It is not unusual to read in these pages about the commissioning of a new superyacht. Nor is it unusual to find stories about new technologies being deployed to combat ocean waste. However, this is the first time we are writing about a superyacht that is being built specifically, not to be the latest and greatest in luxury and opulence, but to contribute to worldwide efforts to clean up our oceans.

People who love the sea usually pride themselves on being good stewards of the environment, and luxury yacht owners are no exception. In fact, when it comes to protecting the environment, yacht owners like to lead by example, finding the right balance of enjoying all yachting has to offer, while still minimizing their yacht’s impact on the environment. One way to do that is to make sure to always properly dispose of your boating waste and recycle whenever possible.

And yet, despite the best efforts of many, garbage and in particular plastics, continues to have a serious negative impact on our oceans.

Have you heard of the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch?”

Ocean currents concentrate plastic in five areas in the world, known as “ocean garbage patches”. Once in these patches, the plastic will not go away by itself, it just accumulates and continues to pose an ongoing threat to the oceans and the entire ecosystem. The largest of these, which is located between Hawaii and California, is known as the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch.” The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is TWICE the size of Texas!

For years scientists have tried to come up with ways to safely break up the patch, with few good answers. The patches, particularly the Great Pacific Patch, are so vast, trying to haul the garbage away by boats, or contain it using conventional nets, have all proved impractical.

However, a Norwegian man who has made his fortune on the sea, is now using his wealth and resources to try to clean it up.  Kjell Inge Røkke is one of Norway’s richest men, worth some $2.6 billion. He made his fortune in the shipping and offshore drilling industries. “The sea has given me great opportunities. I am grateful for that,” Røkke told Aftenposten, Norway’s largest newspaper. “I will give back to the community the bulk of what I have earned.”

The billionaire is doing that by commissioning the construction of what will be the world’s largest superyacht, a 595-footer with a crew of 30. However, this will not be an ocean-going playground for the rich and famous. Instead the “REV” (Research Expedition Vehicle) will be operated by the World Wildlife Fund Norway, and tasked with the goal of removing plastic garbage from our oceans.

 The Mission of the Superyacht REV

According to Røkke, the REV will be loaded up with scientific equipment, which will make her a complete state-of-the-art oceanographic research center. But she will also be equipped with specialized gear that will allow her to serve as a cruising clean-up and disposal platform, literally “vacuuming” up plastic and other garbage from the ocean along her path as she conducts her mission. “On its way, [floating] plastic rubbish will be sucked up and burned on board without a single toxic discharge. The ship will have the capacity to melt five tons of plastic a day. We will also be experimenting [with new ways] to catch plastic right out of the sea,” says Røkke.

According to the billionaire, all of the construction and operating costs of the ship, including the crew’s salaries, will all be paid for out of his own pocket.

Recycling Onboard Your Boat

Until such advanced technologies as the REV can be deployed, and even after they are, it is incumbent that we as responsible yacht owners all do our part, through proper onboard waste management, and recycling.

Improperly disposed of, or unrecycled trash from boats, can easily end up becoming marine debris. Marine debris is any man-made item that ends up as trash in our oceans, lakes, or inland waterways. Marine debris isn’t just ugly, it is a major environmental threat. Debris from marine waste sickens and kills marine animals and birds. It also has a serious negative impact on local economies that rely on tourism and fisheries. While it is true that nearly 80% of the trash that ends up as dangerous marine debris, comes from land, as dedicated stewards of the environment, boaters need to do their part to stem the tide!

Of course, just as on land, paper, cans and bottles, can and should all be recycled when they are ready to be disposed of on your yacht. But, there are also many other marine specific products, that you may not use on land, that can also be recycled, helping to reduce the amount of waste going to landfills and ensuring proper disposal of potentially hazardous materials. Monofilament fishing line for example, is very hazardous to fish and marine life and should be recycled. Check the warning labels of any marine cleaning products or supplies for how they should be properly disposed of or recycled.

If you love the sea, you must enjoy it responsibly!

Operating a motor yacht can be costly. You can reduce your expenses, and avoid costly repairs by keeping her well maintained. On Demand yachting from FYM can help. If you would like to learn more, or if you have any questions or comments about this blog post, do not hesitate to contact our Yacht Management specialists, or call us at (954) 900-9968.