- Operations - WRF to release crew guidelines

By Megan Hickling

WRF to release crew guidelines

The Water Revolution Foundation is set to release a comprehensive set of eco guidelines, for and by crew, to guide 'eco-friendlier' onboard practices……

Recent environmental protests and legislative discussions in the maritime sector highlight the escalating pressure on yachting to minimise its environmental impact. While regulations, legislation, and policies are pivotal in driving change, it's equally important for industry members to proactively take steps beyond what's legally mandated to improve their environmental footprint.

Such proactive measures offer a sense of control over their impacts on the overwhelming issue of climate change, especially for those who feel a sense of commitment to the planet's preservation. However, the effectiveness of individual actions can be limited unless they are widely shared. Without proper communication, many might remain in the dark about actionable steps they can take in their daily operations.

Much of the regulation in the superyacht sphere centres on propulsion systems. While transitioning to alternative propulsion and fuels will make the most significant difference, the hotel load, which accounts for a substantial portion of energy consumption, also presents opportunities for environmental improvement that can be actioned right now.

An example on a smaller scale is that it is up to crew to turn lights off when leaving a room, as well as the systemic changes such as installing energy-efficient lightbulbs. Scale this thinking up to even more impactful changes such as adjusting the air conditioning in non-guest spaces, and aggregate impacts can be significant.

Water Revolution Foundation is set to release a comprehensive set of eco guidelines to guide crew members on 'eco-friendlier' onboard practices. These guidelines, stemming from requests within the superyacht industry and collaborative efforts, aren't rigid rules but rather sources of information and inspiration. They emphasize the necessity of collective action to usher in meaningful change. 

“We understand that environmental sustainability can be challenging to implement onboard and there is no one-size-fits-all approach.” Says Robert van Tol, Executive Director of Water Revolution Foundation. “By working together with crew we can serve as a platform to share best practices, and as such inspire and facilitate this powerful group to minimise their yacht’s footprint where they can.”

According to WRF, the guidelines are free, and open source. As a live document, crew will be encouraged to contribute to their continued expansion. MB92 Group has been pivotal as the initiator with the vision for these guidelines to be freely available to the entire community.

These guidelines offer a platform for crew members to become change agents. Given the environmental awareness of the younger generation, there's a high likelihood of these guidelines gaining traction. However, for effective implementation, top-down support from figures like captains or management companies is imperative.

The overarching intent behind these guidelines, WRF explains, is collaboration across departments to foster a more environmentally conscious and ethical onboard culture. This collaborative spirit is evident in the guidelines' diverse topics and in directives like the crew pledge and yacht missions, which declare onboard commitments.

Some operational aspects, like navigation and engineering, fall under legislation such as SEEMP (Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan). While SEEMP addresses specific issues, there's ample scope for crews to innovate and make further positive changes. The guidelines integrate this perspective, offering additional methods to optimize environmental impact.

Implementing the guidelines is an example of the smaller scale efforts by proactive crews and individuals that, if lots of crew and vessels adopt, can add up to significant environmental impact improvements, a snowball effect if you will. Taking individual actions such as these may be seen as small gains, but that line of thinking aligns can be met with the retort “If everyone thought their vote didn’t matter, no one would vote”.

To any crew members reading this, Water Revolution Foundation encourages you to share examples of best practices adopted onboard. This will be an evolving document, and your insights could enrich and refine these guidelines.


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