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Making A Difference – Six Simple Tips To Reduce Plastic Onboard Private Yacht Charter Vessels

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Drawing of red earth on white background with the saying plastic constitutes 90 per cent of all trash floating in the ocean

 

 

Back in April , we took a look at the problem of trash in luxury yacht charter marinas, and offered suggestions on things we can all do to make a difference in the fight to protect our natural resources and ultimate planetary health.  It’s always reassuring to know that our voice is just one of many, as evidenced by a wonderful article written by Angela Orecchio, a yacht stewardess, and author of the blog Savvy Stewardess.   Angela outlines six ideas that can help reduce plastic onboard yachts.

Much of what Angela suggests is particularly useful for people who own their own boats, and for bareboat yacht charter customers.  Perhaps you’re not a boat owner.  That’s ok – even guests onboard a fully-crewed private luxury yacht charter vessel will find some helpful ideas in Angela’s message.

Here’s a reprint of Angela’s story (with a few comments of our own):

Six simple ways to reduce plastic onboard

“While I care a great deal about the environment, I’m just as guilty as anyone when it comes to buying plastic items for convenience.

Plastic is a major issue for the environment. Ocean Crusaders says there are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic floating in our ocean. It also has this startling fact: 1 million seabirds die from plastic. I also read that we have no idea how long it takes for all of the plastic we consume to fully break down.

Have you heard of the Great Garbage Patch floating in our ocean? It’s heartbreaking, yet there are things each of us can do daily to take care of the health of the planet.

  • RECYCLE

This is the last resort of reducing plastic. But it’s important. Start by talking to the captain about setting up a recycling program that works onboard. Create the specifics of the program and hold a meeting/training about it. Ensure that everyone knows what to do and how important recycling is. Designate one crew member to be in charge of making sure the program is successful.

One way to start recycling is to have a “non-recycle” bin for usual trash, and then one set up for plastic, paper and other recyclables. Designate the removal and proper distribution of the recycling to the watch keeper as part of his/her end-of-night duties.

Double check on how and what to recycle as the yacht travels; it changes from place to place.  If the port or marina where the yacht is docked does not have a recycling bin, first talk to the captain to get permission to meet with the yacht’s agent, DPA or dockmaster. Work with them to help set up a recycling program.

If they cannot help, reach out to the nearest recycling center. Either it can provide a recycling bin or someone there can identify where the nearest one is. If it’s a trip away, then potentially, this can be a bulk run done by one of the crew members when they go out every few days.

  • WATER BOTTLES

A lot of boats still buy cases of bottled water. Ask the engineer how water is filtered on board. If no one is sure if it’s potable, buy a water test kit and check it.  If it’s not drinkable, get an external filter that sits under the sink in the crew mess and/or galley. Work with the engineer on what will work best for the boat.  Reusable plastic water bottles are a better option than one-time-use plastic. Still, they become worn after a short time. I prefer a glass bottle with a rubber sleeve, which prevents the bottle from breaking.

[1-800 Yacht Charters Comment: some bareboats, and almost all luxury yacht charter vessels, have state-of-the-art watermakers onboard, capable of generating hundreds of gallons of clean, fresh water during a charter vacation.  1-800 Yacht Charters offers reusable glass bottles in rubber sleeves to our charter clients, as a way to encourage them to forgo disposable plastic bottles during their vacation.]

Jana Sheeder sitting on the aft couch of a yacht in a marina

Jana Sheeder, President of 1-800 Yacht Charters and 1-800 BAREBOAT with Eco-Hero Reusable Tote Bag

 

 

 

  • SHOPPING BAGS

Many countries no longer give out shopping bags at checkout for free. It is easy to build up a collection of long-lasting shopping bags. Just remember to put them back in the crew car or somewhere they won’t be forgotten. Reusable produce bags are great alternatives to the plastic ones found on the roll in the produce sections.

[1-800 Yacht Charters Comment: at the end of this blog we tell you how you can get a complimentary Eco-Hero tote bag. Read on!]

 

  • FOOD CONTAINERS

Most boats use Tupperware of some kind. This is a fantastic alternative to zip-top bags. Still, Tupperware tends to wear eventually, especially after being stained by food and multiple dishwasher runs. A great alternative to plastic Tupperware is glass or stainless steel. Many companies make durable glass Tupperware with lids that can go in the oven, microwave and dishwasher. While the lids are plastic, the base will last for many years.

