It is commonly assumed that those who head to the water on their motor or sailing yachts harbour a passion for the ocean, enjoying life out on the open water with their family and friends. It would seem self-evident then that these same people, who reap the benefits of beautiful coastlines and dive the most unspoilt beaches around the world, would want to play a role in protecting the environment that they treasure so dearly.
It is paramount that the superaycht market embraces the regulations and laws being introduced to preserve rare species and coral reefs, and work together to end the illegal activities that damage these environments. With organisations such as The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Global Ocean Legacy and Blue Marine Foundation working tirelessly to spread awareness about the current threats and ongoing damage to the marine environment, it is vital that the superyacht industry acknowledges its own role in the conservation of oceans.
This idea is echoed by Oliver Steeds, founder of Nekton Foundation who notes the important part our industry has to play in the ongoing preservation of our oceans. Speaking at the Global Superyacht Forum, Steeds implored those in the market to step up; “The [superyacht] industry is a critical stakeholder for the ocean, there’s a fundamental responsibility for the industry to do what they can to support the ongoing stewardship and protection of the ocean.”
A huge issue that our market faces is reputation, with media reports on incidents – notably Paul Allen’s MY Tatoosh in the Cayman Islands – damaging the hard work of many that are fighting for marine conservation – like Allen himself. The superyacht market must actively engage in a conversation with those driving the research and protection of the marine environment. The dialogue needs to shift, with yachts and organisations working together proactively rather than clashing or playing the blame game.
There are, however, positive signs of change, such as Ray Dalio’s MY Alucia dedicated to scientific expeditions and other owners using their influence to spread the message of marine organisations. In this way, perhaps we are seeing the tides turning towards a harmonious relationship between superyachts and safeguarding the oceans.
Images courtesy of Nekton and XL Catlin Deep Ocean Survey