Fri 17th November 2017
The RibRide team are delighted to have won the Green Award at last nights Go North Wales Tourism Awards
The award recognises the innovative ways that the team have used to raise the profile of the green agenda and enhance the visitor experience. The headline to this effort is our gaining Blue Flag Status as a Sustainable Boat Operator. Not only are we the first in the UK to receive this, we are one of only twelve in the world to be recognised. Skipper Alun was tasked with this monumental task of compliance. Alun faced eight months of reorganisation, retraining and documentation (electronic, of course).
Here are a few examples of how we now work:
Head Skipper Charles has diligently maintained our growing fleet. We have no engine bilges on our boats. Bilges capture all liquids at the lowest point of the boat but unfortunately those that also house machinery are renowned for also capturing oil and fuel and then allowing these to be pumped into the sea. Our decks drain off rain and seawater naturally while all oils and fuels are captive within the engines and tanks.
Charles and team service these engines every 100 hours (that is just 14 days for a busy boat) in the bunded area of our yard (the bund stopping any liquid in the unlikely event of a spill). Oils and fluids are removed by vacuum and immediately pumped into our recycling containers. These and other service by-products are then professionally recycled. The team joke that they would confidently lick an engine Charles had just finished working on, so clean is his process.
RibRide Skippers have been challenged with persistent fuel monitoring and have to adhere to a rigorous inspection and reporting process. Our Menai Strait RIBs are removed from the water every day and hand washed bow to stern (with specially sourced bio cleaners, of course!). Not only does this give us a boat that remains shiny and ‘new’ for our customers, this forces the skippers to give every inch of their vessel a once over before the next days work.
Bear in mind that if this seems over the top a boat left in the water has to be covered in a powdery biocide paint known as Antifouling. This is generally a water soluble chemical release system that kills any organism trying to get a foothold on the hull of the boat. Some used in the world are so bad they have been proved to lead to birth defects and mutations in marine life.
Skippers have also been trained in responsible interaction with the environment in which we work. We do our best to keep a low profile around marine life, our engines are near silent at idle and we try not to make sudden movements if we do find ourselves in close quarters.
The office team are adopting an increasingly paperless environment. We are converting all record keeping to electronic, and apps like Papertrail keep us up to date with the life, usage and service schedules of all our kit rather than a shelf full of files. We have pulled back from printed advertising (as much as is possible for a growing business) and we have a firm plan regarding phasing out promotional leaflets. Each day we take it in turn to create a sit down lunch for the rest of the team. This not only boosts morale but also means we can eat more healthily with no sandwich packets etc chucked in the bin.
These are just some of the steps we have taken. We are not perfect but then again we didn’t get these accolades for being perfect. We got them for listening, learning, understanding and constantly improving.
Running boats that burn petrol, driving Land Rovers, doing the occasional ‘donuts’, using some paper, chemicals and non-recyclable items. There are necessary evils but we are chasing technologies that will help.
RibRide continue discussions with a Finnish company challenged with producing us an all electric RIB, technology that reaches all the way to Tesla’s Elon Musk. We are working with the best boat designers to create a more efficient hull and the most advanced yards to build them. We continue to investigate the latest in super efficient hydrofoil technology like that seen on sailing boats achieving speeds nearly three times that of the wind. There’s a long way to go before we can make this all knit together but at RibRide we think we have every reason to give it our best try.
PS though not such a necessity of evils, our customers would definitely miss the donuts.
Read more about the Blue Flag for sustainable boat tour operators https://www.keepwalestidy.cymru/blue-flag-boat-tour-operators.
Pictures from the awards night are available to view online at GoNorthWalesTourismAwards.co.uk/awards-night/.