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Operating with YETI

Crew will play a fundamental role in the sustainable future of yachting, Water Revolution Foundation welcomes the engagement…

Water Revolution Foundation (WRF) & Yacht Environmental Transparency Index (YETI) have entered a critical testing phase. The team at WRF now welcome the active engagement of captains and crew, especially the engineering department, into the process. In an evolution of the project that recognises the crucial role of the operators of superyachts of all propulsion types, sizes and operational profiles play in the development of YETI.

In order to build more sustainable yachts, and become a more sustainable industry, we need to be able to create a representation of the average operational profile from a diverse range of superyachts across the fleet.  Every yacht is subtly different, and nobody understands these subtleties better than the crew. The approach of a project like YETI is not new, most industries have a form of energy label, and in many ways, the superyacht sector is behind in this respect. This is largely due to the complexities of the industry, and the historically limited sharing of data. YETI presents the most detailed project yet undertaken that is addressing this shortcoming, and the timing is vital.

As part of the ongoing strategy for 2022, WRF is heading to YARE and The Superyacht Forum Live - Captains Edition 2022, to speak with the core group of captains in attendance. For those in attendance, it represents a fascinating opportunity to speak directly with the team from WRF about how each vessel, and its crew, can actively participate in the development of a system that may define the sustainable future of the superyacht sector. 

A key component of YETI is the data compiled from the various operational profiles of superyachts, with specific attention to the energy each uses. The stakes are high. As the EU regulations, as well as a host of others worldwide, ramp up the pressure on the marine sector, knowingly or unknowingly, we are at a critical juncture. Apathy is one option. We can hope that the regulators will be able to interpret the idiosyncrasies of the superyacht sector and then factor these data points into their legislation, but that is fraught with risk, with WRF’s Dr Vienna Eleuteri outlining the danger associated with inaction.

"At the very beginning, when I started working within this sector, I always maintained that it is better to set up our agenda instead of being forced" Eleuteri begins. When the stakes are spelt out clearly, the potentially stark implications are harder to ignore. If we don't define our sustainability targets and commitments, via a complete lifecycle assessment supported by statistically significant data, it will be done for us, in a way that does not consider the specifics of the superyacht industry.

"There is also, of course, the IMO, who are defining regulations based on the UN sustainability goals, the consequence being that any economic activity must meet specific environmental sustainability criteria to be eligible for investment" Dr Eleuteri continues. “You need to be able to demonstrate that you have a positive impact across the six objectives set out to mitigate climate change.”

The better option is that the industry meets the challenge and collectively builds a model that can covey our strengths and weakness in a way to represent our industry more completely.  Captains and crew have access to the most nuanced data for each vessel and will play a vital role in building the strongest statistical model possible. The highly encouraging commitments from shipyards and shoreside sectors are one side of the coin, and the crew, in many ways, complete the picture. By embracing the sustainable solutions available on the market as well as being advocates for each, crew can accelerate the progress and put yachting in the forefront, utilising its strategic position.

Data transparency was a critical issue at The Superyacht Forum Live 2021 RINA breakaway session, as well as YARE 2021. Chief engineers, for example, have an exhaustive amount of data that is vital to the development of YETI. But how willing are the crew, the owners and the management team to share this data? Knowing that it can be anonymised and safeguarded by a science-driven non-profit foundation on a strong mission.

Sustainability legislation and regulations carry with them implications of restriction of operations. And, while YETI has been designed specifically to keep the industry ahead of these regulations, there may still be hesitancy from some corners of the industry to contribute. Please see an anonymous survey below, where you can give your honest feedback as to the potential benefits or drawbacks to contributing data to YETI, and the suitability credentials of the superyacht industry.

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