  • RESEALABLE BAGS

Avoiding zip-top bags on a yacht can be quite tricky. They are so convenient and they don’t take up much room like rigid food containers. Still, they are plastic. Some alternatives are re-usable sandwich bags, stainless steel or glass containers, and muslin wrap.  If zip-top bags are a must, wash them out and reuse them. Get organized and designate one location for clean-but-used bags for less than sterile needs.

Logo for Skip the Straw and Save a Sea Turtle Project

  • STRAWS

Plastic one-use straws are easy to replace. There are so many alternatives out there, including metal, glass and multi-use plastic or silicone straws.”

 

 

Our thanks to Angela for doing her part to protect our oceans, and for spreading the word – we can all make a difference!

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Are you an Eco-Hero?  Have you got any tips of your own on how you help protect our environment?  Share them with us, and we’ll send you a complimentary “Eco-Hero” reusable tote bag.  Email us at info@1800yachtcharters.com

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Making a Difference: What to do with Old Saddle Pads

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I know what you’re thinking – you’re saying to yourself, “What do horse saddle pads have to do with boats, and private yacht charters, and the ocean?

The truth is, while we love our work and are passionate about sharing the Superyacht Experience with our clients and friends, we also love to spend time away from the water – on a ranch with horses, and pastures, and clean, country air.

Last week, I noticed a stack of old saddle pads in the barn. They were still usable – soft and thick, but starting to fray on the ends.

Rather than pitch them in the trash, we came up with a good idea – a way to “recycle”  the pads and put them to good use.

So, we put washed the pads, tossed them into a couple of reusable, eco-friendly  1-800 Yacht Charter “Eco-tote” bags, and took them to our local animal rescue shelter, PAWS4YOU.   It turns out, saddle pads make a perfect bed for dogs!

The pads are mostly rectangular in shape, and filled with soft, cushiony fabric.  The same thick fabric designed to protect a horse from the impact of a rider and saddle when riding makes a nice “bed”  for a small to medium-sized dog.

Actual dog beds that you buy at a pet store are expensive and beyond the budget of most pet rescue organizations.  It sure felt good when “Bernard” a rescued beagle available for adoption at PAWS4YOU came out to accept our donated saddle pads.  We also had the extra satisfaction of knowing we made a difference on November 13th, World Kindness Day!!!

Bernard the rescued beagle dog and volunteer sit beside bag of donated saddle pads for shelter dogs

 

Our hats are tipped to the many volunteers at PAWS4YOU, and all they do to help shelter and adopt homeless and abused pets in Miami, Florida.

So, the next time you find old towels, blankets, (or, if you ride horses, a saddle pad or three) in your house (or barn), don’t throw them away.  Wash them and find a local animal shelter in your community.  Make a difference and donate them to help the animals!

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Trash in Luxury Yacht Charter Marinas. It’s Simple to Make a Difference.

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sampling of debris picked up on dock in a marina - washer rope bolt fishing line plastic cloth

We took this photo during the Yachts Miami Beach Boat Show.  We were inspecting several private luxury yacht charter vessels docked at the Deep Harbour Island Gardens marina, near downtown Miami.  As we walked along the docks, I noticed our company President, Jana Sheeder, often pausing, bending down, picking up something, and putting it in her “Eco-Hero” tote bag.  I asked Jana what she was picking up, and she paused and poured a few of the contents of her bag onto a locker box on the dock.  “Take a look,” she sighed. “This debris can easily end up in the water where it becomes part of the ocean pollution problem, as well as a threat to birds and marine life.”

 So, I snapped the photo you see above…

THE IMAGE

When I look at this photo, I see beautiful superyachts that serve as a gateway to experience the wonders of our oceans.  I see a segment of the tourism industry – private luxury yacht charter – that generates millions of dollars of revenue annually.  I see a support network of thousands of crewmembers, dockhands, marina workers, and maintenance and repair staff – all supporting their families from a livelihood that is inextricably dependent upon healthy oceans.

For me, the trash in the foreground of the photo is a harsh reminder that the refuse we see floating in marinas and along the seawalls and walkways is a direct threat to the health of our waterways, and therefore, a threat to our own livelihood.

