The Official Magazine of the Bluewater Cruising Association

Promote Environmentally and Socially Responsible Cruising: Progress Report

Environmentally and Socially Responsible Cruising Working Group

March 27th, 2024


In November 2022, BCA held a strategy session to plan for the future. As a result, a new core value was adopted, and a strategic plan developed. One of the key aspects of the overall strategic plan was to promote environmentally and socially responsible cruising.

This document provides a progress report to BCA members, so you have information on the initial implementation of this aspect of the strategic plan.

New Core Value

Caring: Respecting our environment, the communities we visit, and each other.

Strategic Objective

Undertake systematic efforts to promote greater environmental and social responsibility within BCA.

This objective will be achieved by:

  • Undertaking systematic efforts to promote greater environmental and social responsibility
  • Promoting sustainable and responsible consumption by cruising sailors
  • Reducing the overall climate impact of cruising

In order to implement this strategy, a small working group was formed and has initiated work. This group is composed of Deb Bryant (lead), Marilyn Sanford, Connie Morahan, Don Chandler and Rick Ellis.

An initial step in the implementation of the strategic plan was to develop definitions and an environmental and social responsibility “pledge” that could be adopted by the BCA Board of Directors.


BCA will be recognized as environmental and social leaders among cruising organizations by:

  • Developing, educating, promoting, and leading best cruising practices
  • Seeking ways to reduce our overall climate impact
  • Developing opportunities for members to build their knowledge about the impact sailing and cruising has on the marine environment, climate, and communities, and to build the skills to act
  • Developing our understanding and knowledge about what a changing climate means for the cruising and sailing community, the environment, and the communities we visit
  • Providing a forum to share information on how to adapt our seamanship skills and passage planning.

The background, definitions and pledge were reviewed, and the pledge was formally adopted by the BCA Board of Directors on Feb. 22, 2024


BCA recognizes that the climate crisis is leading to greater climate chaos, environmental destruction and associated social impacts, especially in the warmer waters that sailors love to cruise. All sailors and cruisers, including our members, have a direct role to play in environmental and climate change. We contribute to the climate crisis through cruising activities that release greenhouse gasses, consume resources at an unsustainable level, and fail to safeguard the marine environment. But working together through BCA, we have an opportunity to change our own practices and reduce our impact. We can aspire to be recognized in the cruising community for pursuing our dreams of ocean cruising while demonstrating excellence in our ability to sail clean and green and socially aware.

BCA also recognizes that bluewater cruisers will be faced with significant changes to sailing conditions in the coming years. Unpredictable weather patterns will impact passage planning. Many of the communities we love to visit will be struggling with the impacts of a rapidly changing climate, including heat, drought, flooding, and storm damage. In service to our members and the communities and environments we love, BCA has a responsibility to create opportunities for learning, discussion, information sharing and planning on how to adapt responsibly to these conditions.


What is environmentally responsible cruising?

1. We cruise with an awareness of the climate crisis and the impacts it has on us and on the global community. We take action to reduce the carbon footprint of our boats, cruising activities and cruising lifestyle.
2. We actively increase our knowledge and understanding of the impact that cruising has on the environment. We make it a priority to reduce our own contribution to the unsustainable consumption of resources: to develop and adopt best practices that support a healthy planet
3. We take an active role in observing and reporting environmental damage and in helping to restore environmental health.

What is socially responsible cruising?

1. We cruise with an awareness that most mariners have access to resources and are in positions of some privilege. We have an impact on the individuals, communities, and global systems that we encounter as we cruise, and we can make decisions about whether that impact is positive or negative.
2. We commit to reducing our “overreach” in terms of use of resources, of the expectations we have and impacts we have on communities and environments.

Action Items

The following action items were developed as part of the strategic plan and will be developed and implemented by the working group.

  • Make information and resources on Environmentally and Socially Responsible cruising available to BCA members via the website, articles in Currents and presentations (speakers, fleet, etc.)
  • Review all current and new BCA programs and activities to determine how they can best support environmentally and socially responsible cruising. Watchkeepers to report on progress. Develop an overall report card to monitor and report on the sustainability of BCA activities.
  • Develop Best Practices that will reduce the overall climate and environmental impact of cruising. Provide information and training on these best practices and encourage BCA members to track their carbon and environmental “footprints” and self-report.
  • Provide a mechanism for BCA members (both local and offshore) to report on and share their experience and tips regarding their transition to greater environmentally and socially responsible cruising.
  • Provide a mechanism for offshore members to report on their observed impacts of climate change, how it is impacting cruising, and how they are contributing to the environmental and social well-being of the communities they visit.
  • Encourage BCA members to participate in citizen science projects related to climate change and the environment.

Next Steps

  • Publish a list of potential projects in Currents and request ideas and invite BCA members to join project development and implementation teams.

Ideas and Suggestions

Please send your ideas and suggestions to:


  1. Billy Norrie says:

    TY team ( BCA crew , after guard )
    FANTASTIC endeavour!
    GOY and us
    Billy Norrie

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