From shipyards exploring green-certified materials and production processes to brands that exist wholly to create vessels that harness the energy of the sun, waves, wind and in many cases alternative fuels, the industry is changing for the better.
Here is our pick of the pioneers and forerunners among the luxury charter fleet – those who led the way and inspired owners and boat yards to follow in their (greener) wakes – and the very latest charter yachts which exist as a showcase of sustainable seafaring.
274ft (83.5m) SAVANNAH from Feadship launched in 2015 and was immediately awarded for her beautiful profile, interiors and use of hybrid technology.
At the heart of her eco-friendly engineering is cleaner and more cost-effective propulsion. Commenting on her large propeller, Feadship's director Henk de Vries stated that "The way in which one gigantic propeller has been installed in front with another electrically powered prop in its slipstream has also never been applied on a yacht. A similar system has been used on board passenger ships in Japan, but that is an 'industrial' solution, without the attention to comfort required on a Feadship."
SAVANNAH runs with an azimpull, a variable pitch propeller, three gensets, powered by Lithium-ion batteries with one million Watts – allowing for extra speed at the top end and ultra-quiet cruising at slow speeds. The end result of these numerous innovations in SAVANNAH's technology, are an impressive saving of a huge 30-percent compared to similar-sized superyachts.
These environmentally-friendly characteristics aside, SAVANNAH welcomes charter guests with all the contemporary luxuries they could wish for such as a cinema, a nine-metre swimming pool and a glass-bottomed underwater observation lounge to view the wonders of the underwater world below.
Launched by Perini Navi-Pichiotti shipyard in 2014, the stunning charter yacht, 73m GRACE E was especially designed to minimise noise and environmental impact whilst maximising performance. GRACE E uses diesel-electric propulsion system (with Azipod transmissions). With a 360-degree range, her electronics means she can remain stationary without an anchor at sea using GPS and the propulsion and thruster to keep her position. Fun and environmentally-aware, GRACE E is equipped with toys and tenders that have been carefully selected to keep her environmental impact to a minimum.
In tune with her commitment to a healthy planet, GRACE E focuses on the health of her charter guests with a complete Wellness Deck comprising gym, massage room, steam, sauna, hydrotherapy, pool and more. Accommodating 16 guests in seven lavish guest cabins with full beam main deck master and two main deck VIP staterooms.
Built by Arcadia Yachts in 2014 with exterior design by Francesco Guida, 114.83ft (35m) JURATA has won awards for her unique and striking appearance and was recognised with the Green RINA award for ecology.
Available for charter in the Mediterranean, JURATA was built with high-tech innovations in the yacht's systems to enable guests to enjoy cruising, while having the least impact on the environment. Double glazing solar panels integrated within the superstructure re-charge the batteries and power all utilities and services on-board. Their format overhead creates a soothing sun-dappled effect within the sky lounge, reminding guests of JURATA'S commitment to ethical yachting.
The accommodation layout sleeps 10 charter guests in five luxurious cabins. The main saloon is spacious and tranquil, shielded from the sun, yet airy and light. The sky lounge is the ideal cosy space for evening films or as a daytime retreat, benefiting from floor-to-ceiling windows for panoramic views.
Forward of the sky lounge, the Portuguese deck is a quiet place for a small group of guests, while the sun pads and jacuzzi on the bow are the ideal sunning spots.
JURATA has a dedicated crew of eight to cater to guests during their charter.
Created as the "far-ranging, soul-soothing window to the world" adventure-seeking 147ft (45m) BIG FISH is true adventure charter yacht with many unique eco-friendly attributes.
Built by Aquos Yachts in collaboration with New Zealand builder, McMullen & Wing, BIG FISH boasts a plumb bow, steel hull and floor-to-ceiling windows. Achieving the "fusion of luxury styling and expeditionary muscle", BIG FISH swept up the awards in her launch year of 2010, for everything from design and interiors to technical innovation.
BIG FISH has five staterooms, including a superb full-beam master cabin with floor-to-ceiling windows, 270° views and private deck area, a 22ft video wall, crows nest for 360° views, and fold-down 11m beach platform at the stern, as well as a helicopter landing pad, spa pool, two terraces, a wine cellar, two barbecues and a state-of-the art kitchen. Rather than teak, her decks are made of granite to conserve warmth and provide durable, low-maintenance flooring.
