Dawn explains how crew can all make a difference to the environment

14th Nov 2019

Dawn explains how we can all make a difference

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It is pretty impossible to leave a conversation with Dawn without feeling inspired about our ability to make positive changes. What stands out after speaking with Dawn, her enthusiasm aside, are all the advantages of living more sustainably while onboard. M/Y Integrity is a shining example of how a Superyacht can operate more sustainably. Integrity has reduced, or eliminated, 80% of its environmental impact over the last five years.

Dawn kindly gave us her time to talk about her award win, the changes she has made on-board, and how crew can start to make a difference with small changes.

First, congratulations on your award win! How do you feel about it?

The fact that they have a category for crew that make a positive impact on our planet makes me very happy.  Personally, I am proud of myself, crew, and owner for what we have achieved.  Every day I do a happy dance that I won and will be proudly displaying my award onboard.

For those that don’t know you, can you explain your background a little and how you ended up in the industry?

Working in the industry is the result of what you might call a happy accident. I had left Canada in search of warmer climates and started working in the British Virgin Islands. When my contract ended I was offered a position on-board. While I didn’t have the best cooking credentials initially, I dove deep into the subject and got some great first-hand experience. I’ve now been on-board M/Y Integrity for twelve years.

What was the first big change you made onboard?

In 2014, we purchased a 0 TDS water treatment system and paired it with ENJO love gloves that require no soap to clean. This means we are able to wash the yacht with just water for 90% of the washdowns.

Why do you think implementing change can feel like such a struggle?

I’ve always been lucky to have the full support of the owners and the crew when it comes to environmental initiatives. I know that for some crew, especially on-board larger yachts, it can be hard to be the one person wanting to change how things are done.

If crew face challenges, what could they do?

They can always start with the areas they can influence. Small gestures make a cumulative difference, and they can also be contagious. It might be something as simple as using cotton bags for collecting provisions or reducing the amount of single-use plastics you purchase.

What have you implemented on-board that you are most proud of?

It has to be the Kangen water machine! This machine produces eleven different pH levels of water. To give a few examples of how we use this on-board; 2.5pH can be used for disinfecting whereas 11.5pH can be used to remove pesticides and herbicides from fruit and veg.

Buying a Kangen has meant we no longer have to buy bottled water. We have saved over €3,500 each year. This also means 18,000 less plastic bottles being used! We save money, crew and guests have access to better quality water, and we have gained loads of on-board storage space.

We have had the Kangen since 2016, and last year we had branded reusable bottles made and a digital tap installed.

Given that you are a chef, what changes have you been able to make in the kitchen?

I’ve always been passionate about sourcing the best possible ingredients. On-board we buy local and seasonal. We have stopped using plastic wraps and work with specific suppliers who respect our packaging policy. Our meat supplier works only with local farms helping us to reduce our carbon footprint. We also focus on using superfoods as well as having desserts that are fruit-based and sweetened with honey or sugar cane.

There are a number of other changes I’ve made, such as using glass containers to store food and ensuring that no plastic bags are used when collecting provisions.

Our efforts are more than about just reducing plastic; it is about looking after the planet and the well-being on-board. This means we use more holistic treatments and try and use raw natural honey where possible as it gives a great immune boost. Extra virgin coconut oil is a favourite not only for cooking but as a hair conditioner.

How do you see the superyacht industry developing with regards to environmental responsibility and initiatives?

It would be great to see mandatory changes being enforced as this would have the biggest impact on the industry in the shortest time. One example of such a change could be the obligatory installation of a water filtration on-board new builds.

The yachting community is becoming increasingly aware of the impact of not looking after our natural environment. I believe that we all have the power to make changes, and I have every confidence that crew can shape how their yacht operates for the better.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Just that it is great to have such a positive crew and owner who get behind all these initiatives and that it is all about sharing best practice and become part of a community that cares.

crew m/y integrity



Oliver Maher