Going Green & Giving Back
Major Marine Tours is committed to giving back to our community and promoting environmental responsibility in Alaska. Many of us call Alaska home and we are dedicated to supporting the communities that help support us. We are committed to protecting Alaska’s wildlife and landscapes so we can continue sharing Alaska’s grandeur and beauty with our guests. The owner of Major Marine Tours, Tom Tougas, was given the 2016 Business Energy Efficiency Leader of the Year Award from the Seward Alternative Energy Group for his continued commitment to implementing energy efficient and environmentally responsible practices at Major Marine Tours. In 2018, Major Marine Tours was awarded the Alaska Ocean Leadership Stewardship and Sustainability Award by the Alaska SeaLife Center, recognizing our commitment to the sustainability of ocean resources.
Commitment to Environmental Responsibility
All of our vessels comply with current Environmental Protection Agency and Coast Guard regulations regarding emissions, and several of our vessels have been outfitted with environmentally-friendly engines and other innovations to further reduce emissions and save fuel. The Star of the Northwest, Spirit of Adventure, Orca Song, and our new vessel the Kenai Fjords 360 are equipped with EPA Tier III fuel-efficient and low emissions engines, and the Viewfinder is equipped with an EPA Tier II fuel-efficient and low emissions engine. The Glacier Express has a platinum injection system to further reduce emissions. We will continue to invest in technology to reduce fuel usage, emissions, noise, and wake.
We use environmentally-friendly cleaning solutions, Coast Guard-approved sewage treatment systems, biodegradable wildlife-safe hydraulic oil, and eco-friendly vessel bottom coatings. All engine oils are recycled and used as heating fuel for buildings. We recycle when possible and promote recycling on our cruises.
Reducing Single-Use Plastic
Single-use plastic can be detrimental to the environment and is particularly harmful to marine animals. Over 8 million tons of plastic ends up in the ocean every year, and about 90% of that is single-use plastic. We are currently working on ways to reduce or eliminate the use of single-use plastics, such as:
- Installing water bottle filling stations on our vessels
- Using biodegradable straws, cold cups, dinner plates, and cutlery
- Switching from disposable plastic oil drums to large reusable steel containers
- Buying cleaning solutions in large drums rather than small plastic containers
- Sending food waste to Turning Heads Kennel to reduce trash bag usage and waste
- Currently researching biodegradable options for trash bags and ziplock bags
Marine Research and Wildlife Rehabilitation
Major Marine Tours partners with the Alaska SeaLife Center to promote marine research and wildlife rehabilitation in Alaska. Our guests are invited to donate to the Alaska SeaLife Center at the time of reservation to raise funds for the Wildlife Response Program, which responds to and rehabilitates wildlife that has been abandoned, stranded, or injured throughout Alaska. Additionally, all of the proceeds from our boarding photos are donated to the Alaska SeaLife Center and we conduct other fundraisers throughout the year to benefit the SeaLife Center. Additionally, we have helped the Alaska SeaLife Center release rehabilitated wildlife into Kenai Fjords National Park from our vessels.
Alaska SeaLife Center Harbor Seal Release into Northwestern Fjord
Help the SeaLife Center continue their efforts to monitor endangered Steller sea lions! Donate to their fundraiser to help purchase and install new digital video equipment for non-invasive live video tracking of these animals.
Responsible Whale Watching Practices: Whale SEnse
Major Marine Tours is a proud participant of Whale SENSE, a voluntary education and recognition program sponsored by NOAA Fisheries and Whale and Dolphin Conservation. Whale SENSE recognizes whale watching companies that are committed to responsible whale watching practices. Major Marine Tours has committed to the following Whale SENSE guidelines:
- Stick to the regional whale watching guidelines.
- Educate naturalists, captains, and passengers to have SENSE while watching whales.
- Notify appropriate networks of whales in distress.
- Set an example for other boaters.
- Encourage ocean stewardship.
We partner with National Park Service to promote environmental education through our onboard Park Ranger narration and Junior Ranger Program. These programs educate our guests on the history and ecology of Kenai Fjords National Park and highlight how climate change is impacting this area. Major Marine Tours was the first cruise operator out of Seward to partner with the National Park Service, and we are proud of our long-standing partnership with the National Park Service to promote environmental education in Alaska.
Adventure Green Alaska Certification
Major Marine Tours and our partner company Harbor 360 Hotel are both certified “Green Businesses” through the Adventure Green Alaska program, the only sustainable tourism certification program in Alaska. This voluntary certification process, overseen by the Alaska Tourism Industry Association, recognizes tourism businesses who practice economic, environmental, social, and cultural sustainability.
Major Marine Tours was honored to be the recipient of the Alaska Ocean Leadership Stewardship and Sustainability Award from the Alaska SeaLife Center in 2018. Owner Tom Tougas was presented with the Business Energy Efficiency Leader of the Year Award from the Seward Alternative Energy Group in 2016.
PARTNERSHIPS WITH nON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS
Major Marine Tours has partnered with the following non-profit organizations: