In 2010, we were awarded GOLD Green Business Award by the Visit Scotland Green Tourism Scheme.
What is the Green Tourism Business Award?
Global warming, climate change, loss of biodiversity, pollution, loss of habitat – human activities undoubtedly have an impact on our planet and the wildlife that share it with us. Of these global warming and climate change not only have severe implications for wildlife but for the human race as well. It’s up to all of us to reduce the impacts of our activities on the environment and to work towards more sustainable lifestyle.
Green Tourism is used to describe best environmental practice within the tourism sector and covers issues including business efficiency, environmental management, waste and transport, as well as this it covers topics like biodiversity. Green Tourism is a major part of Sustainable Tourism which takes into account the needs of the environment, culture, local residents, businesses and visitors.
The main aims of the scheme are to encourage businesses to become more sustainable by improving their environmental, economic and social operation, to give the consumer a green choice and to help meet targets for sustainability.
How Sea Life Surveys Is Going GREEN: - Summary of Green Actions:
The following is a summary of our green actions aimed at reducing the impact of our activities on the environment:
Research and Education:
Data on sightings and environmental factors is collected on our trips using onboard computer system LOGGER, dive times and photo ID images are also taken of minke whales, orca and bottlenose dolphins. One of our key aims is also to educate people about the marine environment, on board each trip there is an experienced wildlife guide and a quiz for the children.
The aim is to reduce our energy use and become more energy efficient, to do this we need to monitor how much energy we consume and analyse how to reduce it. By lowering our energy consumption we reduce our demand on fossil fuels, the burning of which releases gases such as carbon dioxide which could be inducing climate change and causing global warming. Burning fossil fuels is also putting increasing demand on dwindling natural resources such as coal and oil, and is thus unsustainable.
Sea Life Surveys will be monitoring its fuel usage for the boats and minibus and our electricity usage in the office.
Waste Monitoring and Recycling:
Recycling bins for paper, cans and glass are available on the boats, which are taken up to the office after trips where there are large recycling bins for each. Used oil is also taken for recycling. The amount of remaining waste is monitored in order to highlight other ways of reducing the amount produced. Used ink cartridges in the office are sent away for recycling reducing demand on raw materials to make new ones. Stamps are also sent away to the RSPB’s Save the Albatross Campaign.
Sea Life Surveys aims to use recycled products where economically feasible, these include:
Sea Life Surveys is also looking to asses other recycled products that could be used within the business such as recycled bin bags and toilet paper.
Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products:
Sea Life Surveys uses Ecover cleaning products in the office and on its boats. Ecover products are made in an ecologically, economically and socially sustainable way and are based on renewable plant materials that are 100% biodegradable and have minimum toxicity.
Fair Trade Tea and Coffee
Sea Life Surveys provides Fair Trade coffee on its boats, and is looking at providing fair trade tea on the boats and fair trade options in the visitor centre.
Sea Life Surveys aims to encourage its visitors to use public transport through providing information on timetables for buses, trains and ferries. We also run a courtesy mini bus service to pick people up from the ferry. Ferry operators Caledonian McBrayne also take bookings for our trips and offer a joint ticket of ferry and trip from their Tourshop in Oban, saving people bringing their cars over to Mull. We also provide information on places to hire bikes on the island.
Fuel usage for the mini bus service is also monitored, and the possibility of offsetting the carbon dioxide emissions from this service with the planting of trees is to be investigated.
Marine Litter Monitoring:
This is a key problem we are looking to tackle, by raising public awareness through our research and by taking part in various campaigns such as Bag It and Bin It Don’t Flush It and Adopt a Beach.
Be a Responsible Visitor! – 8 things you can do to help save the planet:
1. Conserve Energy – reduce your energy usage by switching off lights and closing windows if the heating is on. The Energy Saving Trust can provide you with more information on how you can save energy at home. visit
2. Leave the Car at Home if only for a day! Walk, cycle or use public transport
3. Shop Local – Local products give you a flavour of the area and help support local communities, we are fortunate to have some fantastic producers of food, drink, arts and crafts in our area ... try some tasty mull cheese, have a nip of Tobermory Whiskey ...
4. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – Try to avoid overly packaged goods and try and recycle as much waste as possible
5. Say Goodbye to the Plastic Bag – buy a bag for life or use a canvas bag for your shopping.
6. Be Water Wise – Use water wisely, turn off the tap when brushing your teeth and adhere to water saving initiatives
7. Respect Nature – Look after the landscape and wildlife by not littering, guarding against fire and using footpaths and cycle-ways responsibly
8. Support Green Businesses – There are hundreds of businesses trying to reduce their environmental impacts through the Green Tourism Business Scheme and other Environmental Management Schemes such as ISO14001. Look out for these ...
Most important of all enjoy your time here on Mull – we’d love you to come back!
You may have noticed if you have been on one of our boat trips that Sea Life Surveys displays the following logo:
This is a training and accreditation scheme aimed at marine operators who may come into contact with marine wildlife such as whales, dolphins, seals and sharks. Obviously Sea Life Surveys falls into this category! By undertaking this course Sea Life Surveys skippers have been trained in how to approach marine wildlife and how to minimise the disturbance of our activities to these animals.
There is a wealth of marine wildlife right the way round the UK however it is all vulnerable to disturbance, the consequences of which are short term including injury or disturbance of behaviour i.e. feeding, but there are also long term consequences with possible affects on fitness having negative effects on survival and reproduction. Some of the consequences of harassment of cetaceans and basking sharks by boat owners are highlighted in the ‘Chasing Dolphin’ report produced by the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society.
This highlights why it is so important that operators that come into regular contact with these creatures need to be trained in how to reduce the disturbance caused. The positive conservation, education and research benefits of our trips must not be undone by increased levels of disturbance and stress caused by our appearance to the very animals we are trying to protect.
Sea Life Surveys is just one of many WiSe operators around the UK and we would encourage our passengers and visitors to look for these operators when going marine wildlife watching around the UK.
A list of accredited operators can be found on the WiSe website
What people are saying about us:
"It was the best wildlife trip on a boat I have had in Great Britain!" - Malcolm Stannary, 14 July 2011
"Sea Life Surveys was my sole reason for travelling to Mull and Tobermory. Having been a participant in many expeditions and wildlife excursions over the years, I can undoubtedly say that Sea Life Surveys stands out head and shoulders above the rest. The professionalism, friendliness, knowledge and safety aspect of all staff members is first class. You should feel proud in the excellent service you provide. I shall certainly be recommending you to friends, colleagues and family. I hope to return here in the future to experience more of this beautiful area and amazing wildlife. Well done to all concerned and a huge ‘Thank-you’ for your help and hospitality" - Andy Currie
"Was afraid the trip might be 'dumbed' down for the kids. But it wasn’t. The most non-touristy professionally run trip I have been on!!" - Michael Rowan, Bucks
"Really enjoyable with info from guides who obviously are interested in the work" - Chris Moore, Glasgow
"Thanks for a fab week, I'm so lucky to have such lovely people to spend time with while im here on Mull" - Andy Tait
"Many thanks for a nice day - sadly no whales - but all the crew where lovely and full of information" - Paul & Gerry
"Thanks for another fab trip out ... back up in September and might just treat myself again! Best wishes" - Liz Hallom
"Our trip was wonderful, both of us felt very relaxed throughout the trip. The crew were so friendly & helpful. What an incredible experience, thank you." - Mr & Mrs Rogers
"The trip was fantastic. I was amazed that you could see whales & dolphins so close to home. We felt extremly relaxed from the minute we stepped aboard, well done guys, see you next year!" - MacDonald family
"Just a little note to say that we had such a good time. The company was excellent and we were so thoughtfully cared for by James, Lewis and Cindy, thankyou all." - Cathy Findlay and Ian McMillan
"Thouroughly enjoyed it!" - Chris Quirt
"Excellent afternoon" - S & C Bailey
"Very enjoyable, well done & thanks" - Kate Shawyer