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What can you do? The 7 R’s: Rethink-Refuse-Reduce-Re-choose-Repair-Reuse-Recycle

Rethink—Refuse—Reduce—Re-choose—Repair-Reuse-Recycle

Rethink

“We are living in an interminable succession of absurdities imposed by the myopic logic

of short-term thinking.” — Jacques Yves Cousteau

People often say ‘you are what you eat.’ I can certainly resonate with that. But it’s not just that. You are also what you buy, use, put, wrap, and present yourself with. Making a difference and living sustainably is not just about having solar panels on the boat or roof (although that is a great investment to reduce reliance on fossil fuel!). Responsible living is about how you think, buy, plan and prepare, and where. Whether you go around the world or to the market around the corner, thinking ahead helps. Start questioning where things come from, how it has been made, and by who? Where do things go after we throw it ‘away’? By making a shift in our thinking, and putting our inspector hat on, we can better engineer our lives to reduce our environmental impact. The most fun and effective way to make a change is by finding out yourself. Sailing will give you that pause, to think, reflect, and plan for the way forward. Here is some food for thought.

Rethink shopping

Who do you give your money to? Do you help Mr. Supermarket CEO finance his second boat or are you bringing benefits directly to a family by shopping locally? Help to shorten the supply chain, which reduces transportation energy cost, use of packaging, and increases nutritional value, and benefits for those down at the bottom. Support the small entrepreneurs and go against mass consumerism. We live in a demand-driven society. Help the good brands, those without lobbying power and big advertisement budgets, to climb the ladder. Support the local coconut art and straw hats in the Caribbean. This is art that doesn’t harm the environment. As opposed to jewelry made from turtles, corals or sharks. Besides, do you need to go shopping at all? If so, do you need to buy new clothes, gadgets and gear? Take over second-hand, borrow from the neighbour, save resources and things from the trash pile.

Rethink food

“We live on a planet where pigs eat more fish than sharks and where the domestic house cat eats more fish than all of the seal in the North Atlantic Ocean.”

— Captain Paul Watson

Where does your food come from? Do you know its source? The source is not the supermarket. It’s the soil and the water that determines the quality of the food. Rethink food recommendations. Who sponsors the food advice you’re reading? Is there maybe a financial gain involved? Do you know what’s in your processed food? Would your grandma say it’s food? Consider and explore alternatives for the sake of your own and the planet’s health.

Rethink waste

How much waste do you generate each week? What is it? Food, packaging, paper? How much of that could you refuse, reduce, reuse or recycle? We all still use plastic bags, but not because we want them. We know it’s not the way to go by now. We simply forget to bring reusable bags in the first place. Before you purchase something packaged in plastic, consider if you need it. If there’s a different option, choose the one where you can reuse the packaging and don’t have to toss it away. For example, take a toothbrush. With let’s say eight toothbrushes per year, in a life of 30 years brushing my teeth I have thrown ‘away’ 240 toothbrushes (as well as the plastic wrappers they are packed in)! And that’s just me! I can circle an ocean-worthy boat with that! Be creative and inventive. See what you can reuse, borrow, swap, buy second-hand or make yourself. Every piece of plastic ever made is still out there in some form. If you throw plastic away, there is no ‘away.’ We all have a desire for convenience. We organise a BBQ and can just throw the dishes away. It may save a few minutes of your time. But the effects of it cost us greatly. We do take-away but what do we do with the (often styrofoam) box it’s delivered in? We order online and have another plastic taped box. We opt for one-time usage products like tampons, diapers, straws, bags and bottles because it’s convenient, or the advertisement has made us believe it’s convenient. We don’t even know what’s the alternative because we accept things as they come. Our system makes it difficult to make sustainable choices because money drives our society. Think about the journey things make before it arrives into your hands. What choices can you make to reduce the number and impact of those journeys? Not only plastic items make their impact. Glass, metals, wood, coal are also resources used to produce things. What can you do to reduce energy demands?

just wash the spoon

Credits: Adbusters

Another big waste is food. In the western world, an estimated one-third of the food we buy, we throw away. What a waste. How can we plan smarter than that? Here’s something fun to try: Aim to continue seeing the bottom of the garbage bin (put the organics separately if you don’t do so yet). How long can you manage?

Toogoodtogo is a cool app where you can pick up food at the end of the day before they throw it away.

Rethink the past

Before the 1960s the world was doing fine without plastics. There simply was no such thing as a plastic bag, diaper or shoe. Since then, it has found its way into every corner of our society. We have to think about alternatives that work. And support those accordingly. Think, what would your grandmother do?

Rethink advertising

‘Eco,’ ‘sustainable’, ‘organic’ or ‘green’ have become fashion words. In most countries, anyone can put that on there, and it can legitimately be sold. Question advertising messages. These messages are created for the purpose of selling, not saving the planet. Certifications are a step in the right direction but don’t just take certified products for granted either. When a brand is a certified B-Corporation, it’s using business as a force for social, environmental, and economic good, which is a positive step forward. Nevertheless, read labels, read stories, and ask questions. Advertisers are smart, and they know how to find you at the right spot.

