Life in the water

With our seafaring heritage, Swan Hellenic is committed both to the responsible use of marine resources for sustainable development and to conserving the health and biodiversity of our rivers, seas and oceans.

The stringent policies and advanced technologies that ensure our voyages by sea leave the pristine waters we explore uncontaminated for future generations are set out in detail in the Responsible Cruising section of our Sustainability pages. They are scrupulously complete and extend from the use of Advanced Wastewater Treatment systems and leading-edge potable water treatment systems to eco toiletries and a uniform policy that avoids all use of fleece fabrics. But we also have additional policies governing sustainable fish and seaborne activities away from our ultramodern cultural expedition cruise ships, including by Zodiac.

All Swan Hellenic expeditions and excursions by Zodiac follow strict biosecurity protocols that reduce any impact on the environment to a minimum and fully comply with the standards of and our obligations as members of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) and the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO).

Complementing these technologies and policies, we run two initiatives dedicated to the conservation of life in the water, conducted with our cultural expedition cruise guests in partnership with Happywhale, The Secchi Disk Foundation and The Polar Collective.

Whale Sightings and Identification for Happywhale

Happywhale’s mission is to increase global understanding and care for marine environments, motivated by a desire to learn more about whales, other marine mammals, and the ocean environment they – and we – depend on. We’ve joined forces with them to help our cultural expedition cruise guests become citizen scientists, contributing to global knowledge about whale numbers, behaviour and distribution.

What makes this possible is that every whale has a pattern on its fluke (tail) which is as unique as a human fingerprint. This means that geolocated photographs uploaded using the Happywhale app can be analysed by powerful computer software to identify each whale and track their movements around the world. A designated expedition leader on each cruise provides guests with all the support they need to take hi-res whale photos and upload the images using the app. As an extra pleasure, guests even get to name whales that have not previously been identified on Happywhale.

Secchi Disk Global Seafarer Study of Marine Phytoplankton

The Secchi Disk Study is the world's largest citizen science study of phytoplankton, the tiny plant-like algae that underpin the marine food chain and are altering in their abundance and distribution due to climate change. The Secchi Disk itself is a simple but effective way to estimate phytoplankton density.

A designated expedition leader teaches and assists our cultural expedition cruise guests to use the Secchi Disk, accompanying them by Zodiac to perform one water transparency measurement per team. The expedition leader then collects and uploads the data using the Secchi app, helping contribute to global understanding of phytoplankton health trends.

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