Cruise Whitsundays has a strong environmental ethic. We believe that the Great Barrier Reef, its marine life and the Whitsundays natural environment are the most important aspects of our operation.
We want to ensure that the reef will be preserved for all to enjoy today, tomorrow and for the future.
Advanced Eco Certified Tour Operator
Cruise Whitsundays has Advanced Eco Certification for Camira Sailing Adventure, Great Barrier Reef Adventures, Reefsleep and Whitehaven Beach Day Cruise. This globally recognised certificate is only given to Australia’s leading and most innovative ecotourism products. We are committed to achieving best practice, using resources wisely, contributing to the conservation of the environment and helping local communities.
We love the Whitsundays, the majestic Great Barrier Reef that lines the coast, the pristine beaches and tropical forests that blanket the islands. We also care deeply for the marine and mammal life that call this area home. We know that it is our responsibility to set a standard for protecting this fragile environment.
We have a partnership with Eco Barge Clean Seas
Below are some of our environmental practices.
Cruise Whitsundays is a proud partner of Eco Barge Clean Seas, a local not for profit environmental organisation that was established in the Whitsundays region to protect our precious marine life and aquatic environment. Eco Barge has a number of initiatives, with many opportunities for volunteers, sponsors and supporters to become involved:
The Whitsunday Marine Debris Removal Program is an on-going program focused on removing harmful marine debris from the islands and coastline to help protect the iconic Whitsunday region.
- The Whitsunday Turtle Rescue Centre was established to care for injured and sick marine turtles and eventually release them back into their natural environment.
We have the following environmental practices for Great Barrier Reef Adventures:
- An environmental awareness staff training program to ensure all staff are well-trained, qualified and competent with regards to issues relating to the environment.
- A policy ensuring all equipment is cleaned using products that do not cause environmental harm.
- Appropriate waste and recycling bins are placed in obvious positions on the pontoon. The waste bins that are used are specially designed for outdoor conditions to prevent accidental flyaway littering.
- All sewage produced on the Pontoon by caretaker and Reefsleep guests is stored in a 1000 litre holding tank. The contents of the holding tank are then transferred to the passenger transfer vessel for approved disposal, as per the vessel Sewage Management Plan and Sea Dumping Permit.
- A desalination unit is installed on Reefworld, which provides fresh water for staff and overnight guests on demand.
- All unnecessary engines are shut down and generators turned off at night.
- No toxic antifoul is applied to fixed structures (pontoons) or vessels.
- Seabirds are discouraged from roosting on pontoon structures and vessels using sound to eliminate excessive guano deposits.
- Vessels approach and depart pontoon area slowly to prevent sediment suspension and reef erosion.
- Excess packaging materials are removed before departing mainland.
- Cultery and crockery is washed instead of disposable.
- Implementation of Drupella and Crown of Thorns Starfish Control Programs to prevent outbreaks at the Reefworld site.
Snorkelling & Diving
- Roped and buoyed areas establishing designated snorkel areas which self adjust to tide.
- Passengers informed on snorkeling techniques to prevent fin damage to the reef.
- Lifeguard and other staff monitor activities to ensure people do not stand on the reef.
- No handling of any marine life by staff or passengers during diving or snorkeling activities No fish feeding while diving or snorkeling.
- SCUBA diving to be conducted in deeper water to prevent fin damage from divers
- Divers briefed on proper diving techniques and rules of the reef.
- Onboard passenger interpretation program (e.g. briefs, presentations, signs and brochures) highlighting best practices and care of the reef.
Marine Fauna Harassment
- A ‘no marine life handling’ policy to be enforced for all activities.
- All staff to be aware of sensitive environment, and best practices to minimise impacts.
- Divers not allowed to wear gloves.
- To follow designated path and remain in water deep enough to ensure safe passage over the reef.
- The designated path is to be determined in consultation with the Ship’s Master, but also to take into account prevailing circumstances and conditions.
- No excessive revving of engine to prevent reef erosion.
What you can do to help
Everyone can do their bit to help protect the Reef, no matter where you live. By reducing your carbon footprint, individuals can help reduce the impact of climate change on the Reef.
Ideas that you can try include:
- Dispose of all rubbish in the bins provided on our vessels;
- Report any sick or injured marine life that you may see to our crew;
- Make a donation to help the work of Eco Barge in the collection tins onboard each of our vessels or online at www.ecobargecleanseas.org.au;
- Volunteer your time to help out on one of Eco Barge’s clean up days;
- Become a supporter/sponsor.
- Reduce, re-use and recycle. Encourage guests on board the vessels to use the recycling bins.
- Switch to ‘green electricity’ produced from renewable source
- Use a carbon footprint calculator
- Use energy efficient lights and turn off lights and electrical devices around your home – at the switch is best
- Heat and cool houses naturally using ventilation and insulation
- Dry clothes the natural way, not in the dryer
- Use less hot water
- Drive less – car pool, use public transport, walk, ride or cycle
- Plant trees – they take up carbon dioxide as they grow
- Purchase wisely – be sure to choose the most climate friendly products
- When booking flights, purchase carbon offsets
- Spread the word!
For more information and ideas on helping the environment, the following may be of interest:
Reef ED has some great videos explaining what causes climate change and what happens.
World Wildlife Fund have a carbon footprint calculator.
Read Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s information on climate change.
Did you know...
Cruise Whitsundays often has a visitor to our reef site, the turtle. Here are some interesting facts about turtles in the Whitsundays:
- Sea Turtles tend to only nest every 2 - 5 years and they return to the beach where they hatched to nest.
- They may travel thousands of kilometres to reach their nesting grounds from their feeding grounds
- Unlike most land turtles, sea turtles can not retract their heads into their shell for safety
- Hatchling gender is determined by sand temperature. Cooler sands mean more males.
- If turtles are disturbed during nesting they will most likely abandon their eggs, so stay away from turtles coming up the beach and avoid making loud noise. If it is dark, please don't shine lights on them!
Did you know...
Whitehaven Beach has almost 100% silica sand, giving it the vivid white colour.
Did you know...
Knuckle Reef Lagoon has more than 200 different types of fish and 150 types of hard and soft coral.
Did you know....
The Great Barrier Reef is the largest living structure on Earth and has existed for millions of years. It has been known to and used
by the Aboriginal Australians for thousands of years and was first discovered by European travellers in the 1700s.
Did you know....
Marine Debris removed from the Whitsunday Islands from 2009 to 2013 = 105,497 kilograms and rising (that’s the equivalent of 15 elephants!)
Did you know....
An Australian study has found 36% of dead turtles were found to have eaten discarded plastic and other 6% due to entanglement in rubbish.
For more information on Eco Barge Clean Seas visit www.ecobargecleanseas.org.au
Cruise Whitsundays Community Support program
Cruise Whitsundays is committed to ‘giving back’ and supporting the community it works within. As such, a comprehensive and generous community sponsorship program is undertaken throughout the year to support activities which have both a community and commercial aspect.
If your charity group, event, fundraiser or community group would like to apply to Cruise Whitsundays for support, here’s how to do it:
1. Download the policy statements and application form. Check your group fits within our preferred categories and complete the form in full.
2. Submit the form along with other supporting documents (eg. Proof you are an authorised representative of your group, background information) to firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Await a response from our team. Please note requests must be lodged AT LEAST one week prior to your event, however the earlier notice the better chance you have of securing our support.
4. If you do not hear from us, then unfortunately we are unable to support your request at this time.
In 2014, Cruise Whitsundays has donated over $100,000 worth of financial and in-kind contributions to local events, charities, fundraisers and community groups. We are proud to have been involved in and to support so many wonderful events and causes!