Rethink the investment

Sometimes organic is more expensive. Realise that it’s only expensive in the short term. In the long run, it will be healthier for you, our children, and the planet because the soil is preserved and not damaged with harmful pesticides, herbicides and insecticides for the sake of volume and price. As much as you and I may live on a budget, cheaper is not always better. By supporting organic producers, we keep them in business, enabling them to bring more purity to the consumer and keep our soils healthy for the future. Also fun, invest in some seeds and basic materials and start growing food and making cosmetics yourself!

Rethink on what matters

For whom are you doing what you’re doing? And why? What are the consequences of what you eat/drink/buy/do/plan for/work for, for the next ten minutes, ten months, ten years and 100 years? What impact do those actions make on yourself, our children, and the world as a whole? Instead of spending money, time and effort in keeping consumerism going, what can you do at the core? Work harder to earn more money so that you can buy organic (which unfortunately is often more expensive)? Or instead, use your time creating solutions and advocate to ban harmful practices, subsidize organic farmers to make it less expensive? Money, fun and ‘owning’ stuff are all temporary. Our impact will last beyond our lifetimes, so we better make it a good one!

“The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with

which we created them. — Albert Einstein

Thoughts become actions. What can you do?

Refuse

An easy action we can take is to refuse single-use plastic. This is plastic that is used one time only. The most troublesome part of the plastic challenge is the magnitude of plastics we only use for a few minutes to eat, carry stuff, and take away. These single-use items have an average life span of 15 minutes and then are thrown ‘away.’ Only there is no such thing as ‘away.’ Where’s away? Eventually the ocean. 50% of the plastic problem in the ocean is disposable plastic like plastic bags, water bottles, takeaway containers, cups and straws. This is a relatively easy problem to tackle. We don’t need single-use plastic. Pro-actively say NO. With your drink order, ask for no straw. Show up with your reusable straw. Refuse to accept a plastic or paper cup at the coffee machine or water cooler. With your shopping, say no to the plastic bag. Stay, don’t take away; have your coffee or lunch on the spot. You can save a plastic item and have a nice chat! Refusal is easier in some countries than others—especially in developing countries you need to be equipped to be able to refuse. Be prepared and bring your reusable items.

Refuse to buy cosmetics with plastic ingredients. Common ingredients are polyethene and polypropylene, polyethene terephthalate (PET), polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), and nylon (PA)—and dozens more complicated plastic names are out there. These words are impossible to remember. Thankfully there is a great app to help. Use “Beat the Microbead”, to check if your mascara, shower gel, toothpaste or sunscreen use plastic ingredients. Learn more at BeattheMicrobead.com.

Refuse to accept that ‘it’s just the way it is’—it may used to be. Now we know more, have developed more, it doesn’t have to be.

Refuse to eat fish that are overexploited or endangered and explain why to the vendor or restaurant owner. Shark, whale, and bluefin tuna are still commonly found on the menu. 

Re-choose

Our greatest and most exciting individual power: the power of choice! To a large degree, we can choose what to eat, drink, wear, believe, say, do, create, and buy. We can choose with whom to play, talk, sail, date, marry. Each choice comes with its consequences, good or bad. With an abundance of options in everything these days it’s sometimes hard to choose, isn’t it? Do your best with whatever choice you make it’s a good one for you and the ocean! Not sure what the best option is? Explore, discover, learn, and then choose.

Repair

Fix things. Develop your handyman skills and try to fix whatever it is that broke. Or if it’s out of your league look for a handy man near you. Join the fixing process so next time you can do it yourself. Lots of spare parts available on the second-hand market places.

Reduce

To be 100% is super tough (for now!), but we can drastically reduce our usage. A few ideas to get you started:

Reduce plastic use

Choose products made from natural fibres and materials. Immense amounts of crude oil and chemicals are used to produce plastic, polyester, nylon and other synthetic materials for your backpack, clothes, and technical gadgets. Not to mention the amount of waste generated. . . . All sorts of plastics with complicated names exist: polyethylene terephthalate (PET) (bottles are made from this), polyvinyl chloride (PVC) (the garden hose, vinyl plates, pipes and fake ‘leather’ shoes are made from this), polystyrene (Tupperware is made from this), polymethyl methacrylate (windows are made from this), nylon (our clothes), polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE/Teflon—the famous non-sticky pans)—they are all plastic!

Place a filter in your washing machine. Did you know that with every wash of a synthetic cloth item, thousands of fibres end up in our waterways? I’m not even talking about the chemical colouring techniques (and labour efforts) used to produce our clothing. Synthetic (read: plastic) fibres act as a sponge for metals and chemicals. Fish see this as plankton, and the toxin-loaded fibre stays in the fish for months. Alternatives can include (organic!) cotton, hemp, bamboo, or eucalyptus. Learn more about this challenge on Life-Mermaids.eu.

Particularly in the cosmetics department, we can reduce a lot on plastic waste. Almost all toiletries, like shampoo, toothpaste, or sunscreen, come in plastic packaging and are thrown ‘away’ once finished. Save yourself and the ocean from toxins and plastic pollution. Buy natural shampoo in bulk bottles, get a block of soap instead of the liquid stuff. Or even better, make your own toothpaste, shampoo, moisturiser, facial cleaner or mosquito spray. Choose a hairbrush, hair ties, toothbrush and razor all made from other materials than plastic.

