Charter goes `green' to help the bay

Yacht takes part in ceremony for eco-friendly marina

August 12, 2007|By Sharahn D. Boykin | Sharahn D. Boykin,Sun reporter

The Clean Marina ceremony held aboard the 96-foot Lady Pintail II yacht on the Severn River was the "swankiest" held in the program's nine-year history, state environmental officials said.

But the china plates, silverware and water goblets set on a table in the air-conditioned cabin were not meant to convey luxury or impress department employees and members of the maritime community on Wednesday. Rather, they are essential parts of its owner's new environmentally friendly charter, "Go Green."

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources held its annual ceremony honoring marinas that voluntarily adopt pollution-prevention measures at the launch of the "green cruise," what officials at Nautical Destinations said is the first in the Baltimore-Annapolis area to offer eco-conscious catering.

Among the six recently certified "Clean Marinas" are two in Anne Arundel County: Annapolis City Marina and the Third Street Marina, both in Eastport.

The "Go Green" charter, which is available on the Annapolis company's Lady Pintaill II, Duchess of Pintail and four other motor- and sailboats, requires operators to use recycled paper products, provide reusable dishes and linens in lieu of disposable items, and make environmental education materials available to guests on board.

"It's a low-key way to educate folks, while they're on the bay," said Donna Murrow, coordinator of the Clean Marina program. "Everybody can do their part. There's a lot of boats and a lot of marinas."

The new charter follows a national trend of requests from businesses and government agencies that are trying to plan meetings and events that do the least damage to the environment.

Sixty-seven percent of meeting professionals considered environmental factors when planning events and conferences, according to a report published this year by IMEX, a company that works with travel, meeting and event planners.

"They're looking outside of the four walls of their meeting and seeing how they can make all aspects of their meeting `green,' " said Shawna McKinley, executive director of the Green Meeting Industry Council.

Nautical Destinations has sailboat and yacht owners sign a pledge that they will engage in environmentally friendly practices such as recycling trash, using nondisposable tableware or using biodegradable cleaners.

"It seems like something important to our clients more and more all the time," said Michael Orders, a captain and marine operations manager for Pintail Yachts who provides the boats used by the charter company.

Orders has worked with Lynne Forsman, 48, a former owner of Nautical Destinations and now a consultant, to beef up recycling efforts on the cruise. Part of the challenge, he said, is finding space for recycling containers that don't look like an eyesore or take up too much space.

Orders and staff from the charter company are trying to work with other tenants at Annapolis City Marina, where the boat is docked, to get recycling containers on site.

Pintail II crew members over the past two weeks have started collecting and separating cardboard and glass items used on the yacht. They drop them off in blue bins at the Rockfish restaurant, which offered to accept items on behalf of small businesses. Orders said getting help with the glass recylables was a coup, because there are so many wine and beer bottles.

"People are willing, but the fact is that it's not easy to do it," said Nancy Lee Galloway, the other Nautical Destinations founding partner who now works as a consultant.

All of the paper goods on the ship are made from recycled materials; crew members recycle paper goods and boxes used to ship supplies. Other measures to be more eco-conscious include frequently changing the oil and recycling batteries and antifreeze, Orders said.

"It's a lot of catering things as well as boat maintenance," Forsman said.

In addition to physical preservation efforts, part of the charter fee is used as a donation to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and passengers have the option of making a contribution to the foundation.

Forsman and Galloway, who call themselves the "naut-y girls," started Nautical Destinations in 1995 and sold it to Pintail Yachts this year. Forsman started working on the eco-charter concept several years ago, but she said, "It was too early. I advertised, but I didn't have too many takers."

Now with the launch of the first green charter, the former partners said the time is right. Galloway credited the recent surge of interest in the environment with the release of An Inconvenient Truth, an Oscar-winning documentary that features Al Gore giving lectures around the country on global warming.

"The whole awareness of things relating to the environment is rising," Forsman said.

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