as Dr Vienna Eleuteri – a sustainability scientist herself – puts it, each of us wants to protect what we love, and there is little yachting families love more than the sea. “When a yacht owner wants to enjoy the ocean with generations to come,” she begins, “they become stewards of it, and by sharing their experiences, their families do too.” Those aboard a yacht become a very part of the ocean’s ecosystem, and they are perfectly positioned to assist in the fight to protect our warming earth.
“Anyone can be a citizen scientist, but yacht owners make particularly good ones,” explains Elise Ciappara, Head of Yacht Expeditions at Pelorus. Being aboard a yacht takes guests to remote and inaccessible areas, beyond the reach of or unaffordable to many of the world’s researchers. So what can yacht owners and yacht guests do to help when it comes to environmental concerns? Here, we outline five ways yacht owning families can act as citizen scientists and help our oceans heal.
Be the ‘eyes on the ocean’
According to Dr Eleuteri, there are many ways in which young yachting families can use their time at sea to bear witness to how the ocean environment is changing. Watching and recording, by photographing both marine life and documenting accumulating ocean plastics, is not just something adults can do onboard, but is an activity that children can join in with too.
“We now have plastic in parts of the world where there are not even any humans present,” says Dr Eleuteri. “Yachting families can record this and bear witness to the destruction.” This, she adds, will grow awareness, and provide the crucial testimonies necessary to report back to the organisations and governments who have the power to enact change.
Documenting species and submitting them to an official database, such as the Important Marine Mammal Area databases – supported by yachting ocean protection body Water Revolution Foundation – could help track the declining rates of species, as well as highlight any positive ecological changes.
Host a scientist
“We help owners host scientists onboard and deliver them to hard-to-reach areas that the yacht is transiting through,” explains Ciappara. These scientists take samples which they send back to labs on land, and they involve the family onboard the yacht in meaningful projects. Families can also offer their vessel to scientists during the periods of the year that it is not normally in use.
By ferrying scientists to and from remote locations, yachting families can also take a hands-on approach to ocean conservation. “Children are full of questions,” Ciappara ehtuses. By working alongside scientists out at sea, children have the opportunity to develop a love of science and climate protection from a young age.
Actively assist in ocean conservation
From taking out tenders to look for sharks and assist in tagging, to planting corals or documenting species while diving, there are plenty of ways in which yachting families can become active participants in the fight against climate change. “As long as the information collected goes to the right places to be processed, it is all very helpful,” says Ciappara.
Families can also sponsor and track their own sea creatures, adds Dr Eleuteri. Companies such as the Cetacean Research Institute offer ways to do this, alongside recording the mammals they come across on their travels. “My whale is called Luke!” she laughs. “I adopted him when my nephew was born.”
Provide natural disaster relief
When hurricane Irma hit the British Virgin Islands in 2017, the 46-metre yacht Grey Matters left her berth in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and travelled to the disaster zone to help. Later, when 40 million people were affected by hurricanes in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, so-called ‘Superyacht Samaritans’ rushed to the rescue once again, providing food and water, and helping displaced people access shelter and supplies. Weather-related disasters are only set to increase as the planet warms, and we will need all of those who have the resources to offer their support. Organisations such as Yacht Aid Global are also at the forefront of coordinating relief and humanitarian efforts by superyachts all over the world.
PHOTO: INTERNATIONAL SEAKEEPERS SOCIETY
PHOTO: INTERNATIONAL SEAKEEPERS SOCIETY
Invest in technology
Technology devised for state-of-the-art boats can be transferred to other maritime industries, and put to good use even beyond the ocean. In this way, yacht owners can work alongside sustainability scientists to develop innovative approaches to climate-related problems. “One great example is a superyacht that developed a technology to produce water onboard in remote locations,” explains Dr Eleuteri. “This was transformed into technology that helped nourish rural communities that had limited access to safe drinking water in Rwanda.”
Superyacht families are perfectly positioned to work the front lines of the climate crisis, helping those that need it most and protecting our oceans from further harm. “The next 10 years will set the stage for the next 10,000 years,” Dr Eleuteri concludes. “When you invest in something as innovative as a superyacht, you invest with all the technology that brings.” Superyacht owners are investing in their futures, but in the future of the planet too.