Discover clean-tech yachting expeditions

Published 01 May 2024

From hybrid propulsion and carbon offsetting practices to yachts designed to use less fuel, the future of yachting is looking cleaner than ever. For the environmentally conscious among us, there’s an enormous interest in sustainable yachting. The positive news is, as superyachts become more eco-friendly, so too does their operation, ensuring a more sustainable charter voyage that you can feel good about.  

What does clean tech have to do with yachting?  

Clean tech is simply any service or technology that works towards improving environmental sustainability. And when it comes to yachting, clean tech is being used to innovate the way yachts are designed, built, and operated. All of this innovation trickles down to the end users — the yacht owners and charterers — helping to create an eco-friendlier yachting experience.  

How is the future of yachting shaping up to be more sustainable?

From the very earliest design stages, yacht owners and builders have been thinking about how to make a yacht more eco-conscious. This is a marked change from decades ago. When a new build begins today, hybrid propulsion, solar power and the use of eco-friendly materials are all up for discussion at the shipyard.

Yachting is also undergoing a sea change when it comes how yachts can operate more efficiently and cut emissions, and many of the solutions for this can be made retroactively to the existing fleet — such as having a yacht use recycled hydrogenated vegetable oil for fuel instead of standard diesel.  

Incorporating solar panels into a yacht's design aids the generation of electricity 

Sustainability in yachting also shows up in seemingly smaller, yet just as impactful ways. Many yachts now offer guests reusable water bottles to use during a trip, versus relying on wasteful plastic bottles. Yacht crew can also opt to use non-toxic laundry detergents and supply guests with ocean-friendly sunscreens to use on board that won’t damage delicate coral reefs.  

Eco-friendly yacht design

Designing a more eco-friendly yacht can be seen inside and out on today’s superyachts. Exterior designers might opt for faux teak decking that doesn’t carry the same issues of un-sustainability and illegal harvesting practices that can crop up with standard teak wood. The alternative deck materials offered today can be just as aesthetically pleasing as the real thing while being even more durable and require less maintenance. Meanwhile, interior designers are suggesting greener options for the decor of the yacht, such as composite stones and bamboo textiles.  

Tinted glass helps to keep areas cool, reducing the use of air conditioners 

Yacht builders are also opting to use specially tinted glass on a yacht’s exterior, so air conditioners don’t have to work overtime. Yet some of the biggest gains in eco-friendly yacht design reside below the waterline. With CFD analysis and tank testing, naval architects can optimise a yacht’s hull to move through the water as efficiently as possible. This reduces drag, which in turn leads to the yacht having to use less fuel. 

Renewable energy sources

There are myriad options for yachts today to use hybrid propulsion systems that utilise two or more power sources. This means yachts don’t have to rely simply on burning fossil fuels alone. Electric hybrid propulsion is a popular choice, coupling diesel engines to electric motors. Not only does this allow a yacht to greatly reduce its emissions and have a much smaller impact on the environment, but it can afford a nearly silent, low-vibration operation, making cruising much more comfortable for charter guests on board.

With multiple marinas installing charging points, electric hybrid propulsion is the way forward 

Renewable energy extends beyond the engine room. By outfitting a yacht with solar panels, energy collected from the sun can be stored in battery banks and used to power a yacht’s hotel load. This might negate the need to run generators at night, so the yacht is more peaceful while guests' slumber. Yachts can also glean power from the oceans that they cruise through — hydrogeneration, for instance, is being used on some new sailing superyachts. With the yacht under sail, the water spins the propellers generating power to be stored in batteries for later use.  

Waste reduction and recycling

Cutting down on waste on board has become a priority for yachts and their crew. From providing guests with reusable water bottles instead of single-use plastic to using refillable toiletries in the en suite bathrooms, there is a definite effort being made to reduce waste throughout the charter. Instead of sipping on a plastic straw, for instance, metal or bamboo straws might be slipped into a drink at cocktail hour, and yacht chefs are looking at how they can minimise food waste.  

Reusable silicone straws, bamboo toothbrushes, reef-safe sunscreen, reusable water bottles, it all makes a difference

When it comes to recycling, there’s an uptick in marinas and harbours offering recycling facilities for visiting yachts. Recycling also stretches to the yacht itself. When considering the lifecycle of a yacht, designers and builders can think about how elements of a yacht can be recycled and safely disposed of in the future — thus future-proofing a yacht’s eco-friendly attributes from the start.  

Sustainable itineraries

A charter yacht can take you to some of the most pristine cruising grounds in the world. And in order to keep them this way, there are often guidelines in place concerning emissions and where you can anchor. In order to visit protected areas without damaging fragile reefs or seagrass, yachts can install a dynamic positioning system (DPS). By using a DPS, the yacht can safely hover over protected areas without doing any damage by dropping the anchor.  

The use of DPS allows yachts to 'anchor' virtually over seagrass and marine life without disturbance

Clean tech on yacht can help a vessel to reduce its environmental impact while cruising in protected areas, but a sustainable yacht itinerary isn’t just about reducing an impact of the environment. Where you go, how you get there, the pace at which you travel, and the ways you interact with wildlife and support the local communities that you visit, are all part of planning a sustainable travel itinerary. And what better form of ‘slow travel’ than a sailing yacht to get you from port-to-port utilising wind power?  

Carbon offsetting and environmental certification

While yacht builders are endeavoring to build boats that operate more efficiently and reduce emissions, it’s hard to completely avoid using any fuel — at least for now. But carbon offsetting can be a wise way to mitigate adding to the rise in greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon offsetting can allow charter guests to compensate for the emission of carbon dioxide based on their travels. This might include any emissions from the yacht itself, as well as the flights or car journeys that will take you quayside.  

Invest in conservation projects to improve the health of our oceans

Quantifiable emissions are able to be paid off by supporting projects that work to reduce or remove carbon from the atmosphere. It’s a proactive measure to cancel out any environmental impact, and it helps to bring an awareness to climate change overall. Burgess, for instance, offsets its corporate travel, and works closely with the Blue Marine Foundation to protect and restore the world’s oceans.  

Yachts can also apply for an environmental certification, such as the RINA Green Plus Yacht Certification. This notation not only looks at a yachts carbon emissions and environmental impact. Its awarded to new yachts that employ design solutions and operational procedures that improve environmental performance.  

Find out more about the sustainable future of yachting with Burgess. Enquire now.

To find out more about Burgess’ yachts for sale and yachts for charter, please contact a Burgess broker. Alternatively, get in touch with one of our offices directly: London, Monaco, New York, Miami, Singapore or all other locations.

Yachts, prices and availability are correct at the time of publication.

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