Bring your own toothpicks. In many restaurants, toothpicks are individually wrapped in plastic. Be prepared and bring your own. Pine needles work great too:)

Source food from places that use less packaging, like the local market or even better, grow your own.

Filter water (with a filter on your tap or with a reusable water bottle)

Bring your own bag, spoon, cup, and bottle, and keep saying no!

If you order online, kindly request the sender to use as little packaging as possible, and without plastic tape. Demand minimal or better no packaging in general wherever you go. Buy from sellers located close to you to avoid a package going from a plane to a ship, to a ferry, to a truck, around the world.

Reduce resources use

Cut down on power. Reduce your own carbon footprint by sourcing locally. Walk, bike, hike, share rides, take public transport, turn off the lights when not in use, switch to more efficient light bulbs, reduce airplane trips, reduce meat and fish intake, and waste less food. And hitch-sail the Atlantic Ocean where you must be very conservative with the resources you have on board. After this journey, you’ll treat every drop of water like gold.

Reduce the amount of paper you consume. Read online newspapers, brochures, blogs, e-books. Say no to the receipt at the ATM. Do you need a receipt for everything you buy? The paper is often bleached, and the ink is plastic. Paper often ends up with organics further polluting the soil. Save a tree so more carbon can be absorbed; keep it digital.

A significant impact we can make is to reduce the number of babies we’re making. Researchers calculated a reduction of 58 tons of CO2 for each year of a parent’s life, as compared to 2.4 tons by living car free, 0.21 through recycling, and 1.60 for a roundtrip Atlantic flight (37). This study is based on people living in the Western world, consuming as an average westerner.

Reduce buying new things. Our resources are finite.

Simplicity

Reduce the chemicals

Cleaning products, cosmetic products and plastic products are often loaded with toxins, harmful for the ocean, and yourself. Why use them?

Sunscreen

The average sunscreen has lots of chemicals affecting corals, fish, and your own health. Some tourism destinations (for example Bonito in Brazil, and Palau in the Pacific) even prohibit sunscreen to protect nature since this product has already negatively affected the natural state of the destination. It’s that destructive! Using biodegradable sunscreen is not only better for the environment, but it’s also much better for you. Ingredients that are found to be biggest hormone disruptors are oxybenzone and octinoxate, and homosalate, octisalate, and octocrylene) (38). So, what to do? Do everything else right before applying sunscreen in the first place. Protect yourself from the sun with a cap, and clothing. Use sunscreen only when you have to. More and more biodegradable sunscreens are available on the market. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are working ingredients that are more ocean and human-friendly alternative. Finding one that does not come in plastic is the biggest challenge! Or just make your own.

Shampoo, soaps, and lotions

How many words do you see on the back of your shampoo that you can’t even pronounce? Google them and educate yourself. All the fragrances, chemicals and other stuff the big corporations put into our shampoo, shower gel, makeup, and mosquito spray may smell great but are loaded with harmful toxins that end up in our waterways and bodies. We often assume that if it’s on the shelves or if it says ‘natural’, it should be okay, right? It’s not. The cosmetic industry is shockingly little regulated. Luckily there are many real natural cosmetics out there. They are only not penetrated into the big supply chains. You could get a block of soap instead of the liquid stuff. Or even better, make your own toothpaste, shampoo, sunscreen, facial cleaner or mosquito spray.

Cleaning products

What about aggressive cleaning products? They work so well! Aside from the residue that stays on the floor where you walk or on the galley counter where you put your food, we just wash it down. Where does it go then? The ocean! With a combination of vinegar, baking soda and cold pressed plant oils, we can clean almost anything!

Outdoor gear

Many outdoor brands produce clothing with PFCs, a highly toxic chemical which has now been found in the highest snow peaks, waterways and ocean. Check detox-outdoor.org to learn how green or pollutive your favourite outdoor brand is.

Reduce the trash pile

Our world is filling up with trash at an exponential rate. I can’t even be sure if that water bottle floating around the ocean wasn’t formerly used by me! Either way, the planet is everyones. Everyone should take care. Reduce plastic in the ocean by helping clean up. The ocean is downhill from everything. Wind and water ways bring it in. If you see it on the ground, take the opportunity to pick it up, preventing it from ending up in the oceans.

A few initiatives to make cleaning up more fun, easy and impactful:

  • Take3forthesea. Collect three trash pieces every day you go out and play. Tim Silverwood sailed through the great Pacific garbage patch and realised something had to be done! He founded #Take3fortheSea with a simple message: take three pieces of rubbish with you when you leave the beach, waterway, or . . . anywhere. If you do this every day, you can save thousands of pieces of trash from ending up at sea. Simple but impactful. Imagine what we can accomplish if everyone does this. Learn more at Take3.org.
  • Join a beach clean-up or organise one! Check #CleanSwell on social media for inspiration.
  • Document what and where you find.
  • Become a Trash Hero (TrashHero.org)
  • Order your ‘Trash Hunter Kit’ and help to identify where it comes from in the first place. Who are the producers and who are the polluters? Learn more at TrashHunters.org.
  • Join the Ocean Nomads crew. Lot’s of initiatives already going and more to come!

Reuse

As we have already learned, the problem with plastic waste is that it doesn’t go away. Before you toss something away at all, perhaps the item can serve another purpose?

