SUSTAINABILITY

SYC and SUSTAINABILITY

Endeavouring to surpass basic obligations SYC provides education, implements sound practices and collaborates fully, where possible, to promote sustainability.

Actions are taken to reduce our environmental footprint through: reduced consumption of natural resources (water and energy), sourcing and use of local products, responsible waste management, use of environmentally friendly marine products and equipment, and the protection of marine flora and fauna.

SYC understands and acknowledges the importance and value of protecting the marine environment and our coastlines, and is invested in developing actions to halt any environmental pressures arising from the club’s activities.

EDUCATION

February 2018: SYC Public Workshop ‘Sustainable Yachting’

Aimed at local tourism operators, boat builders, fishers, recreational sailors and public officials.

Presented by Epaminondas Banos, Environmental and Chemical Engineer, MSc

Themes:

  • Characterisation of Sustainability Yachting
  • Modern trends
  • Yacht Hygiene
  • Yachting’s social effect
  • Impact of Yachting / Sailing on the marine environment
  • Environmental equipment

June 2019: SYC Public Workshop ‘Water sports with respect for the Environment – Sailors and Sustainability’

Aimed at young local athletes and their families.

Presented by Yianna Pittou, Primary School Educator

The workshop used the tools provided by the Sailors of the Sea initiative.  The focus of this public workshop was a lesson plan entitled “How long till it’s gone?” with activities the students discovered how long it takes for different materials to degrade by putting items (i.e. orange peel, plastic straw) along a timeline and discussing the context for their proper use, in particular when participating in marine sports, and disposal.

KELP are marine science activities that encourage curiosity in kids and help them explore their surroundings. These dynamic and relevant lesson plans address important ocean health issues including plastic pollution, overfishing and climate change. KELP Program aims to inspire love and respect for the ocean. SYC has coordinated with local educators to conduct monthly lessons for all academy students.

ACTION

Accessibility/Equality: Acknowledging that sailing is not always accessible to all, owing to high costs, SYC provided a free multi-level academy sailing programme from its inception in 2014 until 2017 for youth aged 6 to 18. A recent introduction of a heavily subsidized administrative fee was necessary to contribute to running costs; however, where possible sailing equipment, including protective clothing and lifejackets, are provided free of charge.

Sport is about fairness and equality, respect and dignity. SYC believes that everyone should be able to participate in, compete safely and enjoy all aspects of the club’s activities and works to lower any barriers to full access without regard to who they are, whatever their role and whatever their background or ability. This extends to our staff, participants, members, volunteers and supporters.

July 2019: SYC was proud to participate in the “Friends play” psycho-educational program for the development of social skills, body skills as well as self-esteem of young people with Asperger syndrome. Our coaches worked closely with the guides to adapt training so as to provide a safe and comfortable environment for each of the 12 youth and young adult participants to enjoy for most their first time sailing on a sailboat. The club’s newly restored Rhodes 19 boats provided the perfect training experience.  https://www.ducieletdusel.com/loisirs-friendsplay

Health and Wellbeing:

Until 2019 the club’s sporting season was mainly during the summer months. The club has organised informative health workshops to provide the skills for everyone to maintain a healthy body throughout the year. We are offer year round sailing and lessons continuing a commitment to  educating all participants on the importance of healthy choices.

On-site Sustainable actions: By accepting that on-land practices can directly affect the marine environment SYC has implemented a strict no straws policy and works to eliminate the use of small plastic bottles. All athletes are required to bring their own water bottle. A water refilling station is available.

Use of ‘single-use bags’ is actively discouraged. Recycling bins are available at the entrance to the club and are collected by a local recycling organisation.

“Water only washdowns” are enforced and the washing area is in the club grounds, away from the coast, where suitable drainage has been put in place.

 

Equipment restoration and preservation:

SYC was endowed 5 Rhodes 19 sail boats. The boats were used in the late 1960-70s as part of the historic Anargyrios & Korgialenios School of Spetses sailing program; all needed restoring. The Rhodes 19 is a versatile, sturdy, one-design, fixed keel sailboat, great for team training and/or competitive racing for all ages; perfect for novice or experienced sailor, accommodating 3-4 persons. SYC sought to preserve these versatile, maintainable boats with their potential to provide youth and adult sailing at all levels by creating a Rhodes 19 Fleet in Spetses.

In 2019, with generous support from an anonymous donor, two of the boats have been fully restored and a third is due for completion in 2020. The decision to restore these boats, at a possibly higher cost than purchasing similar modern boats, was taken within the context of choosing to preserve their history and provide responsible, sustainable use of the club’s equipment.

Support boats: responsible service of support boats engines to ensure they are in good working order and care when refueling to avoid spills.

 

On-the-water Sustainable actions: Strict checks that all equipment, bottles, etc. used on the water are retrieved and returned at the end of use, including buoys, ropes, chains, etc.

Active marine pollution reduction by collecting any marine debris where possible by athletes and coaches.

 

Sustainable Sporting Events: SYC activities aim to benefit the community as a whole by providing regular sporting events, such as the 1st Greek National Bug Sailing Championship (2015) and the now annual Armata Cup Regatta.

The event was registered with the Sailors for the Sea Clean Regatta initiative, known as the world’s only sustainability certification for water-based events. Best practice guides were provided and followed. By registering this event, a clear and comprehensive assessment tool now exists to monitor SYC events’ sustainability as well as our everyday activities.

