Monaco Yacht Show: How the super rich are saving the seas

It may be a magnet for ocean-going excess, but the Monaco Yacht Show is becoming an increasingly precious je...

Posted: Oct 18, 2018 2:08 PM
Updated: Oct 18, 2018 2:09 PM

It may be a magnet for ocean-going excess, but the Monaco Yacht Show is becoming an increasingly precious jewel in the fight to save our seas.

The luxury shop window for mega yachts and boating bling opens with a glitzy gala dinner and charity auction, which raised more than $27 million for marine conservation projects carried out by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Demographic groups

Environment and natural resources

Landforms and ecosystems

Leisure and lifestyle

Luxurious living

Marine transportation

Marine vessels

Oceans

Population and demographics

Science

Society

Transportation and warehousing

Wealthy people

Yachts

Continents and regions

Europe

Monaco

Sailing (sport)

Sports and recreation

Water sports

Western Europe

Charities and charitable giving

The A-list guests, including Katy Perry, Orlando Bloom, Adrien Brody and a host of Victoria's Secret models dressed in dazzling gowns and diamonds, bid on lots ranging from the world's first luxury electric powerboat to horseback riding with Madonna. On online auction will remain open until December.

But why are the super rich so keen to save the seas?

READ: Monaco Yacht Show: A place for millionaires -- and millennials?

'The ocean is their playground'

Environmentalist and explorer Emily Penn, who acts as spokesperson for the Y.CO Clearwater campaign that encourages yacht owners to reduce waste and emissions, suggests it comes from their idea of holiday fun.

"The ocean is their playground," she tells CNN. "Without a healthy ocean, the whole industry of yachting doesn't function in the same way."

Penn adds that for regular sea travelers the damage is impossible to miss. "I travel a lot," she says. "And going back to the same places a year later and finding that the reefs are almost unrecognizable to how they were, because they are bleached and all the life has gone ... that's been a huge wake-up call for people."

Swiss pharmaceutical billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli and his wife Kirsty, who spend their holidays on 318ft (97m) superyacht Vava 2, shared the same experience. The couple's time on the water made them acutely aware of the threats faced by the marine environment.

Compelled to act, they set up the Bertarelli Foundation, which has provided significant funding for the creation of marine reserves in Belize and the Indian Ocean.

The same goes for Wendy Schmidt, wife of Eric -- Google's former executive chairman who has an estimated worth of $14.7 billion. The keen sailor set up 11th Hour Racing as part of the Schmidt family foundation, which works with the maritime community to promote sustainability and protect the ocean.

Such high-profile examples have helped to spread awareness among the sailing community and spurred on yacht owners to act. And some, instead of donating money, are donating their yachts to help the scientific cause.

READ: The top 10 biggest yachts at the 2018 Monaco Yacht Show

Science on a superyacht

The Bertarellis, for instance, offered marine scientists the use of Vava 2 for a survey of sharks and coral reefs in the Indian Ocean.

One organisation facilitating this is the International Seakeepers Society, a non-profit based in Florida, which links yacht owners with scientists, providing a platform for marine research without the costs of chartering a vessel.

Among its fleet is Archimedes, a 222ft (68m) superyacht belonging to billionaire mathematician James Simons. The yacht, valued at $100m, was used by scientists for a shark research expedition off the coast of Antigua.

"Ninety percent of a scientist's small budget will go towards chartering an expedition vessel," says Seakeeper's yacht specialist Tony Gilbert. "We're allowing them to save all that money and put it to a better use, such as paying lab assistants and the actual research itself."

READ: Confessions of a superyacht stewardess

READ: Skype founder Niklas Zennstrom pioneers electric racing yacht

Scientist Ari Friedlaender, who conducted a whale-tagging expedition from motor yacht E Cruz, credits his team's successful research to Seakeepers and boat owner Larry Moreas.

"Larry's boat gave us double the amount of assets on the water and the ability to collect twice as much data as we would have collected using our own single boat," says Friedlaender. "Without this support we would not have been able to achieve our scientific goals."

Some billionaires have even started to design vessels specifically for marine conservation expeditions, rather than lending out their own leisure yachts.

For instance American billionaire Ray Dalio, whose OceanX initiative has designed 279ft (85m) exploration yacht Alucia 2 , which is fitted with research labs, submarines, helicopters and a media production center. Or Norwegian philanthropist Kjell Inge Røkke, whose rivaling REV project aims to launch the world's largest research expedition vessel by 2020.

