The yachting industry is highlighting how luxury and sustainability can work hand-in-hand

The yachting industry has been aware of the impact on the environment for several years. After all, yachtsmen are the first ones to see how polluted the world’s oceans are, including the impact global warming, plastics, and overfishing is having on marine wildlife and the health of the Earths’ oceans. Relevance – a Monaco based digital marketing agency that works with some of the world’s most prestigious luxury brands – has worked with the yachting industry for more than a decade, and in this time, has witnessed the evolution of the ‘green’ impact companies within the yachting sector wish to have and how luxury and sustainability can work together.

What has emerged in the last decade in the yachting industry is the search for more sustainable materials, recyclable solutions, and innovative technologies, such as solar powered yachts and hybrid engines, as yacht owners and shipbuilders increasingly seek ways to compensate for their yacht carbon footprints. And, there has never been a greater urgency to act now, following the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26) call for immediate action to bring about sustainable change and save planet Earth.

Monaco, as a major spot in the yachting industry is also very active in being an actor of the sustainable transformation of the sector.

Monaco Solar Energy Boat Challenge

Created in 2014, the Solar Energy Boat Challenge is organized with the Monaco Yacht Club, the Union Internationale Motonautique, and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation. This unique competition brings together engineers who not only compete in a race, but also to have the best boat, proving that speed is not taking a backseat because of solar energy. The participants who can only (for the moment) have 5 KW of energy on board are creating their own vessels and challenging it in a race.

The 2022 edition will see a few changes to the rules, including the authorization for hydrogen-powered boats to enter under specific conditions. The challenges are numerous, including fastest boat, manoeuvrability, and slalom. The race attracts lots of sustainable yachting enthusiasts who then realize that speed and solar-powered yachts can go hand-in-hand.

When major events show the ways, attendees see alternatives to what they are already doing without having to carry out extensive research. It makes yachting enthusiasts more aware of green boating initiatives, and how they can help support a greener and more sustainable yachting future.

Sustainable yachts

Technology is not at rest. Yachting engineers and naval architects have over the years developed several ways a yacht can be ‘greener’.

Some shipyards such as Arcadia Yachts have managed to improve and optimise the fuel consumption of their vessels and reduce the use of a generator. Thanks to large solar panels displayed on top of the yacht and batteries which store the energy, the appliances onboard run on the yachts’ self-made power.

In 2015, Piriou Shipyard broke all codes when they released M/Y YERSIN. The 76-meter yacht was a pioneer in combining sustainability and exploration. Built with 95% recyclable materials, with innovative technology for her filters and combustion, she is truly one of a kind. As one of the world’s most eco-friendly yachts, she is a maritime masterpiece dedicated to science and discovery. She has been used for private discovery voyages and chartered for missions led by the prestigious Monaco Explorations Society, an organisation that is dedicated to the protection of corals and the development of marine protected areas, among others.

In 2020, superyacht shipyard Nobiskrug presented M/Y ARTEFACT. The 80-meter eco yacht was designed and built to have minimum impact on the environment. Her solar panels provide a limited autonomy saving on internal combustion engines, while her innovative DC-bus diesel-electric propulsion system developed by ABB lets her hold position without dropping anchor, thus protecting the sensitive seabed. M/Y ARTEFACT’s innovative and alternative sustainable solutions were rewarded with the 2020 World Yacht Trophy Green Yacht of the Year by Yachts France.

On a smaller scale, the new Suncy Concept, a recent innovation that received the 2020 Solar Impulse International Label, was conceived to ensure one can get around on water without disturbing the ecosystems. Silent, with a zero-carbon impact and no smell, the Suncy Concept represents what green boating is all about. The Monaco based company is also engaged in a zero plastic approach.

Laneva Boats also offer an entire electrical powered boat. With only 2.5 hours of charging time, the speedboat has an autonomy of 3 hours. Laneva Boats push the boundaries of green yachting not only with its compact high-performance engines tested in aviation but also with its high-density battery cells with more than 2,000 1C/1C charge cycles. The shipyard also highlights how enjoyable it is to enjoy cruising in impressive silence.

Yacht brokers and crew

With hundreds of yacht brokers selling and chartering yachts, they not only have a key role when trying to satisfy their customers, but they can also communicate on the actions they’re doing and propose sustainable yachting solutions.

Monaco-based Fraser is one of the oldest and largest yacht brokerage houses, and one of Relevance’s longest-standing clients. The leading yacht brokerage is known for their sustainable yachting actions. Fraser’s CEO, Raphael Sauleau, and his team have created the program FUTURE – (Fraser Unites To Universally Respect the Environment) to help ensure that the big blue stays greener.

Some of their sustainable yachting initiatives include some “small” (remember there are no small contributions when it comes to sustainability) contributions like having no single-use plastic in their offices and their Monaco employees have to adhere to this policy, working with environmentally conscious suppliers for provisioning. Additionally, they are a partner of Plastic Oceans International – a global non-profit working to end plastic pollution and foster sustainable communities around the world – and many more. While some other sustainable yachting initiatives are on a much bigger scale – such as being the first yachting company to sign the ecological agreement, the National Energy Transition Pact, with the Monaco Government – they also offset their corporate travel, promote and encourage events such as beach cleaning days, and support Coral Guardians, an organisation working to restore and preserve coral reefs worldwide.

Fraser effortlessly showcases how luxury and sustainability in yachting can go hand-in-hand.

“It is evident nowadays that everyone must preserve our environment. Everyone can do something at their own level and if everyone does it, there is no reason why we cannot change the situation.”

Fraser’s CEO Sauleau

The crew on board yachts have to also do their part. Making sure charter guests don’t throw anything overboard is not their only responsibility.

They source out the least polluting products to keep the yacht clean, and order provisioning food without packaging. To further minimise a ship’s carbon footprint, they also source produce locally.

As they have limited space onboard they are conditioned to a daily zero waste attitude. They of course can also educate their charter guests how to adopt the same routines.

Claire Ferandier’s company ETYC – Environment Training for Yacht Crew – understands the importance of having responsible yacht crew on board yachts. ETYC trains crew so they can live a more sustainable yachting life. The company first audits the yacht crew, to effectively implement practices to protect the environment. It’s crucial that all of the work the architects and the engineers are doing to enable luxury and yachting to go hand in hand is also followed through by a yacht’s crew. ETYC trains crew members regularly at La Belle Classe at the Monaco Yacht Club’s school, enabling environmental challenges to be recognized and solved with sustainable solutions.

Yacht marinas

To ensure that the yachting industry can be as sustainable as possible, marinas also can do their parts.

All new harbours projects have included many of the following as a token of their engagement in green boating:

  • ecycling facilities,
  • disposable dedicated areas for oils, waste waters and non-recyclable materials,
  • electrical self-serve vehicles,
  • cleaner water in the port,
  • the suppression of pesticides on the parks around the ports

Many marinas have joined local associations to organise beach clean up days. Some also belong to larger programs such as European Natura 2000, which has a list of specifications on how the ocean can be preserved including the poseidonia, an algae that feeds many fish species.

The Monaco Marina Management organized on September 20th, 2021, an all day summit Monaco Smart & Sustainable Marina Rendezvous, which regrouped marina managers, innovators, new technology engineers, and investors. Supported by The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, the summit had one goal; to unite many actors of the maritime industry for a “Smart and Green Yachting as an Innovation Driver for a Positive Impact”.

Let’s not miss next year’s edition, which will take place on September 25th to 26th, 2022 in Monaco, for a sustainable yachting ecosystem approach for a positive impact. 

Article: Muriel Penoty – Source: Relevance