Putting the Sustainability in Seafarer

Current & Future Measures for our Sustainable Future

With the conclusion of COP28 the world’s attention once again focussed on the issue of sustainability and at Seafarer we have long considered it part of our role as a tour operator to be as sustainable as we can be. Over the last few years, we have been working on different elements of our products in pursuit of best practice in sustainability terms. Furthermore we will be once again measuring our carbon footprint as a company fully in 2024 to establish firm targets going forward. Of course, we can always improve, so in this post we have detailed what we are already doing, what we will be doing in 2024 and future measures we are already planning going forward.

Current Measures

Engine Hours Competition

Since 2019 we have been running an engine hours competition on our flotillas each week, where the boat with the lowest number of hours motoring wins a £50 voucher towards a future holiday. Not only has this lowered the amount of diesel our yachts burn in a week but the sense of competition has allowed guests to recapture their love of sailing and enjoying the quiet of the ocean.

Fishing Nets

Our yachts have been carrying a fishing net for the last couple of years allowing them to pick up and recycle any floating plastic in the sea easily. In 2024 we are expanding this to include all our yachts operating in Greece and Croatia so we can make our own little contribution to keeping the seas we sail in free of plastic.

Reduce & Recycle

When it comes to the everyday items we consume both in the office and resort we have been making great strides with recycling and using less paper and have decided not to publish an annual printed brochure from now on. This will cut down on a lot of paper usage along with the transport miles involved in distributing an item of this nature. On the resort side, on board information is now provided electronically with a QR code or through an app. Along with the usual domestic items, we also recycle engine oil, sails (see shopping bags), chains and recondition reusable parts wherever it is economic and viable to do so.

Beach/Harbour Cleans

Over the last few years, our crews and guests have been undertaking various beach and harbour cleans at our various destinations and we always aim to leavelocations such as beaches we visit for beach parties, cleaner than we find them. One of our most notable recent initiatives was an extensive clean up of the sea bed in Syvota harbour, Lefkas as pictured above. We will be running many more of these type of activitiesin all the areas we operate concentrating heavily on bays that due to local winds and currents always end up accumulating lots of rubbish. The crew will of course be organising these and we invite guests to take part if they would like to, helping to protect the beaches and coves in the beautiful places we visit.

Local Sourcing

As a company, we have always tried to source as much as we can locally to support the local economies of the areas we work in and reduce the need for extensive transport miles. We will continue and expand this over the coming years and we’re always monitoring the suppliers we use.

Electric Outboards

Over the last couple of years, we now offer electric outboards and we will expand this in 2024 ensuring thety are available as an option at every base we operate. We have found them to be much easier to use in a flotilla environment than a petrol one with much easier controls and they are of course far more reliable. Given that they are considerably more expensive than petrol outboards, we will be charging a £50 per week upgrade fee over the next couple of years while we upgrade our entire owned fleet which we aim to achieve by 2025.

Shopping Bags

We’re sure that our guests use reusable shopping bags in their day to day life at home but it isn’t really practical to bring these on holiday so since 2022 we supply flotilla yachts with reusable shopping bags. Some of these have been from recycled sails.

Promoting Best Practice with Anchoring & Respectimng local Wildlife

The lack of mooring buoy provision in many of our destinations means that we very often have to rely on anchoring in some of the prstine bays and coves we visit. If not done carefully, this can have a detrimental effect on marine life on the sea bed. Posidonia sea grass, which is an important natural habitat and a very significant absorber of atmospheric CO2 is particularly vulnerable to this type of damage, For this reason we will be providing info and advice on best practice when anchoring and vulnerable areas to avoid. Our on board information will also advise on recommedations and best practice when encountering marine mamals and wildlife. We will also be working more closely with local environmental organsations and governement agencies on a variety of initiatives including things like reporting marine mamal sightings, notable events, cooperating on staff training and keeping guests informed on these important initiatives

Nikiana Drinking Water & Other Measures

At Nikiana Beach Club, we have provided a filtered water cooler for guests use meaning there is no need to buy bottled water while on holiday. You can bring your own water bottle or we will be selling branded water bottles behind the bar for a sustainable way to stay hydrated while enjoying the activities we offer.

At Nikiana Beach Club we already have a number of sustainable features in the club such as a card system to save electricity in guest bedrooms and our taverna sources a large percentage of ingredients locally along with having a large selection of vegetarian options, which is expanding further in 2024.

Future Measures

Future Travel Arrangements

We understand that travel to resort is currently the biggest source of carbon emissions while on holiday and one that is beyond our control. We have already introduced carbon offsets as an option for guests on our air holidays and aleays purchase offsets for staff air travel. There are on the other hand a number of innovations and projects that might change this in the near future. The first is an expansion of the European sleeper train network (such as Austrian state railways already running to Split in Croatia), along with numerous high-speed electric railway projects throughout the continent would open up sustainable overnight train travel from one side of Europe to the other.

Aviation fuel and engine efficiency and emissions are being steadily improved and we always prefer operators with the most modern aircraft. The other innovation that will alter travel in the near future is Electric powered aeroplanes. These are not yet commercially operating but are poised to begin revenue service in a number of destinations in the near future. These planes will have speeds of around 300kmph (186mph) and ranges of a few hundred kilometres so they are perfect for shorter hops such as domestic flights within the Greek Islands.

Electric Resort Vehicles

Closer to home we will be reducing the emissions from our company vehicles and aim to replace these with fully electric alternatives by 2025.

We are also looking to power our two training boats at Nikiana Beach Club with electric power by the same year. We’ve got a taste for this with our marketing Manager Joe using his own electric moped to get around Lefkas with zero emissions.

Drinking water on yachts

The plastic waste produced due to drinking water is quite high and often the islands don’t have the infrastructure to fully deal with it. There is no plug and play solution to this problem but our team have been trialing different solutions accross our destinations and yachts. This include high grade water filters on yacht galley taps, liaising with local authorities on provising drinking water refill stations in yacht harbours and marinas and provising guests witn info on where local tap water is drinkable.

Beach Club Sustainable Energy

The reduction of the energy use in our beach clubs is very important to us and we are working with the owners of the hotels to produce our own sustainable energy through solar and wind. The first project will be fitting an extensive solar array to Nikiana Beach Club and we are currently looking at how this could work.

Overall we at Seafarer believe that sustainability is incredibly important for the world and for future generations to enjoy sailing in the same stunning places we currently visit. We understand we can’t do everything right now but we will be steadily working towards our ultimate goal of being completely sustainable in what we do and certainly aim to be carbon neutral well within the target dates set by COP28.