Attendance and consciousness both up this year
Captain Ben from Yacht Soterion was an excited participant in this year’s BVI Charter Yacht Society Show at Village Cay Marina, Tortola—not just to display his sleek yacht to visiting brokers, but to fully come on board with green initiatives CYS put in place this year. Ben volunteered to do some pre-show coastal clean up, joining others in removing floating trash; on board, he pointed out aluminum water bottles that are part of the bedside welcome display and described the passive cooling system Soterion has for its water maker. Captain Ben reflects the growing environmental consciousness of sailors today.
What made the annual BVI Charter Yacht Show and Expo a success this year was not only record attendance by 70 yachts and 113 brokers, but the willingness of participants to embrace the program put in place by CYS Director, Janet Oliver with the help of Eco-Green coordinator, Jane Bakewell. Janet saw the effectiveness of the BVI Spring Regatta’s recycling efforts with a program designed by the ocean awareness group, Sailors For the Sea. “I felt even though we are not a regatta our event and Expo does have a large turn out and there are always waste issues to deal with.”
Visiting yachts were emailed in advance about the new green initiatives and asked to arrive with empty holding tanks and not pump out in or near the harbor. Other suggestions included recycling glass bottles and separating trash into designated dockside bins. Crews were encouraged to visit a display of environmentally safe boat cleaning products available at BVI businesses. Aluminum ecosports bottles were placed as a gift in each broker’s bag so reusable bottles could be carried from yacht to yacht for refills, eliminating plastic waste from small water bottles.
To help the society comply with green initiatives, Chris Mancini, Program Director from Sailors For the Sea, flew down from the group’s, Newport Rhode Island base. “I was really pleased to see the spirit of collaboration in the BVI,” he said. “Many people in many different areas are all working together to reduce the impact of waste and promote recycling.”
Mancini visited yachts that had green solutions from the time of manufacture such as Semper Fi, a South African-designed catamaran with solar panels mounted on the bimini hardtop that provide enough electricity to power all their needs while in port.
At the Friday evening Expo, businesses that partner with the yachting community joined in the green movement. A start-up company, Green Technology BVI, provided food vendors with soy-based plates and corn-based plastic ware—all biodegradable. Green VI, a non -profit environmental group, organized the glass recycling bins, while the BVI company Clear Water set up free water stations with pure distilled water.
Brokers visiting from the US and other international locations were excited about the potential market for boats that make an effort to “go green.” Trish Cronan from Ocean Getaways, a US brokerage that arranges luxury yacht charter vacations specializing in corporate groups, explained that the new phrase in the industry is “corporate social responsibility.”
“Companies that charter a fleet of yachts want to offer incentive programs to their guests. When they visit a destination they want to leave something positive behind,” Cronan emphasized.
So what could be new for next year’s Yacht Show? CYS Director Janet Oliver says it can only go up from here. “This year we received the Bronze level certification from Sailors for the Sea, next year we go for the Silver level.” This may include a “Blue Crew” award for the most environmental yacht. Whether the color is green or blue, the CYS Yacht show’s slogan defined their mission this year: “Go green … sail blue.”
By Jane Bakewell, submitted by BVI Charter Yacht Society