Environmental conservationist Asociación Ondine has announced its new app is in development, which will allow crew in the Balearic islands to send over information about local animal and marine debris sightings, with a view to improving the knowledge of the local marine environment as well as the efficiency of any marine conservation projects in the area (for more information about the app and its application to the superyacht industry, visit SuperyachtNews.com).

The Crew Report speaks to Captain Mark Stevens of Vitters’ 66m sailing yacht Aglaia, one of Asociación Ondine’s gold members, about the responsibility of captain and crew to protect their local environment.

“This is a traditionally sensitive subject. We all want to be green and protect our environment, our place of business, but with the very nature of what we do, we don’t! We run big fuel and power hungry vessels, we have petrol based toys and PWCs, we fly food and supplies around the world for our guests. Our carbon footprint is nothing to be proud of,” says Captain Stevens.

"As a crew we have realised this is not something we can do a lot about on an individual level, so the crew and owner of Aglaia have found another way of ‘doing our bit’."

However, Aglaia has always been a boat with a crew who want to do their bit, explains Captain Stevens. “We therefore try on a smaller scale to help. We recycle wherever possible, we don’t throw anything into the sea, we are careful where we drop our anchor, we run electric outboards on the smaller tenders, when on the dock any spare food goes to local soup kitchens, we participate in food drives and old uniform is given to charities. All small things that do add up and help a little if we all do it.”

An always charitable crew, Captain Mark Stevens and his crew raised charitable funds from a dock party in Palma last year

However, since its birth the superyacht industry has been known for effortlessly dismissing the majority of attempts to improve its carbon footprint. “The bigger picture is not great,” continued Captain Stevens. “As a crew we have realized this is not something we can do a lot about on an individual level, so the crew and owner of Aglaia have found another way of ‘doing our bit’.” And this is where Aglaia’s membership of Asociación Ondine comes into play. “A chance meeting with [owner] Brad Robertson has turned out to be a great opportunity for all us frustrated environmentalists. If we cannot change the way these yachts work – and I will admit, I don’t know how we could change this – then let’s concentrate on areas we can improve and protect. Aglaia is a Palma-based yacht and so we have chosen to help our local waters, and Brad and his group have been the perfect vehicle to do this. It is a perfect synergy. We bright high profile support, man power and fundraising to under-staffed, hard working groups and they fight the battles and sometimes win – something we could not achieve on our own.”

Can we expect all other yachts to be as proactive as Aglaia and her crew? Perhaps not. But the more captains and crew vocalise their environmental efforts, the more options other captains and crew will have when it comes to their decision to get involved. “This is the way forward,” concluded Captain Stevens. “Individual yacht by individual yacht.”