By Founder and Guide Charlie Howard
By Founder and Guide Charlie Howard
As local Alaskans, being eco-friendly and respectful to the environment is very important to us. When my wife and I came up with the idea of using jet skis to explore the Alaskan backcountry, one of the biggest challenges was how to create an eco-friendly jet ski tour with a small environmental impact.
As the first to operate jet ski tours in Alaska, we knew it would be up to us to set the industry standard for responsible operations for this new and exciting style of tour. We looked at fuel consumption, noise level, capacity and riding style. Below you can read about what we have done to create a fun yet eco-friendly jet ski experience in Prince William Sound!
We chose the SeaDoo watercraft because they are the most fuel-efficient in the industry. All of the models on our jet ski tours are five-star EPA-rated motors for emissions and for noise output. They are some of the cleanest burning and quietest vessels operating in the Sound.
Powered by quiet, clean-burning 5 star EPA rated 4 stroke engines our SeaDoo watercraft are some of the most eco-friendly machines. SeaDoo’s 5 star EPA rated engines run cleaner and quieter than modern compact cars. Still, we wanted to see if we could make the machines quieter to ensure our tours had a small impact on the environment and other user groups in the area. After experimenting with different products we have found one that reduces the noise of our engines to a level lower than other vessels operating in the area.
While lots of people thought Bec and I were crazy when we started using a jet ski in Alaska for tours. We always felt that once word got out the idea would grow! We could never have dreamed that demand would grow to what it is today or that other operators would follow our lead.
Even with demand for tours high, we feel it’s environmentally sustainable to launch only two jet ski tours a day into Blackstone Bay. We limit those tours to six client jet skis. Limiting our launches and group size is the biggest way to reduce our impact on the environment, wildlife and other user groups operating tours in the area. We are committed to staying what made us successful… being a small family guiding service that will always put client satisfaction and the pristine areas we operate in before profit.
We thought that it was also responsible to look at how we traveled through the area and how that affected the wildlife and user groups that we share Prince William Sound with. What we quickly realized was that if we passed through an area checking the coastline and wildlife out the impact was minimal and feedback from others was positive. The moment we started ripping and riding continuously in one area that impact went up dramatically. So for that reason, our tour groups do not stop and “freeride” in the environmentally sensitive areas we operate our jet ski tours in. Instead, we have our fun cruising the steep fjord cliffs, carving in and out of bays, stopping for a few moments in the special spots and then gratefully moving on.
If we do go to shore for any reason we try to stay below the high tide line on the beach itself. This reduces our impacts in the fragile mosses and plants that make all of Prince William Sound so lush and green!
We are extremely proud of how we have turned an activity usually in conflict with the environment and other user groups, and presented it in a new light that aligns with a leave no trace and respect for others mentality. We firmly believe you will be impressed with the way we have created a jet ski tour that we are proud to call ECO-FRIENDLY!