Updated: Oct 19
Kuma Too is a self-sustaining sailing yacht. We are part of Project Green Flag, a project that encourages environmental stewardship within the Virgin Islands professional charter industry. Using wind and solar for power and the ability to make fresh water, we have the ability to live off-the-grid. We strive to be a green business and environmentally responsible humans.
Keeping our carbon footprint minimal is a priority on board Kuma Too. Equipped with a 1040-watt solar array and a 400-watt wind generator to charge our (9) 100ah Lithium batteries, we have enough power for all basic systems on board indefinitely. With our recent installation of the lithium batteries, we can run even the most power-hungry systems on Kuma Too without using diesel fuel. Even on land, our primary mode of transportation is on foot. Not only is walking great for our health, we've eliminated 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere each year since 2019.*
We use sustainable food sources as often as possible. Although the Virgin Islands are not the most lush Caribbean Islands, fresh herbs and fruit are supplied from local nurseries and gardens throughout Tortola. We are proud to serve farm raised, organic chicken and seafood from the region.
Although some waste is unavoidable, I keep meticulous records and inventory to ensure very little food goes to waste. At the end of each charter season, items that have outlived their charter life are donated to facilities throughout the BVI to continue their usable lifecycle through one of our Pack for a Purpose partners.
Living on a boat, we naturally focus on minimum water usage. Helping to reduce the strain on island resources, many charter yachts make our own water. To make fresh water, our FCI Aquamiser Plus watermaker takes seawater and uses reverse-osmosis to extract the salt, purify the water then fills two 110-gallon fresh water holding tanks. Before the water comes out of the galley faucet, the water has passed through 5 filters and has been purified down to half a micron, and in our opinion, tastes even better than bottled water. Each passenger is provided with an insulated reusable water bottle to use during their sailing adventure. We believe the easiest way to make a positive impact is by eliminating plastic water bottles.
On a boat everything runs directly into the ocean, so we are especially careful of what we bring on board. White vinegar is our main cleaning agent, but there are many other natural and/or eco-friendly cleaning products that we use. Green Works does wonders for red wine on fiberglass!
Reef-safe sunscreen, toiletries, and personal items are a hot topic for any waterfront community and should be at the top of the packing list for your next vacation. Mineral (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) sunscreen is the only truly reef-safe sunscreen, even though false-advertising leads the consumers to believe "oxybenzone free" is reef-safe. When choosing personal hygiene items, research the list of ingredients to protect yourself and the oceans.
Single-use plastic is the most urgent concern for our oceans. On Kuma Too we have reusable grocery and produce bags, silicone storage bags, and reusable straws. There is no plasticware on board Kuma Too, so if you need a togo cup, we'll provide a souvenir cup from one of the many local establishments. As a positive shift in the industry, most charter boats no longer offer plastic bottled water!
As small business owners, we operate with a fully paperless system. From email communication on the front end, paperless invoices and payments, to electronic Thank You letters on the back end. It seems obvious that our type of business would be paperless, but even client preference sheets are stored and utilized in electronic formats. Our on board task lists, food inventory and provisioning lists, and passage sail logs are all saved on Google Sheets and Docs.
Recycling has always been a challenge in small island nations, but conversations are happing. Recycling is now available in BVI on a small scale with more drop locations planned. We're looking forward to implement more recycling practices in the coming season. Anything we can do to save the fishes and protect the beautiful marine environment!
I only recently learned of the extreme affects of synthetic fabrics to our oceans. Not only do we use a small spinner washer similar to hand-washing (for personal laundry only), we hang dry all of our personal laundry. That in itself limits our environmental impact by using less water and cold water, and we only use green laundry detergent. We have also recently added a few Guppyfriend washing bag to stop as many mircoplastics from fabric as possible from entering our oceans.
When shopping for new fabrics and bedding my head was spinning as I did extensive research on material and manufacturing processes. It's a personal choice when making decisions on these types of items, as there are so many pros and cons; it's impossible to say 'this is the best...'. For example, microfiber compared to cotton: microfiber releases mircroplastics but lasts significantly longer than organic cotton which requires large quantities of insecticides and water to produce that are less likely to be recycled because of their lifecycle.
I am an average consumer trying to do my part to help the environment, and the best I can do is educate myself and make deliberate choices. That is the best any of us can do - just make an effort to be better.
Have an idea for us to be better? Tell us below!
To learn about charters on board Kuma Too, visit www.SailingKumaToo.com.
Until Next Week, Happy Sailing!
*Stat from EPA.gov from August 28, 2023