Climbing the Sustainability Ladder: Wakatere Boating Club - Sailors for the Sea

Climbing the Sustainability Ladder: Wakatere Boating Club

 September 21, 2022  | By: Jennifer Brett

WBC members pack up grab-and-go lunches in reusable bags.

Wakatere Boating Club, located in Auckland, New Zealand, is starting the fifth season of their sustainability plan, and the Clean Regattas program has played a big role in developing the overall structure. I reached out to Delayne Salthouse, the club’s sustainability officer, for a little insight into the club’s success with their green initiatives, what challenges they have faced, and what they are still hoping to achieve.

Sailors for the Sea: Wakatere Boating Club (WBC) has been involved in the Clean Regattas program since 2018, achieving a Silver certification, and now is achieving Platinum events in 2022. What can you attribute the success to?

Delayne Salthouse: Once we had achieved our first Silver certification, we felt confident in the changes we were making at the club and continued to develop our improvements to incorporate these environmental standards into our everyday club activities. This meant that running Gold and Platinum events required less work than the first Silver because we already had a large number of Best Practices in place. As we’ve made more of these Best Practices standard requirements for daily club activities, we’ve been able to achieve four Platinum certifications and our plan is to continue to run national and regional regattas at the Platinum standard.

SfS: How have things changed at the club over these last few years in terms of sustainability?

DS: I think our club members are very proud of our SFTS Clean Regatta achievements and this has resulted in a growing awareness of environmental and sustainability issues. Big decisions made at the club are considered with an environmental lens now, along with all the financial, social and sporting considerations that need to be factored in. This is hugely rewarding and a great result of having a sustainability representative on our General Committee.

A challenge that WSB faces is getting people to separate their waste into the appropriate bins.

SfS: What sorts of challenges did the pandemic present to running Clean Regattas?

DS: In some ways, the pandemic made things easier—for example, there were no social functions held at the club, so our volume of waste was greatly reduced. For us, this highlighted that, going forward, we could simplify social aspects of regattas and keep consumption in general a little less extravagant.

We also found we had fewer volunteers and our normal Green Team was not available. The positive of this, however, was that the new volunteers who stepped up have now learned the knowledge of how to run a Clean Regatta.

SfS: Which of the Clean Regattas Best Practices has the club had the easiest time implementing, and which are more difficult?

DS: Our waste management plan is easy to implement but it’s always a challenge to get everybody to pay attention to which bin they use to get rid of their rubbish. It’s also a nasty job for our Green Team to have to sort the rubbish people don’t take enough time to bin correctly. To counter this, we are constantly trying new types of signage and messaging to get people to take a second to consider which bin to use.

SfS: Does WBC routinely face any sort of roadblocks to implementing any of the Best Practices (or have there been any significant roadblocks in the past)?

DS: It’s always a challenge to have each of our food suppliers consider the food wrapping. Because of this we try to mostly use the local suppliers who are happy to work with us and our Clean Regatta requirements, but that also means that we are choosing to miss some of the food options that come with excess packaging. At the end of the day—that’s just fine by us.

Clear signage helps to enforce the Clean Regattas Best Practices and educate the club’s members and regatta participants.

SfS: What’s the next sustainability goal for WBC?

DS: Our next sustainability goal is looking at our local Narrow Neck Beach shellfish population and considering a restoration project in conjunction with local Marine Biologists and community groups. Similar to how we began our Sailors for the Sea Clean Regatta journey, we plan to start small, learn what is required and continue to develop this goal. The first step is just taking one in the right direction!

SfS: Do you have any advice to any regatta organizer or club that is interested in hosting a Clean Regatta for the first time?

DS: Definitely! I would highly recommend just getting on board, make a start and see where it leads you. What I also would recommend is taking your members, guests and competitors along for the ride. Involve them as much as you can, make them feel like they are part of the journey and make them see where they are contributing to your Clean Regatta goals. Give plenty of feedback and updates as the regatta progresses.

Having water stations available is an important part of successfully running a Clean Regatta.