Packaging is a big waster. Reuse packaging when you can. Reuse the peanut box, pill jar, spice pots, or zip-lock cereal bags to store other items. Old pill jars are especially useful when travelling. Reuse plastic bags as garbage bags.

To be able to refuse plastic, you should be equipped with something you can reuse. We can all make a huge difference by being prepared with reusables. Going to a friend’s BBQ party where ‘throw away’ is usually the norm’? Bring your own cutlery, plate, cup and straw. You will surely make an entrance, and it’s a great conversation starter. Make it a habit of bringing your reusables items wherever you go. By being well-prepared, you can avoid ‘having’ to accept hundreds of plastic items. Hit the road with a spoon, fork, knife (or spork), straw, bag, cup, a storage container for takeaway, refillable bottle and filtered bottle.

Reusable lifesavers

Bottles

Access to drinkable tap water might be normal at home, but in many countries buying plastic bottled water has become the norm. It already makes a great difference to have a reusable drinking bottle with you all the time. At home, at your office, and especially during your travels. If you don’t like the taste of tap water, put a filter on it. This might be the best investment for your health too. In addition to a refillable bottle, a filter- jug, -bottle or -straw can be a lifesaver. Especially on boats on during travels where portable refill options are rare. With a filtered water bottle, I can scoop water from the dirtiest river and drink it. I can drink water from any tap or source (except for salty water). Using a filter bottle has saved me from adding hundreds of plastic bottles to the trash pile, in just one month! The market has plenty of different filter bottles, jugs and straws available. Here’s a blogpost on different travelfirendly water filtration solutions.

Bags

In many western countries, you now have to pay 10 cents for a plastic bag. In the developing world, you have to say NO 10 times to avoid them. Bring a bag or two whenever you go shopping. If you do end up with a plastic bag in your hands, re-use it, for as long as you can.

Straws

The plastic straw is in the top six of single use plastics found in the ocean. It’s a routine add-on in most of the world. By proactively showing up with your reusable straw you can say no to many plastic ones. This is especially great when you are in a coconut or cocktail country! Many options are out there: stainless steel, bamboo, glass and silicon. Heck, you can even use the branch of a papaya tree as a straw. Using my stainless steel straw has saved me hundreds of plastic ones. And have given me dozens of awareness raising conversations! Make it a habit. Here is a blog on reusable straws.

Bottom units

For the parents

An average baby uses seven diapers a day. Assuming the little one is potty-trained by age two—that’s over 5,000 diapers! After newspapers and packaging, diapers are the largest disposable item in our trash pile. Did you know that disposable diapers also have plastic in them? Every single disposable diaper ever used is still out there. The poo may be organic, but most diapers are not. Get some cool shark, dolphin, star or coconut printed cloth diapers, saving money, energy, toxins and waste. And your kid will look super cool in his unique outfit.

For the girls

Women use an estimated 11,000 tampons or sanitary pads in a lifetime. The average pad contains as much plastic as four carrier bags. Most tampons contain plastic. Most tampons are bleached. We don’t consciously eat plastic or bleach. Why would we want to put it in our bodies? And waterways? We can reduce plastic and chemicals in our ocean, and save a lot of money by choosing alternatives. What’s a better solution? A reusable menstruation cup or pad. You can insert it like a tampon, you can still climb masts and dance-like with a tampon—but you only need one. You can reuse it, over and over again. Try it! Please ditch the tampon—and if you really can’t, at least use the organic tampons.

Blog & Video: What’s in my zero waste travel kit?

Recycle

Even if you dispose of your waste correctly, you never know where it will end up, so recycle where you can even before generating the waste. Compared to making a new plastic product, recycling uses less water, fossil fuel and resource extraction. But don’t forget, plastic can only be down-cycled. 

I’m talking a lot about plastic here, but another type of product with huge environmental impact is tech gear. It’s called e-waste. Bring your old tech stuff to dealers that can use the parts. Or sell it. Apple has a recycling program, as well as most other tech brands. Please don’t just throw it ‘away.’ 

Products made from recycled-something are often better than new. It helps to create awareness, but, it’s not the solution! Eventually, it will still add to the trash pile. 

Rethink, refuse, reuse, reduce, rechoose, repair recycle . . . 

Above all, make it fun!

We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly. – Zero Waste Chef

 

From ocean adventure comes awareness. From that, comes caring. From caring comes action and leadership. We can only do good if we first hand experience the magic of the seas as well as the realities that the oceans are facing in the first place. Ocean adventure can spark new insights and give one a new set of eyes. It makes us more conscious as consumers. It makes us stronger, more confident, resilient. It makes new leaders. Maybe Ocean leaders!

This blogpost is an excerpt from book Ocean Nomad: the hitchhike guide to the oceans. Jump on an ocean adventure and experience the magic and challenges for yourself.


 

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Biodegradable sunscreen for a healthy ocean and healthy you. What to know? What to choose?

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Crew Opportunities: Simplicity & Sustainability Adventure Sailing in the Balearics | Summer 2019

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The Holiday Sailing Packing List – Practical and Ocean Conscious Tips

The Sailing Packing List

Summer sailing season is on and you’re going on a sailing trip!

Good for you! Your life will never be the same ;). Especially if you have never been on a sailing trip before it can be difficult to figure out what to pack for a sailing trip. Preparation is key to make sure you, as well as the ocean, will have a good experience!

