Barefoot’s Guide to
Sustainable Cruising Best Practices
At Barefoot, we take seriously our responsibility to contribute to sustainability of both the amazing natural ecosystem we enjoy here in the Grenadines, and of the communities whose prosperity depends on that ecosystem. As part of Barefoot’s 30th anniversary year, and BOSS’ 25th anniversary, in 2022 we are launching our Healthy Reefs and Communities Programme.
Part of the Healthy Reefs and Communities Programme is encouraging practical Sustainable Cruising Best Practices on the part of our charter and sailing school clients, and the cruising community in general. We encourage all cruisers to use the 30 practices (organized in 10 topics) discussed in this guide to help ensure the sustainability of marine ecosystems in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, in the Caribbean, and throughout the world.
1. Anchoring and mooring
Objective: Avoid the damage boat anchors can cause to reefs and the sea bottom
1.1 Use a mooring wherever possible
1.2 If anchoring, ensure anchor drops into clear sand, not coral or seagrass
Barefoot is working with local communities to encourage the expansion of safe, inspected mooring fields in all popular anchorages
2. Renewable Energy
Objective: Minimize use of fossil fuels to charge batteries
2.1 Equip boats with solar panels capable of maintaining batteries while running the fridge and/or freezer
2.2 A large ice block will keep things cold if you turn the fridge / freezer off at night
2.3 Ensure all lights are energy efficient LED bulbs
2.4 Use ventilation to keep the boat cool, to minimize use of air conditioning
2.5 Consider incorporating other renewable energy technologies, such as wind power and hydro generation
2.6 Equip boats with energy management and monitoring systems that will ensure batteries are being recharged properly
Barefoot is working with owners of boats in its fleet to address this objective.
3. Black water
Objective: Eliminate discharge of black water in harbours and anchorages
3.1 Most modern cruising boats have a holding tank that can be closed while in a harbour or anchorage. Close the discharge valves prior to arriving in a harbour or anchorage, and discharged by gravity the next time the vessel is more than 3 miles offshore.
Barefoot is working with partners to establish in a water quality monitoring program (part of the Barefoot Healthy Reefs and Communities Program)
4. Grey water
Objective: Minimize risk to ecosystems from greywater discharges
4.1 Relatively few cruising boats have a greywater holding tank. If you have one, control greywater discharges in the same manner as black water
4.2 Use ecosystem-friendly soaps and cleaning products.
Barefoot currently has a research project underway to identify and source ecosystem friendly soaps and cleaning projects for its fleet
5. Minimize plastic use for drinking water
Objective: Eliminate use of plastic bottles for drinking water
5.1 Use water from the boat’s tanks and / or carry large 5 gallon jugs.
5.2 Carry and use a personal water bottle, refillable from the boat’s tanks or jugs
5.3 For long passages, equip the vessel with an efficient desalinator and/or a means to capture rainwater
Barefoot is working to equip all of its boats with a filter that can be used to treat drinking water from tanks and jugs
Objective: Eliminate discharge of inorganic waste into the sea
6.1 Use a stainless or plastic container to accumulate organic waste that can be emptied into the sea when offshore
6.2 Keep organic waste out of the trash bin to prevent odour
6.3 Separate large containers for bottles and cans vs. all other trash. This minimizes use of garbage bags
Barefoot is working to equipment all of its boats with containers for organic waste and recycling
7. Sunscreen and cosmetics
Objective: Use products that don’t damage coral or the marine ecosystem
7.1 Many chemicals used in sunscreen are toxic in the marine environment. Use coral-friendly sunscreen
7.2 Avoid using personal care products that contain plastic microbeads or other chemicals that are toxic to marine organisms
Barefoot is currently undertaking a research program to help clients identify ecosystem-friendly sunscreens and cosmetics
8. Vessel safety, fueling and maintenance
Objective: Minimize discharge of products harmful to the marine ecosystem
8.1 Use ecosystem friendly bottom paint
8.2 Use care when refueling to minimize overflow into the sea
8.3 Avoid discharging engine fluids (fuel, oil, coolant) overboard. Take used engine fluids ashore for recycling.
8.4 Take used batteries back to your home country for recycling, as there is no battery recycling capability at present in SVG
8.5 Switch to electronic flares to avoid the disposal issue with conventional expired flares
Barefoot continues to work with paint manufacturers to identify and test the most ecosystem-friendly bottom paints. Barefoot is also working with partners in SVG to encourage expansion of local recycling capabilities
9. Outboard engines
Objective: Minimize discharge of lubrication oil harmful to the marine ecosystem
9.1 Transition to four stroke engines: older two-stroke engines add oil to the fuel as lubrication. Some of this oil is discharged in the engine exhaust. Four-stroke engines use a different method of lubrication that minimizes discharge.
9.2 Transition to zero-discharge electric outboards
Barefoot is encouraging all its owners to switch to zero-discharge electric outboards, and has become a dealer for ePropulsion, one of the leading global electric outboard brands.
10. Promote economic sustainability for our communities
Objective: Reinforce incentives for residents to protect local ecosystems
10.1 Patronize local vendors
10.2 Try the local foods
10.3 Explore our communities
Barefoot is developing guides to SVG vendors, local foods, and communities