How Can Sailing Be Sustainable Travel?

How Can Sailing Be Sustainable Travel?

It has been predicted that by the year 2036, there will be 7.8 billion air passenger journeys per year. This is highly concerning the climate change and environment protection groups, as it would account for around one quarter of the global carbon budget alone. As a response, both consumers and businesses in the tourism industry are looking for more sustainable options for travel.

Sustainable tourism is tourism that involves the use of resources in a way that fulfills economic, social and aesthetic needs while maintaining ecological systems, cultural integrity and biodiversity. In recent years there has been a surge in consumer demand for sustainable tourism, with research suggesting that 70% are more likely to book accommodation knowing that it has been labelled eco-friendly.

It is clear that sustainable tourism is a trend that is here to stay and there are a number of ways in which people are embracing it. For many travelers, carbon offsetting their flights is an attractive option. Others are choosing ‘microcations’ by taking shorter breaks in places a little closer to home.

Another growing travel trend is sailing. Whether it's sailing in a boat to a land-based destination or enjoying an entire trip at sea, sailing has become an attractive option for many environment-conscious travelers and holidaymakers that look for luxury breaks through hiring a yacht at

Take inspiration from climate activist Greta Thunberg, who made headlines when she traveled to the UN Climate Action Summit on a sailing boat. The youngster chose this method of travel in order to limit her use of fossil fuels and prove that long distance transport can be sustainable.

But how will opting for a sailing holiday help the planet?

Boats can harness energy from renewable resources.

When sailing you can survive completely off the grid. Yachts can be powered using the sun’s rays via solar panels and turbines that capture energy from the wind. These sources can generate more than enough power lighting, cooking appliances and a television or laptop for entertainment.

These energy sources allow you to be entirely self-sufficient in terms of energy use for the duration of your trip. Sailing is a more luxurious option than other off grid accommodation like camping and much better for the planet than most hotels and privately rented accommodation.

Wind propelled sailing boats don’t use fuel and are therefore much more environmentally friendly than cruise liners or motorhomes. While a yacht may have a diesel engine to help steer in certain conditions, usage of this can be kept to a minimum.

A sailing holiday can help reduce waste.

Choosing sailing for your trip means that you will need to consider what you can and cannot take on board. There is no rubbish disposal in the sea, therefore you will need to limit taking items with excessive packaging and those made of non-recyclable materials.

There are plenty of ways in which you can reduce the amount of rubbish that needs to be disposed of. For example, using a desalination unit to filter water, rather than buying bottled drinks may be a viable option if you have one on board. Buying food ingredients in bulk will also cut down the amount of single use plastics you will need to throw away.

On a sailing trip you can avoid the waste created by the huge buffets on offer at hotels or the packaged meals on airplanes. A sailing trip is a sustainable travel option providing that you leave no litter behind as this can have serious consequences for marine life.

Catching your own food could be an option if you know what you are doing. Before fishing you will need to be aware of any local restrictions and take precautions to ensure you do not harm endangered or protected species.

Supporting local communities and protecting cultures.

Sailing on a luxury yacht charter opens up a whole world of opportunities. This mode of travel will enable you to reach destinations off the beaten track, away from tourist hotspots and will get you closer to local communities and island life.

Small numbers of sailing travelers can have a wonderful impact on local businesses. Shopping at local stores, eating in small independent restaurants and participating in local activities will benefit these economies. On a small scale, sailing tourists will not displace local people or impact traditional cultures in the same way that mass tourism and popular holiday resorts do.

Be aware of local customs to avoid offending residents, particularly when exploring religious buildings or culturally significant sites. Also, do not take pictures of local people without their permission.

Sailing to hard to reach destinations can provide really unique opportunities to learn about these parts of the world in a way that has minimal impact on the social and physical environment.

Sailing can be a more environmentally and socially sustainable option for a vacation. Providing that you take precautions to prevent littering and respect the places you visit, this type of holiday can be a wonderful way to enjoy the coast.