The Important Marine Mammal Areas (IMMA) programme aims to support the restoration of the balance of life in the ocean by identifying the most important marine habitats for marine mammals and prioritising them for conservation actions. We’re taking on a guiding role, connecting the superyacht industry with the scientific community, and are now calling upon the superyacht community to support the IMMA programme to protect the health of the ocean.
Today marks World Ocean Day, a day when the sustainable management of our world’s oceans is in the spotlight. Today also marks the launch of our ocean conservation programme with a crowdfunding campaign for our first endorsed project: the Important Marine Mammal Areas (IMMA) programme.
The IMMA programme aims to support the restoration of the balance of life in the ocean by identifying the most important marine habitats for marine mammals and prioritising them for conservation actions. We’re taking on a guiding role, connecting the superyacht industry with the scientific community, and are now calling upon the superyacht community to support the IMMA programme to protect the health of the ocean.
“The objective of the IMMA programme is to map the world ocean and identify the most important habitats for whales, dolphins and other marine mammals,” said Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara, co-chair of the IUCN Task Force on Marine Mammal Protected Areas. “If we don’t know the most important places where whales, dolphins, seals, manatees live in the ocean, we can’t protect them.” Since marine mammals, particularly whales, play a key role in the health of the ocean and the planet, protecting them is of vital importance.
Whales, dolphins and porpoises are iconic marine species that we now know play important roles in ocean life. Not only is there something of wonder, beauty and awe when we see them out on the ocean, but they are also an important part of how our ocean, and our world, works. When whales reach the end of their lives, their sinking bodies put a huge amount of carbon directly into the deep ocean where it can be locked away. During their daily lives they also fertilize the surface waters where they feed mix the waters, as well as fertilising them, creating healthy habitats for phytoplankton – microscopic organisms responsible for creating as much oxygen and absorbing as much CO2 as all forests and grasslands combined. “Put simply, we need to protect whales to protect the ocean’s ability to negate the effects of climate change. This is a nature-based solution for a healthier planet,” said Vienna Eleuteri, initiator and vice-chair of Water Revolution Foundation.
Our crowdfunding campaign is an opportunity for the superyacht community – companies, professionals, owners and charterers alike – to take on a stewardship role of the oceans. Collectively, we can support the important work of the IMMA programme and help protect our oceans.
This is great! Already over 100 yachting professionals have been trained as sustainability practitioners via our Sustainability in Practice management course.
…And we are still counting! The next course is planned for 27 & 28 May. Join us on the pathway to sustainability.
As participant you will learn about sustainability definitions and key concepts, as well as regulatory trends. The course will also cover how to effectively communicate sustainability and avoid greenwashing, both internally and externally. It covers even how to create a sustainability strategy, measure corporate social impact, and set methods for sustainability reporting. In short, it’s everything you need to know to take sustainability seriously.
Nikos Avlonas, President Center for Sustainability and Excellence (CSE): “We are really excited to celebrate with WRF the first 100+ yachting professionals that educated on Sustainability within the first 16 months of our collaboration.. We are also proud to be able to create a social and environmental impact with our leading global program ” Certified Sustainability Practitioner ” for yachting professionals together with our partners and be a catalyst for change.”
The superyacht industry has been lacking an objective way to judge if and how some yachts and new concepts are indeed better than others when it comes to environmental credentials. Since March 2019 a joint industry project group existing of major shipyards, naval architects and knowledge institutes have been collaborating through Water revolution Foundation to develop the Yacht Environmental Transparency Index (YETI).
Project chair & initiator Bram Jongepier: “I’m very proud of the level of cooperation and sharing of knowledge within the YETI group. This collective effort will lead to a better understanding of how to decrease energy demand, raise system efficiency and ultimately stimulate reducing environmental impact.”
Sharing progress The YETI project group now wishes to share its progress with the yachting community. While YETI is still under development, we inform about our approach, scope, research conducted and decisions made. We welcome and encourage peer-reviewing. Only together and through a pro-active approach we can accelerate sustainability in yachting and future-proof the busines.
Approach & scope YETI is based on Life Cycle Approach. The current scope of YETI is focusing on the operational profile of the yachts, and in particular the energy it uses. This mainly exists of energy for propulsion and hotel. An average operational profile has been compiled that is applicable to all yacht types, from fast motor yachts to sailing yachts. By combining all yachts in one scope, we can truly compare yachts with one another on their environmental credentials.
Sailing profile The YETI test fleet existed of 130 yachts submitted by the participating shipyards. From these yachts a total of 297 years of AIS data was purchased to analyse the yachts’ real behaviour on a yearly basis. Combining this information with the yacht specific data, we determined the average energy used for propulsion, including the correction for the use of sails.
Hotel load Besides the propulsion, an important part of the yachts’ energy use goes into the hotel function. This is however tough nut to crack, as electric load balances are often theoretical calculations and there is very little monitoring data from real hotel loads available. The YETI group is comparing load balances to see what the commonalities are and where there are differences. These variable categories is where bonus points can be gained. Hotel energy can come from generators or shore power, both are incorporated. To determine shore power, a marina survey on availability, a captains’ survey on common practice, and an environmental study into the energy grids of most popular yachting regions have been conducted, to know the amount of shore power used and the environmental impact.
Environmental impact After having determined the average operational profile of the yacht, the emissions can be calculated, and as such the environmental impacts. These impacts are accumulated into a single score: ecopoints.
Functional unit After calculating the ecopoints, and in order to make the comparison between the yachts, it needs a denominator. A verifiable functional unit of luxury is needed, currently the consideration is to select Gross Tonnage, yet other options are being reviewed. Ultimately, the challenge is to provide the same experience to clients, by using less resources. Efforts for using less resources are rewarded in the YETI score.
Call to action More data is needed to re-confirm the determined operational profile. Especially additional data on fast and sailing yachts is welcome increase accuracy. A peer-review group will be compiled to test and verify the developed calculation method.
The foundation is asking captains and marinas to share insight into shore power availability and usage
We are undertaking a research project to understand the availability and usage of shore power in superyacht marinas and help assess the current and future environmental impact of the sector.
To collect data on the topic, two surveys have been created; one to ask captains about their shore power usage and experience, and the other to ask marinas about shore power availability and demand.
“Based on this, we will be able to determine the shore power usage of yachts in our standardised operational profile for our Yacht Assessment Tool and Yacht Environmental Transparency Index (YETI),” explains Robert van Tol, executive director.
“In addition to efforts to reduce the amount of energy needed for on board operations, we also need to look at the source of energy to understand the footprint. Among multiple factors, also the energy mix of local grids plays a role. As a spin-off from our projects, we might be able to inform yacht operators on the geographical differences of grids at common yacht destinations to indicate where it is cleaner to plug into shore power and where it is better to use generators.”
Water Revolution is asking for captains and marina representatives to help with this valuable research and participate in the surveys. To take the captains’ survey, please click here. And to take the marinas’ survey, please click here.
We are working hard on preparing our ocean conservation activities, a programme which will soon be launched under the name Ocean Assist. While this is under development, we have already received support for this new platform. We’re thrilled to share that SOS Yachting is supporting Water Revolution Foundation in the development phase of this new and highly-anticipated activity for the superyacht industry.
“We are very pleased to support the Ocean Assist project. Our choice has not only been driven by the goal behind the development of this platform but also by the fact that Water Revolution Foundation is working hard to make a difference and to educate the industry we are a part of.”
– SOS Yachting Team
Learn more about our vision for ocean conservation here.