Summer Departures Special
Sustainable Travel

10 tips for eco-friendly sailing

As passionate sailors, we’ve been crafting the best sailing holidays in the world’s top sailing grounds for decades, therefore we want to ensure we’re looking after the beautiful destinations, oceans, wildlife and communities, and minimising our footprint.

We all have an important part to play in ensuring a sustainable future for our planet’s ocean and there are steps you can take to help ensure our oceans can be enjoyed for generations to come.  Here Laura Bowtell, Global Sales Operations and Sustainability Manager shares her top eco-friendly travel tips with us. T.
Whether you’re planning a romantic sailing holiday in Greece, a bareboat charter in the Caribbean or a birthday celebration in Belize, follow Laura’s eco-friendly sailing tips to ensure you sail and sustain at the same time.

1. Sails up, sail green! Minimise the motor

Our eco-friendly travel tip is arguably the most simple: Sail and sustain!

Sailing is the most sustainable (and exciting!) way to travel, so if the prevailing conditions are suitable, hoist the mainsail and unfurl the jib! This means you can rely on natural elements such as the wind to smoothly sail to the next destination on your itinerary, as opposed to relying on a motor which is less environmentally-friendly.

2. Use mooring balls when possible

If you want to be able to sail and sustain, you need to ensure you’re anchoring carefully and considerately. Anchoring without care can damage plants and other marine life on the seafloor. Our eco-friendly travel tips for anchoring include:

Sea Turtle

3. Give sea life space

Spotting wildlife when cruising is one of the most enjoyable things to experience when sailing. Whether you’re bird spotting on land or snorkelling around fish, crabs and jellyfish, keep your distance. Our top eco-friendly travel tips for coming face to face with wildlife and marine include:

4. Sail and sustain by leaving only footprints

When you embark on a relaxing yacht charter, you’ll be met by mesmerising views, picturesque beaches, stunning islands and beautiful wildlife. This eco-friendly travel tip will ensure these breathtaking destinations stay exactly as they are! 

Do your bit for the environment by picking up any litter when you see it and ensure you responsively dispose of your rubbish. During your excursions, whether you’re discovering a hidden cove or exploring an ancient ruin, make sure you take time to leave no trace.

5. Throw nothing overboard

It goes without saying that no waste should be thrown overboard, and in many countries, it is an offence. Don’t stop there though, instead, try to remove larger pieces of plastic that you might come across in the water and take the sail and sustain game to the next level. This eco-friendly travel tip shows you how to have a positive impact on sustainability, rather than just mitigating the negative impact!

Leave Only Footprints

6. Minimise your plastic

This is more than an eco-friendly travel tip, this applies to everyday life too, making it one of the most important!

As consumers, the less plastic we consume, the less these products are found to be economically viable to produce. Whenever possible, choose cardboard or paper products that can be recycled or composted and avoid disposable cutlery or plastic straws. Opt for a reusable bottle or mug and become a strong advocate by spreading the word. For every change you make, challenge and encourage someone else to do the same both on your sailing charter and at home!

7. Use eco-friendly and fair-trade products

From the British Virgin Islands to the Seychelles, and Thailand our charter destinations are home to spectacular coral reefs ideal for snorkelling and diving. Standard sunscreens and cosmetics often use ingredients which can be harmful to coral reefs and marine life, so if you want to sail and sustain, look out for eco-friendly alternatives when on your yacht charter.

Another eco-friendly travel tip is to shop locally wherever you are in the world, rather than ordering or importing goods in. Did you know…many of our Sunsail bases offer provisioning services which means you can pre-order food and drink to your yacht before you arrive? This saves you time, effort and most importantly, ensures your products are locally delivered which is better for the environment!

Reusable Cup

8. Use facilities on land wherever possible

One of the most important things to remember if you want to sail and sustain is that the shore is your friend. You can have the time of your life cruising around hidden islands and relaxing on the deck of your catamaran but you also need to ensure you use facilities on land wherever possible in order to limit what is being put back into the oceans.

Our top eco-friendly travel tip is to ensure you have a holding tank onboard and use it when this is not possible so that it can still be emptied on shore. You should also use eco-friendly toilet cleaners and recycled toilet paper.

9. Shower quickly and ashore where possible

We want you to be able to sail and sustain wherever you are in the world, from Grenada and Belize to Italy and the Whitsundays. This next eco-friendly travel tip is simple to do no matter where you’re setting sail from.

To save water and minimise pollution, shower as quickly as possible and do it ashore rather than aboard your yacht whenever you can. Similarly to tips 7 and 8, shower products can contain harmful ingredients that could impact marine life or coral reefs.

10. Empty tanks far from land

Our final eco-friendly travel tip is to try, where possible, to empty your tanks as far away from land as possible. Each country has different rules about this so make sure you check before you set sail. Depending on where you moor up for the night you may be able to use a pump out facilities at the marina or port, otherwise discharge black water while underway in deep water.

So, there you have it, Laura’s top eco-friendly travel tips for ensuring you can both sail and sustain to enjoy the adventure of a lifetime. Visit our sustainable tourism page to learn more about how we’re making our sailing charters more sustainable. If you have any questions about any of our eco-friendly travel tips, or want to discuss any of our incredible sailing destinations, please get in touch with us today.

Author Name: 
Laura Bowtell


Ian Pedersen

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