Next Step Toward Greener Seas?

20 August 2008 By Kate Lardy

Could the next addition to your duties or your crew be an environmental officer? The SeaKeepers Society is working toward making that a possibility.

Traditionally a platform for charitable owners who want to use their yachts to improve the health of the seas, the non-profit SeaKeepers Society opened its membership ranks to yacht captains and crew last year. To lead the new contingent of concerned crew, SeaKeepers created a Captain’s Advisory Council (CAC).

The council’s immediate focus – their attack, they say – to help yacht crew reduce their yacht’s environmental impact, is to develop a job description for an onboard environmental officer.

According to Capt. Charles Hacker of M/Y Aviva, president of the CAC, an environmental officer could:
• Develop an onboard management plan for recycling. The development of such a plan and coordinating with shoreside facilities for proper disposal is the main thrust of the EO position. This includes researching waste disposal and recycling facilities in future ports of call.
• Deal with regulatory matters such as proper maintenance of the Garbage Record Book and a thorough understanding of MARPOL regulations I (Oil Pollution), IV (Sewage Discharge) and V (Garbage Discharge).
• Research and stock “green” cleaning supplies that can replace present onboard cleaning products.
• Initiate an onboard awareness program pertaining to the marine industry’s impact on the environment.
• Coordinate with shipyard management to restrict the environmental impact your vessel may have during refits and maintenance periods.
• Contribute to an online database of eco-friendly ports that have well organized waste management systems in place.

The CAC is also looking into scientific equipment deployment & recovery, a web-based system that vessels can access and view postings made by the scientific community requesting the service of yachts to deployment or recover small floating instrument pods at various locations around the globe.

In addition, they are seeing if yacht crew can be involved in reef monitoring around the globe to assist international monitoring groups such as Reef Check International. And finally, these tireless environmental champions would like to create an “Ocean Environments” web-based photo community, where crew could share and comment on images of interesting scenes or events relating to all aspects of marine conservation, gathered by SeaKeepers Professionals members throughout their sea travels.

What do you think? Is an environmental officer the way to go? Comment below.

To learn more about SeaKeepers Professionals, check out