Here is a practical and ocean conscious sailing packing list to have you well prepared for your first sailing trip!

A few general sailing packing tips and considerations

  • Pack for the destination you’re going to and the adventures you’re planning to have. The sailing packing list presented here focuses on the warm charter island hopping / coastal kind of sailing trip.
  • Bring little. Chances are you’ll end up wearing the same things anyway. Storage space is worth gold on board. You won’t have much. If you can live without it, leave it at home. Especially on a summer sailing holiday, you need very little. Most days are spent in bikini and boardshorts.
  • Check what sailing gear is provided on board so you don’t have to bring it: towels, sheets, 12-volt USB charger, dishing washing sponge etc. If it’s a rental boat there will be very few things on board.

First, I will present the sailing packing list for easy reference which you can use as a checklist. After the list, I provide some commentary on different items to help you figure out whether they may be necessary for you or not to pack for sailing, plus some more happy ocean sailing packing tips to be a real ocean, conscious warrior.

The Sailing Packing Check List

Luggage

Clothes

  • 1 wind jacket
  • 1 sweater
  • 2 tee shirts
  • 1 long-sleeved shirt (against the sun)
  • 2 tank tops
  • 2 fast drying shorts/board short
  • 7 underwear
  • 1 long pants
  • Clothes to sleep in
  • Some decent clothes for on shore
  • Swimwear! x3
  • A lycra for sun protection
  • For girls: a sports bra/top for the adventure activities
  • A sarong and/or coverup

Shoes

Sun protection

Entertainment

Toiletries and sleeping

Health kit

  • Seasickness pills/wristband
  • Personal medicine/glasses/contact lenses

Paperwork & money

Food, Drinks, Cleaning

Can be handy & cool

  • A Headlamp
  • Your country flag
  • Hammock
  • A notebook and pen
  • A sewing kit
  • A pocket knife
  • A little music speaker

Notes on the Sailing Packing List

The considerations on a few of the items listed above.

Luggage

Duffel bag Unless it’s a huge catamaran, a boat does not have storage room for a hard suitcase. A waterproof duffel bag is ideal; you can fold it into a small size. A 50- to 70-liter duffel bag is a good size. The smaller, the smarter you will pack. For years I have been travelling with this 70L AquaPac Duffel bag. Simple, light, and strong.

sailing-packing-list-summer

Day pack A 20- to 25-liter waterproof day backpack is nice for day hikes and shopping. It’s also helpful in dinghy rides from the boat to shore to keep things dry, or for swimming to the boat if there’s no dinghy around;). I use the 20l Aquapac backpack.

Storage bags/ Shopping Bags Chances are you will only have one small cupboard or drawer to store your stuff. It’s helpful to have different coloured (non-crispy/noisy) bags to be able to easily find what you need. There are also easy to DIY from an old t-shirt. You can also use these bags for shopping.

Clothes

Summer sailing holidays are predominantly spent in bikinis and board shorts. Bring a few of those. Stretchy, fast drying and breathable fabrics are comfortable. We can look like hippies on board but bring something presentable to wear for on shore out of respect to the local communities. A long sleeve shirt is nice as protection from the sun. Usually, it’s hot in the sleeping cabins. Bring boxer shorts and a shirt or top for sleeping. Don’t forget a cap (to protect your face from the sun).

A sarong and/or coverup easy to pop on when coming out of the water and protect from the sun.

Shoes

Shoes don’t have to be sailing-specific shoes. On every island you touch shore, you will find places to explore and hills to climb on all sorts of soils. Good multi-purpose trail/running shoes allow for island exploration. I use my multi-purpose trail running shoes for sailing, walking, running, dancing, and everything. They do the job just fine. Just keep in mind that your shoes are very likely to get wet and salty. On deck, you have to be careful with black soles. They can leave marks on the deck.

Some captains have a barefoot policy. Nice for leisure sailing, it keeps the boat clean, and if you’re a passenger you’ll be fine. I prefer wearing shoes because I go around boats like a monkey and have stupidly sprained my ankles a few times too often.

Flip the flop with your Flip Flops

Sun protection

Cap A cap is a must. A hat leash is Neptune’s greatest invention. This is a clipper between your cap and t-shirt, which, in my case, has prevented my cap from going into the sea for about 283 times.

Sunglasses Polarised sunglasses are favourable at sea to view deeper, sharper and clearer. You can better see the dolphins swimming underwater at the bow. A neck cord prevents your sunglasses from going overboard.

Bandana A multi-purpose headband/scarf/bandana thingy to protect your head to keep the hair out of your face in the wind.

Sunscreen Bring a good ocean friendly sunscreen. Here are some suggestions. Or make your own.

Entertainment

SUPS, Hammocks, snorkeling gear, floating devices can all greatly add to the experience! Bring it if you have it or check the second-hand marketplace. Locally this stuff is expensive and/or imported low ocean-friendly shipped from China. Lots of this toys are out there already and often only used for one summer sailing holiday. See what you can re-use. If you want to bring surf or kite gear, check if there is space for that on board.

