Op-Ed: To save the Earth, think like a ‘blue water’ sailor
At its core, sea voyaging is as much about a mental as a physical challenge. Every morning, the captain wakes the crew with the threat of the “dead watch” – the time when no one has been able to get any sleep since the previous night.
So much time and money is spent on keeping the ship afloat, but it’s a mental challenge for all when a storm or a sea-fogged port interrupts the voyage. It’s a challenge every sea-faring soul faces, which is why many of us consider the ocean our natural home.
If that’s the case, a green, environmentally-conscious outlook on shipbuilding makes perfect sense.
As a sailor and sustainability advocate living on the West Coast, I regularly sail across open seas and pass by sailboats with their electric drives, solar panels, water-harboring systems and carbon-neutral diesel engines.
I can’t help ask myself, however, how green can we be when we build boats with the intent of sailing them around the world?
This year, I’ve taken my shipbuilding challenge a step further, and asked the U.S. Coast Guard to let me sail with a prototype diesel-electric-hydro-electric hybrid hull in an effort to create a new design that will create as much negative impact as possible while generating as much positive impact as possible.
Since I started this year, I’ve traveled to the Alaskan coast and talked to many sailors, and I’ve watched the progress in the engine, fuel and hull design of the project as we’ve learned more about the project.
This year, my shipbuilding challenge is aimed at inspiring the design community to create more environmentally-friendly designs. The ultimate goal is to create a design that incorporates more of the world’s renewable energy resources into its components.
The challenge starts by asking my crew to make the journey to the shipyard and the Alaskan coast. During this journey, we’ll meet with a few local design experts and learn more about the ship