sustainable yachting trends of 2021

sustainable yachting interiors biophilic design

Sustainable yachting trends for 2021

Firstly, what is ‘sustainable yachting’?

Let’s establish this concept upfront because we recognise there currently exists some confusion in the market about the term sustainable yachting. Currently, the vast majority of green yacht concepts have focused primarily on energy efficiency and what we might term sustainable onboard systems and the structural materials used in construction.

These are without doubt fundamental building blocks of a more sustainable future for the industry and we applaud the work of brands such as Sunreef, Silent Yachts and Vaan, as well as  many others leading the way with eco-friendly catamarans, not to ignore the eco-friendly electric day boats from brands such as Vita.

We expect to the green yacht trend adapted for other yacht formats and sizes over coming years as appreciation for this sustainable yachting concept extends and technological advances in the engine room continue, particularly around hybrid and eventually hydrogen powered engines.

Our contribution in this rapidly expanding niche of the yachting industry however is to advocate for a wider interpretation of the term sustainable yachting to encompass, for example, healthy interior materials used in furniture and fittings, ocean-friendly crew operations, the wider corporate sustainability plans of yachting brands and finally biophilic design strategies with wellness benefits not just onboard but in yacht brand showrooms and offices too.

Corporate Sustainability Plans

We have written separately here about the recent announcement by MB92 refit yard in Barcelona’s 4 million euro commitment to a sustainability plan as well as the Ferretti Group’s extensive sustainability report. Expect this to continue apace as other yachting brands in the sector race to keep up for fear of being left behind. It only takes a few brave souls to start a quiet revolution…

The ‘ratchet effect’ is well known in sustainability, it is very hard for a business to go backwards once it starts off on the path to a greener future and, in the process, this sets of a corollary ‘domino effect’ amongst its competitors too. Good news all around from a sustainable yachting perspective we say!

sustainable yachting interior design

Sustainable yachting interior materials

Why should a yacht’s interior materials not be a sustainable as those used in its construction? Why should we not put as much time and effort into a guest suite fit-out in terms of sustainability as we do into the engine room?

In our sustainable yachting concept design above you’ll see examples of how to integrate sustainable bamboo ceiling panels; an eggshell headboard, pearl shell side tables and mirror frame; Forest Stewardship Council certified wood doors, countertops and wall slats; organic cotton bed linens; handmade coconut fibre & seaweed mattress; natural palm leaf wallpaper; a sand-effect carpet made of upcycled fishing nets yarn; a sustainable rattan sideboard and handblown glass lamps in the shape of a jellyfish. It’s all in the details!

Biophilic design for wellness benefits

Again in the example above we show how a yacht interior can use a circadian lighting system for improved sleep at night; enhanced indoor air quality via high-grade air purification systems; toxin-free materials that do not off-gas over time; seascape playlists for a truly multi-sensory experience; calming fractal patterns that restore concentration, tactile textures and finishes; marine-inspired objets d’art and ocean aromatherapy.

Just some ideas on how to take a sustainable yacht interior refit to the next level.

Circular Economy materials from the ocean

One sustainable yachting theme that especially excites us is the opportunity presented by circular economy materials sourced from the ocean and used in yacht interiors, representing for us possibly the highest level of harmony between yacht and the sea, between owner an ocean, people and planet.

The use of upcycled ocean plastic products such as high-end yarns in indoor and outdoor furniture finishes aboard a yacht has been facilitated thanks to companies such as the Seaqual Initiative in Spain that collaborate between ocean clean-ups around the world and recycling industries to transform marine litter into yarns that manufacturers can in turn use to create sustainable fabrics.

Additionally, we see great potential in marine based bio materials in sustainable yacht interiors, an area we have already started to specialise in. See our article here for more on the role of seaweed, algae and even fish leather byproducts.

sustainable yachting trend onboard fitness

Onboard fitness spaces

We are big believers in staying fit onboard, no matter what size yacht we are dealing with, so whether there is scope to create a temporary gym set-up as shown above with the majority of items kept in storage when not in use, or if limited space means we need to work more with bodyweight training for a functional workout.

The options are in fact far wider than has been truly explored thus far once one moves away from a fixation on treadmills being the base for a yacht gym.

Sustainable Yachting Certification Systems

The first movers in the world of green yachting certifications are now jostling for position as Superyacht Eco Index, the Water Revolution Foundation and RINA bring their respective offers to market.

We will dedicate separate articles to this subject over time but in summary, they are each attempting to bring some degree of structure, rigour and consistency to measuring a yacht’s environmental performance.

This is important for the sustainable yachting sector as it provides opportunities for benchmarking, without which it is impossible to measure progress over time.

The Plastic-free Yacht

Relatively little has been said about the continued role of single-use plastics onboard yachts but we feel it is time to open the debate to a wider audience.

Arguably a crew’s operational policies are driven from above, by the Captain or Owner’s Representative, rather than below, from the First Mate for example, but somewhere between these two we expect to see increasing pressure to follow more environmentally friendly purchasing policies over the next year or two.

The infrastructure already exists to make this switch possible thanks to companies such as Environmental Yacht Services and Hepburn Eco cleaning products that reduce the chemicals used onboard and that are therefore discharged into the ocean during operation. For us, it is about education and spreading awareness within the industry.

Taking ‘sustainable yachting’ to new lengths

Currently we see a lot of activity in the green yacht space with mid-size catamarans and day boats, as referenced above. The Monaco based SEA Index meanwhile has chosen to focus on superyachts in the 40m LOA segment.

There remain large gaps in the sustainable yachting sector in other words that have remained largely untouched thus far meaning there is no shortage of opportunities for further innovation to come.

Again, it is a question of spreading the message and eventually reaching a tipping point at which doing things in an environmentally friendly way becomes the norm rather than the exception.

We do not believe that point has yet been reached but we remain optimistic that it is now well within reach for the entire sector…

Contact us to discuss your sustainable yachting project requirements.


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