As you read this blog, I can guess what some of you are thinking – “I’m not part of the problem – I would never throw trash in the water.”  Good intention, ladies and gents, but you or someone you know might still be directly responsible for pollution in our waterways.

 

MYTH BUSTING —

It’s a common misconception that most trash comes from people throwing things directly into the water…  

“Believe it or not,  much to the trash in our waterways comes from litter thrown out of cars, litter that blows from surrounding areas into the waterways, illegal dumping, and this item really irks me – cigarettes left on the ground,” says Jana.  “During a big rainstorm, all that junk ends up in the watershed, and some of it eventually makes its way down to the bays, harbors, marinas, beaches, and worse – onto our fragile coral reefs and into the stomachs of marine life (like fish and turtles) and shorebirds.”

 

CLEANUP  EFFORTS

Efforts are underway to rid our waterways of trash.  In Baltimore, Maryland, two (rather cute) trash wheels are pulling debris from the harbor before it flows into Chesapeake Bay. Mr. Trash Wheel (male) and Professor Trash Wheel (female with eyelashes) are solar and hydro-powered trash interceptors in place in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Over a million pounds of trash has been pulled out of the water by Mr. Trash Wheel since it was installed in May 2014 (Professor Trash Wheel was installed in December 2016).

Mr. Trash Wheel in a marina

 

Professor Trash Wheel - with eyelashes

John Kellett (a true ECO-HERO!) invented the trash wheels and tracks the debris collected.  Since May 2014, when Mr Trash Wheel went operational, almost nine million cigarette butts and over 300,000 plastic bags have been collected.   Additionally, Mr. Trash Wheel picks up an average of 14,000 Styrofoam containers a month – second only to cigarettes.

Kellett echoes Jana’s thoughts that the problem starts on shore.  “I thought we were being ambitious with the harbor, but now people are talking about cleaning up the ocean,” Kellett said. “But I think the most effective solution is to get the trash before it gets there.” 


WHAT YOU CAN DO

No matter where you live, you CAN make a difference and help protect our natural resources.  Let’s review some simple steps we can all take:

  • No butts about it!  Are you a smoker, or know someone who is?  Don’t throw your cigarette butts out of your car window or onto the ground.  It takes just a second more to locate an ashtray or garbage receptacle.
  • Say “NO” to single use, disposable plastic products.  Reusable shopping bags are available everywhere!  They’re affordable and many places give them away as promotional items.  Please think twice when your grocer asks you, “paper or plastic?”  Say no thank you to either option, and hand your grocer a reusable bag.  Many stores give discounts (Target and Whole Foods, for example) when you use them, and you can turn your discount around and donate it to charity, through the store!
  • Pick up at least one piece of “someone else’s trash” and properly dispose of it today.  If everyone did this, it would make a HUGE impact and keep trash from finding its way into our waterways and environment.  It’s amazing how many people just don’t care…  (Many people refer to picking up refuse left by others as “karma trash,” or cleaning up poop at dog parks as “karma poops.”  It’s just good KARMA to help the earth and the environment!)
  • Be the change you want to see in the world.  If you have children, lead them by example when they are young and/or are especially eager to learn.  Show them that you refrain from disposable plastic bags… Get them to drink from reusable water bottles and not plastic water bottles.  Take them to the beach and show them the pollution that washes up on the shore and share with them how it harm the birds, creatures, and corals in the sea.   Track down a video of a sea turtle eating a plastic bag (thinking that it is a jellyfish)…or a seabird or sea lion with a plastic six-pack ring around its neck (which can easily eventually kill the animal).  They will follow your lead!

What do I hope will happen?  I look forward to the day that Mr. Trash Wheel and Professor Trash Wheel are forced to take days off because there is no debris for them to clean up!

Jana Sheeder sitting on the aft couch of a yacht in a marina

Jana Sheeder, President of 1-800 Yacht Charters and 1-800 BAREBOAT, with Eco-Hero Reusable Tote Bag

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If you are ready to make a difference, text HERO to 305-720-7245 and we’ll send you an “Eco-Hero” tote bag – just like the ones Jana carries with her and also uses at boat shows.  It’s Jana’s gift to you – from Jana and our team at 1-800 Yacht Charters!

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