Two years ago, at the ‘Sustainability in the Marine Industry Conference’ held during METSTRADE week in 2016, Alasdair Reay of HPi Verification Services, presented his vision of an independent environmental performance rating system for yachts.
Alasdair started his presentation with this quote from Walt Disney: ‘The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.’ 22 months later…he has delivered on his vision.
Obviously, a man who believes in backing his vision for healthier oceans with personal energy and commitment, Alasdair actually joined this year’s London to Monaco cycle ride, organised by BLUE Marine Foundation. He was amongst the team of volunteer riders, arriving in time again for this year’s Monaco Yacht Show, having raised an amazing total of £800,000 towards ocean conservation projects over the last 3 years!
Not only that, but Reay was carrying with him the very first Clearwater Rating certificate, all ready to be presented at MYS, to the builders of the Vita 28, an electric-powered, water jet driven classic tender. The boat incorporates design, build and operational parameters that have met the independently audited requirements of the Clearwater Rating scheme, and attained its highest ‘Gold Standard’ level of certification.
Why is it needed?
Described as a completely unbiased rating system, designed to offer owners and boat builders a way of assessing and certifying the environmental impact of boats, yachts and superyachts, Clearwater is the first such system to be offered globally and free of commercial bias.
During Alasdair’s presentation at the METSTRADE 2016, he pointed out that many owners are considering environmental-friendly as one of their important preferences when looking for a new boat.
In recent years, a variety of standards related to environmental compliance have been developed, for instance, those embodied in the EU Recreational Craft Directive. However, the Clearwater Rating goes much further, by independently auditing all systems onboard which impact upon air and water quality, energy consumption, noise pollution, seabed, foreshore, wildlife and global resources.
Also importantly, the financial structuring of the Clearwater scheme is on a non-profit basis, so that undue commercial bias should be avoided in the decision making process. Apart from a basic charge to cover the independent inspections, which is clearly published and based on the size of boat, any additional income will be donated to the BLUE Marine Foundation towards their ocean conservation projects.
How does it work?
The backbone of the system is an online tool called the Clearwater Rating Calculator, not dissimilar to those that are sometimes used for rating consumer products such as electronics, and automobiles for their environmental credentials. The assessment process begins with the builder or owner downloading the Calculator file, which is provided as a fully configured Excel spreadsheet, and for which there is no charge.
Typical items that have to be documented, assessed and audited, in addition to the obvious construction material / engine / generator / propulsion specifications are: Steering, space heating, air-conditioning, refrigeration, galley apparatus, fuel system, black & grey water discharge, antifouling and waste management.
These equipment details will be applied to calculations for exhaust emission, air quality / noise, and their affects on marine biodiversity and water quality.
The resulting completed and audited Clearwater Rating Technical File will indicate the eventual Rating that may be attained from the possibility of seven standards. At the pinnacle is the ‘Gold Standard’ which is only possible for leisure yachts and powered motor vessels at the very cutting edge of the boating industry’s environmental best practice. Then there are three levels of Silver or Bronze certification, depending on how sensitive to the environment the onboard systems and their operations are.
Who is involved?
Alasdair Reay along with two other highly experienced experts in the field of technical compliance say that their joint mission is driven by ‘the love of the sea.’ Alasdair’s project fulfilment partners are Maria Garcia-Donaire, also of HPi Verification Services, and Craig Morris of CE Proof, a specialist consultancy involved in the fields of Recreational Craft Directive (RCD) and CE marking.
They say that they launched the Clearwater Rating out of a shared frustration; that no objective benchmarks existed for evaluating and grading the environmental footprint of superyachts and leisure vessels.
More details about Clearwater Rating here
At METSTRADE 2018, continuing on from its successful launch last year, the E-nnovationLAB promises to provide a vibrant technological showcase for the next generation of electric and hybrid propulsion concepts. The products on display will undoubtedly be of interest to boat builders and owners who are intending to apply for the Clearwater Rating.