In 2011, BIG FISH undertook an historic circumnavigation over one year, from Antarctica right up to the Amazon, over the top of Russia and along the Northeast Passage – making her the first luxury yacht to complete the Northeast Passage and the first vessel in history to complete a Polar Circumnavigation. With a 10,000 nautical mile range, there is no place too remote for BIG FISH.
During her maiden expedition, BIG FISH contributed to our understanding of the world's climate and environmental changes. Her SeaKeeper 1000 equipment monitored ocean, climate and weather changes and data was sent via satellite to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), while her journey was tracked online with images and footage from her onboard cameras and a remote-controlled chopper.
For her guests, the BIG FISH charter experience has no limitations and can include diving, game fishing, water skiing, trekking in the tropics, and just as easily, a range of health, fitness and beauty therapy onboard.
Built in 2013 as a "green" global explorer SAFIRA is remarkably engineered for unsurpassed sea handling capability and the pinnacle of luxury. During winter, SAFIRA cruises the Caribbean and in summer, New England but she is built to roam the world.
With her ice-strengthened, high tensile steel hull and aluminium superstructure, SAFIRA has a range of 8,800 nautical miles, promising to take her adventurous luxury charter guests to the world's most far-flung destinations, or its most sophisticated in equal comfort.
SAFIRA accommodates up to 10 guests in five staterooms. Within, SAFIRA boasts classic styling with Art Deco touches, elegant furnishings and fittings, and a myriad of spaces for dining, socialising and relaxing, all with eco-credentials.
Décor items are organic, natural, recycled, sustainable and renewable. Forest-certified Sapele is used exclusively in the walls and cabinets, and the interior sub structure and panelling is also forest certified. The floor coverings throughout are organic and the 100% recycled material, Marmoleum is used for galley and utility area flooring and the decking is Esthec, an environmentally friendly teak replacement. All appliances are energy star rated and the vessel is insulated, requiring less energy for heating and cooling.
ETHEREAL was first hybrid sailing yacht launched by Dutch yard, Royal Huisman in 2008.
When launched, ETHEREAL was an industry ambassador for green technology and can lay claim to some of the world's most advanced technology focused on energy conservation and sustainability to allow her charter guests to cruise in eco-friendly luxury. Noisy generators were dispensed with and much of the energy-efficient equipment aboard was custom built specifically for the ETHEREAL, allowing her to mirror the silent cruising lifestyle of vessels a tenth of her size.
At 190ft (58m), ETHEREAL can accommodate 10 guests in five luxurious cabins. Her upper decks provide plenty of space for entertaining, with large windows delivering fantastic panoramic views. The windows boast photochromic functionality to automatically darken to prevent UV radiation.
Built to accommodate even the most adventurous charter guests, she carries two tenders, water skis, wakeboards, four kayaks and an advance knee board, in addition to an underwater camera on the keel, allowing guests to marvel at the underwater sea life.
This exquisite 216.54ft (66m) Italian-built superyacht is considered the first and only of her kind – a self-contained, futuristic world of her own.
During her construction, design group BMT Nigel Gee employed naval architects, structural and mechanical engineers to carry out a plethora of tests on her systems that were similar to the extent of testing on oceangoing commercial vessels, including smoke tests to make sure the superstructure didn't create dragging vortexes, or leave any exhaust gases swirling around the decks.
In fact, the decks too are eco-friendly, composed of Esthec, a sustainable replacement to teak.
Silent, vibration-free and highly-fuel-efficient, OKTO has too many special features to mention, but they include incredible space throughout, a 6m swimming pool on the lower deck, plus jacuzzi on the sky lounge, spa and beauty salon, cinema room, elevator from lower deck to bridge deck, a balcony on the owner's master suite that lowers at the touch of a button, gym with floor to ceiling windows for ocean views while you work out, grey and black pinstriped decks and a full complement of tenders and toys for all ages and inclinations.
Her six cabins accommodate 11 guests in sheer luxury, while OKTO'S 17 crew were chosen from the ranks of the most experienced marine professionals.
For further information on these eco-friendly sailing and motor yachts and others designed to look after our world as well as give you the holiday of a lifetime please contact the specialists at Luxury Charter Group.