The Environmental Impact of Events

Published on May 2nd, 2017

Environmental awareness is trending, but changing habits takes time. Convenience tends to create waste and regattas can adversely impact our waters, but helping to turn the tide has been the Sailors for the Sea’s Clean Regattas program.

Seeking to be an example in Chicago will be the Skyway Yacht Works COLORS Regatta on June 3-4 which has embraced this initiative for the first-time in its 27-year history.

“We are thrilled that Columbia Yacht Club has dedicated their efforts to reducing the environmental impact,” said Robyn Albritton, Sustainability Director at Sailors for the Sea. “As a season-opening event, we are excited to see that Columbia is one of the leaders in sustainability for Lake Michigan.”

Sailors for the Sea’s Clean Regattas program is a certification system that enables sailors to protect their local waters with 25 best practices that make sustainability approachable and easy. The more practices followed, the higher the certification. The COLORS Regatta will be hosting the first gold-certified clean regatta in their city.

“We believe that as a community leader of a lakefront-oriented business, it is our responsibility to take initiative toward protecting the environment with a large focus on the Great Lakes,” said Nick Philp, Columbia’s General Manager.

Sustainability is more than a statement to the Club. They have made the move to 100% biodegradable to-go containers, eliminating disposable plastic cups and plates, and installing a filtered water station next to the dock. And this past February, the Club announced the end of using plastic straws (except by request) and promoted that their drink picks would now be made of biodegradable, toxin-free wood.

The Sailing School teaches sustainability from a young age by partnering with STEM programs to reinforce the ideas of being environmentally responsible. The school starts their day by collecting trash found floating in and around their home port, Monroe Harbor. They collected more than 600 pounds of trash over the course of the summer in 2016. Columbia has also been in the process of applying for grants to install Sea Bins for collecting trash out of the harbor.

So what does it take to host a Clean Regatta? The program has five tiers, with each of the certifications based on how many of the 25 Best Practices are followed. For specific details… click here.

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