Film & photography – Memories are certainly best captured with your mind, at the moment—but capturing the adventure with a camera can also create nice memories to look back on later and to excite others about the ocean! Smartphones do the job these days. Protect the gear well. Electronics are not made for life on the sea. You only need one wave and hatch not properly closed to have your phone or camera ruined. Also, on boats it easily becomes humid and salty, so you better protect it. Buying a new phone takes as much energy as recharging and operating a smartphone for an entire decade. The second-hand marketplace has affordable water-proof cases.

Music brings happiness. Bring your Phone with some sweet playlists downloaded,  cable to connect the music machine to the speakers. Also, bring earphones or headphones, so you don’t disturb the other crew if there are in chill or siesta modus.

Charging Usually charging phones and tablets is not a problem. You need a 12V USB charger for that. These are popular on board so it can be helpful to bring your own. Don’t forget the charging cable. Label them so it doesn’t get mixed up with other cables. Charter boats usually only have 12Volt charging possibilities.

Universal adapter Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas have different power outlets. Bring a universal adapter if you change continents so you can plug in everywhere on land. It’s not easy to find these things in harbour towns.

Toiletries

Towels and bed linen are usually present. Not always, check this or bring a towel and pillow cover/sheet and/or sleeping bag. I use my sarong for drying and sleeping situations.

Earplugs Good earplugs can help to dampen the noises on the boat. Be sure to only wear them when appropriate.

Soap and shampoo Whatever shampoo, soap or shampoo product you bring on board, remember that it all drains straight out to the sea. Choose biodegradable. A simple soap/shampoo bar or multifunctional soap is a responsible solution. You can also wash your clothes with that. Learn about the shampoo challenges and plastic free soap & shampoo solutions.

environmental friendly plastic free shampoo

Washing unit A sponge or washing glove is handy to give yourself a quick wash. Baby wipes are often recommended and can surely be useful for you, but not for the environment. Opt for biodegradable ones.

Tooth care Bring a (bamboo) toothbrush, paste or powder, and toothpicks (in many places in the Mediterranean and Caribbean they are individually wrapped in plastic). Btw, Rinsing with seawater is a really good mouthwash.

Hair ties and clips Bring something to tie up your hair. Otherwise, your hair will be all over the place and it can be dangerous with making sailing maneuvers.

Health Kit

For casual coastal sailing holidays, you do not need to worry about seasickness. If crew or passengers feel bad, the next port or anchorage is close. If the plan is to make larger distances then you may want to bring something for seasickness. Seasickness remedies are available in pill, plaster, and wristband form. Scopolamine is the ingredient that many find to work best, but comes with some side effects so be aware of the dosage. You can read and learn more about preparing and dealing with seasickness in book Ocean Nomad.

Food / Drinks / Cleaning

If you rent a boat as a group, it comes with the very basics. Together you’d have to source things like dishwashing liquid, a sponge, toilet paper (never to be thrown in a toilet on board), shampoo. Coordinate with fellow holidaymakers who brings what. A huge difference can be made by arriving prepared for a minimal waste shopping experience. In the Mediterranean and Caribbean, popular sailing holiday places, the corner shops in most cases do not have plastic-free regulations in place (yet). Instead of taking things as they come, help to shape as they go, and show up with some reusables. Think about a bag, water filtration solutions, food produce bags, a reusable straw, a reusable cup (especially if you like a Greek frappé on the go).

By taking some (ocean-friendly) dishwashing liquid, a sponge and/or cleaning cloth from home, this will prevent you for having one to buy new locally which generally comes with lots of plastic wrapping and non-ocean-friendly ingredients. Most dish washing liquid brand contain harmful ingredients for the ocean (phosphate, Chlorine, Artificial fragrance). Bring ocean-friendly dishwashing liquid.

On the average summer sailing trip, food and the food costs are shared as a group. Everyone can have a say in what’s being provisioned. Try not to be too complicated for your fellow crew, so if you have particular tastes you really can’t do without for a week, bring some goods of your own / buy it yourself.

If you’re obsessed with tea or herbs/spices (like me), consider bringing some of that. This way you don’t have to buy the triple plastic wrapped tea bags or herb pots. Also, if you are gluten intolerant, vegetarian or vegan, prepare or bring something from the food department if you think this might be an issue. I personally travel with a mix of seeds. It gives me superpowers. For short-term holidays I wouldn’t bother.

For all the rest, shop local! Part of the fun and you can make a big difference by shopping local. Here you can read more about ocean conscious food provisioning.

Paperwork & money

Passport Obvious but easy to forget. Some countries require 90 to 180 days’ validity on arrival. Check if your passport is still valid long enough. I’ve met numerous people who had to fly home to renew and could cancel their adventure!

Money Bring cash in the local currency and an extra credit card. ATMs could be far, often don’t work, are empty, or swallow your card. It’s good to have a back-up.

Insurance Be personally insured. Check if your insurance has sailing coverage. I recommend TopSail insurance for sailing crew as travel insurance. Safety wing is an affordable medical coverage insurance for nomads. They also cover sailing travels, including long distances.

Can be handy & cool

Head torch A head torch is handy for reading, coming back from the shore at night,  getting up in the night without waking anyone up. It’s great to have a head torch with a red ‘night watch’ option—bright white lights affect your sleep rhythm, and blinds you and fellow crew.

Your country flag (small–max 30cm x 20cm). Bear in mind official flag regulations.

