Life in the Water

Swan Hellenic is committed to the responsible use of marine resources, and to conserving the health and biodiversity of our rivers, seas and oceans. We leave the pristine waters we explore uncontaminated for future generations, thanks to the stringent policies and advanced technologies we use, which are outlined in the Responsible Cruising section of our Sustainability pages. We also have additional policies governing sustainable fish and seaborne activities away from our fleet of modern ships, including the strict biosecurity guidelines we follow on our expeditions and excursions by Zodiac.

Zodiac Expedition Biosecurity

All of our Zodiac expeditions and excursions follow strict biosecurity protocols, to 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). We also run initiatives dedicated to the conservation of life in the water, which complement these technologies and policies. These initiatives are conducted with guests in partnership with different organizations, such as Happywhale, and The Secchi Disk Foundation.

Happywhale Conservation research

Happywhale aim to increase global understanding and care for marine environments. Swan Hellenic work with them to help our guests become citizen scientists, contributing to global knowledge about whale numbers, behaviour, and distribution. Guests can join us in the work as citizen scientists because every whale has a pattern on its fluke (tail), which is as unique as a human fingerprint. This means geolocated photographs uploaded using the Happywhale app can be analysed to identify each individual whale and track its movements around the world. A designated expedition leacher on each voyage provides guests with all the support they need to take hi-resolution whale photos and upload the images using the app. Guests can even name whales that have previously been identified by Happywhale.

The Secchi Disk Seafarer Study

The Secchi Disk Seafarer Study is the world's largest citizen science study of phytoplankton, the tiny plant-like algae that underpin the marine food chain. A Secchi Disk is used to measure the clarity of seawater and the amount of phytoplankton at the sea surface. This is a simple but effective way to see how climate change is altering in phytoplankton abundance and distribution. Swan Hellenic guests interested in becoming citizen scientists work with designated expedition leader to learn how to use the Secchi Disk and set off on a Zodiac boat to perform a water transparency measurement. Then the expedition leader collects and uploads the data using a Secchi app, with the work helping contribute to global understanding of phytoplankton health trends.