READ: Glass, silence and no offices -- What the super rich want on a superyacht

However, while Penn appreciates the enthusiasm and action from the yachting community, she urges yacht owners to make an impact closer to home -- by reducing waste and emissions on their own boats.

"On a boat you don't have a barrier between you and the ocean, and pretty much anything you use is going to go straight overboard, so it's really important that everything is bio-degradable and natural," she says.

Green technology

The yachting community's increased environmental awareness is also shaping the wider industry, as companies compete to design the most eco-friendly yacht technology.

One company, Torqeedo, has developed electric engines that can fit an 80ft catamaran, while Daedalus is using cutting-edge technology to design high-end zero emission sailing boats. Swiss company Solar Impact recently revealed plans for a slick solar-powered yacht with the ability to cruise the entire world without refueling.

"The new generation of clients are more aware of green issues," says Johan Pizzardini, communications and media manager for the Monaco Yacht Show. "So designers and equipment suppliers are searching for solutions to reduce pollution."

As the demand for green yachts is booming, this changing tide can only mean good things for marine conservation.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 118322

Reported Deaths: 3591
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion21502767
Lake10688323
Elkhart6707111
St. Joseph6619113
Allen6330205
Hamilton4938109
Vanderburgh378131
Hendricks2766124
Monroe265536
Tippecanoe256613
Johnson2352124
Clark225957
Porter219947
Delaware200162
Cass19559
Vigo186827
Madison170375
LaPorte149141
Floyd139664
Warrick138242
Howard132663
Kosciusko125917
Bartholomew118457
Marshall101524
Dubois99919
Boone99146
Grant95134
Hancock94643
Noble93132
Henry81226
Jackson7739
Wayne77014
Morgan73438
Daviess68028
Shelby68029
Dearborn67528
LaGrange64011
Clinton62314
Harrison59224
Putnam58411
Gibson5355
Knox5289
Lawrence51629
Montgomery51121
DeKalb48811
White48714
Decatur45939
Miami4394
Greene42735
Fayette42313
Jasper4012
Scott39011
Steuben3907
Posey3460
Sullivan33812
Jennings31612
Franklin31325
Clay3085
Ripley3078
Orange28824
Whitley2826
Carroll27813
Adams2763
Wabash2728
Starke2717
Washington2701
Wells2674
Spencer2633
Jefferson2503
Huntington2473
Fulton2442
Tipton22822
Randolph2238
Perry22113
Jay1920
Newton17411
Owen1711
Martin1680
Pike1641
Rush1574
Vermillion1310
Fountain1292
Blackford1213
Pulaski1141
Crawford1100
Parke1072
Brown1043
Benton870
Ohio797
Union790
Switzerland690
Warren411
Unassigned0226

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 151802

Reported Deaths: 4746
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin27119607
Cuyahoga17554656
Hamilton13237315
Montgomery7938164
Lucas7343364
Butler6085111
Summit5366252
Warren311549
Marion311147
Mahoning3095281
Stark2913175
Pickaway267944
Lorain233386
Delaware230621
Fairfield213253
Licking194963
Columbiana194080
Wood192172
Trumbull1916132
Clark183940
Clermont174423
Lake164851
Greene149034
Medina147539
Miami146351
Allen146269
Portage116866
Mercer113218
Erie95947
Tuscarawas94120
Wayne94068
Richland92219
Ross89624
Madison84312
Darke80643
Geauga72649
Athens7242
Belmont72427
Hancock72010
Lawrence67122
Ashtabula66048
Shelby66010
Putnam61923
Auglaize6119
Sandusky58020
Huron5557
Union5512
Scioto5167
Seneca48814
Ottawa47130
Preble44515
Muskingum4383
Holmes3959
Jefferson3384
Henry33414
Defiance33012
Champaign3133
Logan3133
Clinton30213
Perry3009
Brown2922
Knox28815
Washington26223
Jackson2616
Morrow2612
Fulton2591
Hardin25713
Crawford2476
Ashland2464
Coshocton23411
Fayette2336
Highland2303
Williams2143
Wyandot21312
Pike2020
Gallia19613
Meigs17610
Guernsey1738
Hocking1679
Carroll1527
Adams1364
Van Wert1243
Monroe11018
Paulding1100
Harrison643
Morgan500
Vinton473
Noble340
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Scattered Clouds
50° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 50°
Angola
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 45°
Huntington
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 47°
Decatur
Overcast
50° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 50°
Van Wert
Overcast
50° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 50°
Few Showers Wednesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events