What NOT to bring

  • Too much!
  • A hard suitcase. There is no storage space for that.
  • Too many (warm) clothes. You’ll end up wearing the same things anyway. No winter clothes needed for Mediterranean summer sailing and  Caribbean sailing.
  • Too many shoes. You’ll be mostly barefoot on the boat (some captains demand wearing shoes).
  • Too many creams and oily cosmetic products.
  • Expensive jewelry with emotional attachment. Very easy to lose!
  • Hairdryers and electric razors (most boats only have 12-volt charging possibilities)
  • Your surfboard, mountain bike and sea scooter (without asking captain in advance).
  • A return ticket ;-). Make sailing a lifestyle.

HOW to pack Budget & ocean-friendly?

Being well-equipped and prepared allows you to create positive change in many ways. We can do more than simply packing light, compactly and purposefully for our own sake. Our greatest and most exciting individual power: the power of choice! To a large degree, we can choose what to eat, drink, wear, believe, say, do, create, and buy. Each choice comes with its consequences, good or bad. Do your best to make whatever choice you make a good one for you and the ocean! Not sure what the best choice is? Ask questions, research, explore, and find out! How can you pack smart, on a budget while minimising your carbon footprint, your trash trail, and the number of chemicals polluting the environment and your body? What can you choose to be the best for your health, your wallet, and for the world that you call your playground? Here is some food for thought on actions you can take to make the packing challenge more affordable and better for the environment

Offshore sailing packing list

Packing for a long-term Ocean Nomads sailing adventure? Then check out the offshore sailing packing list I created for crossing oceans and longer journeys. You can find the extensive sailing packing list and considerations in book Ocean Nomad. This offshore sailing packing list includes information about lifejackets, personal safety and sailing gear, gloves, pocket knives, visas, vaccinations, onward travel proof, and more tips on how to make a difference for a healthier ocean. Or download the simple and quick offshore sailing packing list checklist (free).

Wish you a splashtastic sailing experience! Let me know in the comments what you have found to be super useful on your trip and what you wish you had taken.
Ahoy!
Xx Suzanne

As always, opinions are my own. No organisation or brand is paying me to write this or mention them in this sailing packing list. What drives me is saving the ocean. Sometimes links contain affiliate links. If you’re looking to purchase something, huge thanks if you purchase it via this website (but try to find it locally first! ). At no extra cost to you, orders and bookings through this website give me a tiny piece of the pie that help me keep investigating, exploring and creating content about on ocean action and solutions! The information presented here is not a substitute for specific training or experience. When going into the outdoors it is your responsibility to have the proper knowledge, experience, and equipment to travel safely. Here are more ways to support ocean awareness and action. Splashthanks!

Waterproof Cases & Bags by Aquapac

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Humans love to suck: glass, steel and bamboo alternatives to plastic straws

The human habit of using straws is older than The Holy Bible, seriously! In fact, the oldest drinking straw was found in a sumerian tomb dated from 3,000 B.C.E. Straws are a useful tool for helping children, elder or disabled people to drink. What’s more, straws are a cool way to prevent the ice of your mojito to spill out of the glass, hitting directly your face when you are trying to slurp the final drops. Having said that, what’s wrong with straws?

International free straw day

 

What’s wrong with straws?

The heartbroken video of the sea turtle suffering from an embedded straw into the nose, was a warning of the alarming situation that we are creating by using single use plastic items. In the United States, 500 million straws are used and discarded every day, enough straws to wrap around the earth’s circumference 2’5 times a day. The UK throws away 8.5 billion straws each year, 4.8 billion in Germany and 3.2 in France. The plastic straws average use is 20 minutes and it takes 500 years to decompose and as far as we know does not disappear. Ever. Every single pieces of plastic ever made, is still out there in some form. There’s is no such thing as throwing it ‘away.’ There is no away. Tossed ‘away’ means it either ends up in landfill for hundreds of years, is burned releasing toxins into the atmosphere, ends up in nature, or is recycled. The plastic straw is in the top six of single use plastics found in the ocean.

What can we do to beat the plastic straw?

Do we really need the straw in our drinks? No we don’t. But it still is a routine add-on in most of the world. Say no to the straw before you order your drink. Or bring your own. By proactively showing up with your reusable straw you can say no to many plastic ones. Many options are out there: glass, stainless steel or bamboo. Heck, you can even use the branch of a papaya tree as a straw.

If you still love to suck, here you can find 6 plastic straw alternatives to keep sucking in a sustainable way.

Plastic Straw Alternatives

1: Glass Straws

Glass straws are like a little piece of art, can be designed in different shapes, colours and do not absorb the taste of other products like reusable plastics straws do. Cons? Glass is not as resistant as stainless steel so it is not the best option for travellers or for children. If you are someone who likes classy stuff for your cocktails or smoothies, glass straws are your best option. Where to buy glass straws?

Glass Straws in USA/ Canada

Glass Straws in the UK

2: Stainless steel straws

Stainless steel straws, are the perfect travelling mate, resistants, unbreakable and on budget, do not absorb any flavour. Also recommended for children. Cons? They don’t look as classy as glass straws and if you don’t like the texture of the metal it can be unsatisfying. Personally, using my stainless steel straw has saved me hundreds of plastic ones. Where to buy stainless steel straws?

