Our playground is a World Heritage Site
The Whitsundays and the Great Barrier Reef truly are one of the natural wonders of the world. Dramatic coral reefs, sub tropical forests, a rich cultural history and diverse wildlife have made the Whitsunday Islands their home for thousands of years. Exploring this unique world both above and below the water is an incredible experience. As a leading tourism operator, it is our responsibility to set a standard for protecting this fragile environment. Below are some of our environmental practices.
We are an Advanced Eco Certified Tour Operator
Cruise Whitsundays has Advanced Eco Certification for Camira Sailing Adventure, Great Barrier Reef Adventures, Reefsleep and the Whitehaven Beach Day Cruises. 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. Visit www.ecotourism.org.au for more info.
Our partnership with Eco Barge Clean Seas
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.
Visit www.ecobargecleanseas.org.au for more info.
Our Great Barrier Reef Conservation Efforts
The Great Barrier Reef is such a fragile environment. We implement the following practices for reef conservation at our 'Great Barrier Reef Adventures' site:
- An environmental awareness staff training program to ensure all staff are well-trained, qualified and competent with regards to issues relating to the environment.
- Eco signage is provided in several languages to protect the coral and marine life.
- We include environmental components in the snorkel brief and is also translated into other languages.
- 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 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 provides fresh water.
- All unnecessary engines are shut down and 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 are 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.
- A 'no marine life handling' policy is enforced for all activities.
- All staff are aware of the sensitive environment, and best practices to minimise impacts.
- Divers are not allowed to wear gloves.
- We follow a 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.
Some of our tours include a hike or walking trail, with a Tour Guide. We encourage and educate our guests to conserve the environment for future generations to enjoy.
- When walking through national parks in the Whitsundays stay on the designated walking track.
- Appreciate nature and respect local wildlife
- Always take all rubbish with you
You can 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.
When you're visiting the Great Barrier Reef and Whitsundays:
- 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
- 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.
Ideas that you can try at home include:
- Switch to 'green electricity' produced from a 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.