The industry cannot afford to be overwhelmingly positive given the current state of the environment…
There have been many recent, well publicized and progressive developments in the superyacht industry. The market is undeniably moving in a more sustainable direction; the only possible concern is whether the speed of this transition happens fast enough. The removal of single-use plastics, the invitation of marine biologists on board and the introduction of hydrogen engines are some of the biggest initiatives undertaken. But are we focusing too much attention on the positive environmental and human impacts that our industry perpetuates?
The idea came to me while working on a refurbishment in southern Europe. As a sandblaster got to work on the waterline of a very modern sailboat, aggregates began blowing under the tent. I saw the aggregate being blown by the offshore wind and carried across the nearby Mediterranean Sea. Since it was a weekend, almost no one was in the yard, and so all day the sand was blown into the water of a nearby beach full of tourists.
This begs the question: how often are corners being cut due to fundamental flaws in the way we operate as an industry? Why is this worker doing work, unsupervised, over the weekend? The only conclusion I can draw for this particular scenario is that the arduous deadlines often imposed on huge reclamation projects necessitated such action. Introducing more frequent overhauls, before small issues become big issues, is the kind of big change we need to make sure careless mistakes don’t happen in an industry that prides itself on of the quality of service. But how can we initiate these big changes if we don’t talk about them?
While this is just an anecdote and a single example cannot be used to signify systemic flaws, it does make you wonder how often these incidents go undocumented and unreported. I’m afraid few people would be particularly interested in reading about it, even if it had been reported. Maybe the industry has a positive mindset, and there’s something refreshing about a strong appetite to read about the latest innovative product, nifty new idea, or cutting-edge collaboration, rather than pessimism. which has become the accepted standard for mainstream media. canals. However, ostriching is rarely a harbinger of progress.
I feel like the industry likes to hide behind the illusion of progress, feeding off the storm of press releases that do about enough to let everyone know we’re on the right track . Surely, if we perceived threats to our environment as real danger, we wouldn’t be able to help that primary switch in our brain that yearns for bad news. As any social psychologist would tell you, it’s in our DNA to be aware of the dangers in our surroundings, which is why the news is so depressing. So why is there so little negative news about the environmental impact of the superyacht industry?
By changing our media regime, we can create a greater platform for environmental experts to critique and guide the way to effective change. By allowing organizations with the best expertise to have a larger news space, with the freedom to deliver the harsh realities, we can ensure that we are listening to the right people.
My point is not to say that those who work in the sector are environmentally irresponsible, nor am I using my platform to call out industry leaders how they approach the subject with serious. Instead, what I would like this article to achieve is to get the reader to think objectively about whether we are holding ourselves accountable for the realities of our current situation. By all means, people should be allowed to pat each other on the back and give our associates COVID-friendly punches, but with an awareness of the mountain we’re climbing.
As the industry grows and new ideas develop, it is important to constantly remember that the current state of the environment is more than alarming and that we must constantly look for big changes and big investments. One way to start making big changes is to start discussing big changes, and the media is partly responsible for initiating those discussions. As George Orwell once said, “Journalism is printing what someone else doesn’t want to print, everything else is just public relations”.
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