Stainless steel straws in the US / Canada

Stainless steel straws in the UK

Roestvrij Stalen rietjes in Nederland

Another plastic free solution out there is the stainless steel filter straw from LifeStraw. They developed a plastic-free stainless steel straw with filter to always have safe drinkingwater during your travels!

stainless steel straw

3: Bamboo Straws

Think what nature provides. Bamboo straws are a natural and organic option that you can even DIY at your home. My parents have a big bamboo bush. We cut some, sand them a little bit, and you have a straw. And nature provides other options. In the tropics for example you have the papaya tree of which the branches are little pipes. I’m sure other options exist. Just make sure you don’t destroy what does not need to be destroyed. Cons? Unlike glass and metal, bamboo straws could get moldy if you don’t wash and dry them properly.
Where to buy Bamboo straws?

Bamboo Straws in the USA / Canada

Bamboo Straws in the UK

Bamboe rietjes in Nederland

DIY bamboo straws

I make bamboo straws from the black bamboo in my parents garden. I don’t sell them but if you like one you can get them HERE by becoming a Patreon.

4: Edible straws

How cool if you could eat the straw after you finished your drink? Check out what … has created! Now this adds to the drinking experience! Where to buy edible straws?

5: Paper Straws

Are paper straws biodegradable? Some are but not all. Sometimes the ink on the straws is plastic. Paper straws are progression and better than plastic straws. Since most of the paper straws are meant to be used only once, and it still cost a lot of energy to manufacture them, the options above are a better pick.

Paper Straws (US)

6: Straws made from straw

Where do you think the name ‘straw’ comes from? For centuries all drinking straws were made from the stalks of grain. Nature gives us straws. The real hay straw is the perfect alternative for the ‘single use’ plastic straw. They grow in abudance, suck fine, and break down quickly too. And are cheap. I wish to see these and just these in bars

Hay Straws (US)

Hay Straws (Holland)

 

What is your favourite alternative to the plastics straw?

 



Disclaimer: By buying a reusable straw you will automatically support the oceanpreneurial efforts. As always I only recommended ‘things’ I fully support. This post contains some affiliate links. If you click and buy something, the oceanpreneur will earn a tiny commission.

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Travel packing for the planet: What’s in my eco friendly travel kit?

The ultimate guide to your eco-friendly travel kit

You want to travel light, compact and purposeful. But that’s not enough! Here are some considerations and recommendations for your ethical and eco-friendly travelkit.

You want to support innovative social entrepreneurs, and have a positive influence on fellow travellers and locals to help create awareness of solutions out there to make this world a better place. You want to minimize your carbon footprint, your trash trail and the number of chemicals polluting the environment and your body. You want the best for your health AND make a positive difference in the world that you call your playground. You want to collect memories and not things. You do need to pack something at some point.

But you’re busy. You don’t have the time to sort it all out. You left the packing part to last minute and now you realize it would be good to have done some research so you can travel with a positive impact

What impact do you actually make with the travel gear you take with you? How eco-friendly is your kit?

Warning: Long post! Find more plastic-free travel solutions in my lastest #PLASTICFREENOMAD campaign. Disclaimer: No brand is paying me to mention them. Recommendations for the eco-friendly travel kit are based on my own investigation and testing. 
Read more

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Is it safe to travel to Turkey? A happy note from the sunny seaside

A happy message from the sunny seaside in Turkey. Because its people deserve it.

And for those curious what I am up to in Turkey.

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Travelling? 70 eco travel tips for a better planet

Are you amongst the fortunate few to be able to travel? Lucky you!
Now let’s make the most out of it! Not just for yourself but for the places and people that you’re visiting. Our travels can bring huge benefits to local communities. It can also destroy a destination. 

What impact do you make?

According to your facebook and Instagram accounts you have been travelling to the most beautiful paradises on the planet. You have eaten exotic delicacies, encountered magnificent wildlife, engaged with fascinating cultures, climbed to the top of the volcano and explored the funderwaterworld. You have memories of a lifetime.

I am one of these lucky bastards.

Lucky bastard exploring paradise

But you also have memories of trash on the beach, begging children, damaged corals, green ski slopes, porters like donkeys, people trying to sell a fruit for almost nothing, no fish today, chained monkeys, and sharks on the market. Just to name a few situations that make us feel bad, though are there daily.

The beach these days in the Gili Islands

You have experienced the preciousness of drinking water, fresh air, power, a roof, freedom, a toilet, feeling safe, internet, a bankcard, a clean beach, and a healthy body. Most normal ‘back home.’ Not for most us in the world.
You are aware of your lucky position in this world. And you really want to do something good. But WHAT can you do?
“I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult.” E.B. White 
 If you are able to travel you have the skills or resources to make a positive impact. We can travel AND do good AND save money AND have fun. When we make conscious decisions, we can minimize our negative footprint and maximize the benefit for the place we visit and for the planet as a whole. Every decision and every action counts. Collectively our impact is major. With millions of extra travellers every year and a 1,5 million EXTRA people on the planet WEEKLY, it’s all becoming a bit crowded. Our planet and the destinations we’re visiting are reaching limits to cope with our demands. Climate change is happening and it’s probably worse than you think it is. It’s more important than ever to do your bit. It’s our responsibility to become part of the solution, not the problem

So what can you do?

Here are some easy eco travel tips and actions to make your travel a good one, for the planet and for you:

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