 

GOLD LEVEL Clean Regatta Certification for the Armata Cup Regatta, Spetses, Greece held 31 August – 1 September 2019

2019 Armata Cup Youth Regatta sustainable actions included:

  • A ‘Green Team’ of key volunteers was appointed to coordinate and monitor sustainable practices.
  • Information provided to all participants and support about the Sailors for the Seas initiative and the best practices they should use.
  • Paperless Regatta Management with all electronic registration and results projected on to a large screen for participants see and distributed electronically. No boat stickers were used. Limited number of advertising posters were placed in strategic places on the island only. All other marketing was done through use of social media/electronically.
  • Water Bottle Reduction: All participants (athletes, volunteers and supporters) were asked to bring and use re-usable water bottles. All evening events provided paper cups for water next to a water cooler/refilling station. Comparing use of small (0.5l) water bottles from 2018 t0 2019: the 2018 regatta purchased and consumed 500 small bottles (on-water provision to athletes and support crew, social events and ceremonies); in 2019 200 bottles were purchased and 120 remained in stock after the regatta; an 84% reduction.
  • ‘Refilling Stations’ (using 5l bottles) were provided at the club and at all event locations.
  • Good Waste Management: additional recycling bins were provided. Food scraps were put in separate bins and given to a local farmer where we understand they were used to feed the chickens. Remaining food was donated to the local health clinic for distribution to local senior citizens, patients and families.
  • Sustainable Food Options: For the two main social events during the regatta the food was provided by local volunteers (home-made) and local restaurants. Where possible local produce was used (upon request by the regatta organisers). For example, the final awards ceremony was catered by a local hotel and they provided home-made lemonade using locally grown lemons and herbs.
  • Responsible Dinnerware: for the two main social events during the regatta the food was provided by local volunteers (home-made) and local restaurants. Upon request by the SYC most of the food was provided in crockery or metal serving dishes i.e. not disposable packaging. With limited facilities on-site it was decided to use disposable plates and utensils for the two main regatta social events. Paper plates and cups were provided and bamboo knives and forks.
  • Eliminate Single-use bags: all official use of ‘single-use bags’ was eliminated. Traditionally plastic bags were used for the lunch provided for all participants (athletes and organisers). This year they were provided in material re-usable bags. The bags were returned at the end of each day for cleaning. Fruit was provided by the local supermarket and delivered in a recyclable cardboard box for the bananas and a shopping cart (to be returned) for the nectarines. Muesli/Oat snack bars were ordered from a local bakery wrapped in paper – traditionally they are sold in individual plastic wrapping so our order helped to also raise awareness of alternative packaging. Sandwiches were bulk wrapped in paper for boats with multiple crew and paper was used when individual wrapping was necessary for the athletes’ bags.
  • Toxic-free Cleaning: “water only washdowns” (“WOW!”) at the end of racing were strictly enforced.
  • Wildlife and habitat protection: participants were reminded of the need to respect marine and shore wildlife. No negative incidents were reported.

 

COLLABORATION

‘Spetses Plastic Detox’ is spearheaded by SYC and is a community program aimed at local participation and education on protecting the marine environment and tackling the problems of plastic pollution.

 

Link: https://www.facebook.com/Love-Spetses-Plastic-Detox-384258758442842/

Working closely with key figures in the Spetses community, local education institutions, enterprises and organisations this campaign aims to stimulate the principle and value of taking pride in the place we call home and exploring how to do this through environmental actions.

Global problems with Local Solutions!

  • Annual Coastal Cleanups Events, Spetses 2015-2019: coastal land rubbish collection by dedicated volunteers; underwater cleaning with volunteer divers and snorkelers. Clearing of ghost nets with experienced divers.

 

Awareness Creation:

  • Saint Mamas Festival Ecological Model Boat Building Completion:

Each year on the 2nd of September in Spetses at the chapel built in honour of Saint Mamas, children of all ages leave boats in the water with lit candles in honor of the Saint. The environmental impact of this tradition has become increasingly negative with the use of plastic, polystyrene and other toxic materials to make the boats.

Spetses Plastic Detox provides guidelines on ways to make ecologically friendly boats for the celebration. Prizes have been offered and in 2019 lottery tickets were given when boats were judged.  This activity provides a positive way to impact public knowledge on marine pollution prevention.

  • Use of Social Media to promote science based information about environment preservation and celebrate individual contributions e.g. posts when individuals make the effort to collect coastal rubbish.
  • May 2019: Cinema theatre screening of documentary relating to conservation and pollution and awareness presentation from the iSea organisation. iSea is an Environmental Organisation based in Thessaloniki, Greece. iSea aims to preserve aquatic habitats, including the flora and fauna, which inhabit them, through research, raising awareness and the promotion of conservation policies.

 

 

Oil Spill Prevention Taskforce

2020: The Spetses Municipality Port Authority Association, Hellenic Coast Guard, Spetses Volunteer Fire Brigade and SYC work together to establish a trained prevention and reactive taskforce.

SYC was recently represented at an education workshop held by the local Spetses Municipality Port Authority Association. The course run by certified professional provided practical and theoretical lessons on how to firstly prevent pollution from gas/petrol and also became part of the volunteer task force charged with containing and clean-up of any spills.

Oil spill pollution prevention equipment is stored at the SYC clubhouse by request of the Spetses Municipality Port Authority, including oil spill absorbent booms and pads. SYC is ready to collaborate with leading authorities in the case of an oil spill or similar environmental pollution incidents.