Sustainability & Environmental Initiatives
This page is about our Environmental Commitments. To learn about our Community Engagement, visit:
At North Marine, our work is underpinned by our commitment to sustainability. As a company of dedicated, seafaring Mariners, a passion for the ocean lies at our core.
We take action to minimise our footprint, embrace innovation by developing new technologies, are actively involved in scientific research and we support local environmental organisations.
On this page:
- North Marine’s Environmental Initiatives
- Minimising our ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT
- Steps to reduce our carbon footprint
- Sustainable & responsible reef practices
- Innovation: Adopting & developing technology for a better future
- Our commitment to SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH
- Minimising our ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT
- Supporting Local Organisations
- ENVIRONMENTAL Organisations
- Reef Restoration Foundation
- Citizens Of The Great Barrier Reef (Founding Partner & Ongoing Support)
- James Cook University’s Coral Larval Restoration Project
- WWF – Rivers to Reef to Turtles Project
- COMMUNITY Organisations
- AFL Cape York House – A Positive Future for Indigenous Australian Youth
- Cairns Local Marine Advisory Committee (LMAC)
- PCYC Queensland’s Youth Employment Programs
- ENVIRONMENTAL Organisations
- Community Engagement
North Marine’s Environmental Initiatives
At North Marine, not only do we support local organisations and ensure we are a responsible marine operator.
We also participate in scientific research, adopt innovative technologies and strive to contribute to conversations that affect the management of the Great Barrier Reef and surrounding habitats.
Minimising our Environmental Footprint
At North Marine, we have a three-pronged approach to minimising environmental impact:
- Take active steps to reduce our carbon footprint
- Practice sustainable & responsible reef practices
– including consultation with Traditional Owners & marine scientists
- Innovate. Adopt and develop technology for a better future
1. Taking Steps To Reduce Our Carbon Footprint
Since 2014, North Marine has proudly held the prestigious Climate Action Certified Business certification.
We work extremely hard to maintain this rating.
Learn about the things we do to reduce our footprint
North Marine attained Advanced Eco and Climate Action Certified Business Certifications in 2014. We work hard to maintain these ratings.
What is a Climate Action Business?
“Businesses that have undertaken a set of adaptation and emissions reduction actions and are measuring and tracking their carbon footprint.”
These nationally recognised certification programmes accredit businesses that are taking active steps to reduce their carbon footprint and practice sustainable and responsible reef practices.
Actions to Reduce Emissions & Promote Sustainable Practices
- We measure and track our carbon footprint using the GBRMPA emissions calculator.
- We frequently consult with “Sea Country Education Consultancy” to keep well-informed on Traditional Ecological Knowledge.
- We minimise waste, recycle and use recycled products where possible.
- Our marine vessels are well maintained and serviced regularly to ensure optimum fuel efficiency.
- Staff training: We implement staff training to reduce the chance of potential hazards and mitigate potential impacts. Our SMS and vessel documents contain emergency procedures, crew induction records and logged drills to ensure our staff are aware of and trained in dealing with potential environmental emergencies.
- Emergency Response Equipment: The necessary emergency response equipment is available for immediate use (e.g. oil spill kit, fire control and suppression equipment), and staff are trained in their use.
- We promote and facilitate the expansion of boat mooring infrastructure throughout Queensland waterways and the Marine Park. Using a mooring reduces the chance of a vessel or watercraft causing damage by dropping an anchor.
- We aim to maximise internal resource efficiency.
- Purchasing preference is given to local goods and services with recycling/sustainability policies, recycled material and/or lower emissions associated with their products.
- Our internal ‘Environmental Risk Assessment Audit Tool’ is reviewed frequently. It identifies potential environmental risks and evaluates the adequacy of our environmental management strategies and staff training to mitigate potential impacts. When considering potential risks, this tool is used in conjunction with each job’s individual JSA document (job safety analysis).
- Environmental Monitoring: North Marine actively participates in the GBRMPA sightings network program, ‘Eye on the Reef’, and has an incident reporting procedure in place.
- We sit on the Cairns Local Marine Advisory Committee (LMAC). In doing so, we are at the forefront of conversations regarding reef management. We offer insight and advice on matters affecting the region, including issues such as environmentally sustainable practices, ecology, and use.
2. Practising sustainable & responsible reef practices
Wherever we go, whatever we do, our North Marine crew are conscientious about sustainable and responsible reef practices. This includes engaging in regular consultations with Traditional Owners and marine scientists.
At North Marine, we are committed to sustainable and responsible environmental practices.
We employ robust environmental assessments and risk management protocols while complying with our obligations to clients and stakeholders.
At North Marine, we consult with a wide variety of marine experts, scientists, professionals and Traditional Owners to ensure that we are well-informed on issues that may affect – or result from – company operations.
The list of our consultants is too broad to list; however, includes the following:
- Authorities, including GBRMPA, DES conservation officers, QPWS, AMSA, Regional Harbour Master, MSQ, Local Council Officials
- Sea Country Education Consultancy to keep well-informed on Traditional Ecological Knowledge
- Marine scientists and experts from James Cook University. Furthermore, researchers and scientists frequently voyage on the North Marine fleet
- Traditional Owners – North Marine regularly hosts Traditional Owners on our vessels, particularly on our scientific research voyages
- Experts from our community partnerships – including from Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef, the Reef Restoration Foundation and the Great Barrier Reef Legacy.
- Professional firms, including Biosphere Environmental Consultants, Niboi Consulting, RPS Group, and Cavvnba Consulting
North Marine’s Environmental Management Plan
Furthermore, North Marine has a comprehensive Environmental Management Plan. Our plan covers key environmental management areas, including:
- Site Disturbance Management
- Waste Management
- Biodiversity Conservation
- Energy Use & Emissions
- Chemical Management
- Fuel Transportation & Transfer
- Noise Management
- Water Conservation
- Guest Behaviour Management
- Environmental Risk Assessment Tool
- Environmental Emergency Readiness & Response Plan
- Business Adaptation in Response to Climate Change
- Staff Training
North Marine’s Environmental Legal Obligations
North Marine is fully compliant with all legal obligations regarding company operations.
We hold the necessary permits for our vessels and for all of the areas in which we operate.
3. Innovation: Adopting & developing technology for a better future
North Marine is working to develop new technologies and adapt existing methodologies to protect the environment.
Since its origin, North Marine has been a company that embraces innovative means of protecting the Great Barrier Reef and Queensland waterways.
Environmentally Friendly Mooring Systems
North Marine is currently working on our own environmentally friendly mooring systems.
Our innovative boat anchorage design leaves only a tiny ecological footprint on the seafloor, with minimal surrounding disturbance.
Twenty-six of our environmentally friendly moorings have been approved for installation in the Coral Sea in 2023, and we hope this is just the beginning!
Our new, environmentally friendly mooring systems will offer many advantages to both the user and the Great Barrier Reef habitat.
Reducing Ocean Pollution
North Marine is currently developing new technology to reduce pollution. More information will be disclosed once Intellectual Property Rights are in place.
Experts In Our Industry – Advocating for Best Practice
North Marine is widely recognised as an expert in North Queensland marine support. One cornerstone of our business is providing local knowledge and marine consultancy services for Far North Queensland and the Torres Strait.
Furthermore, we have a long-standing reputation as ‘Mooring Specialists’. This influence reaches further than Australia. Our expert team deploy internationally to consult on best mooring practices and installation.
Our most recent international contract saw our crew travel to an island in the Pacific, where we conducted site assessments and advised on proposed locations for new marine infrastructure.
A Brief History of our Commitment to Best Practices
In its early days, the company was instrumental in developing and implementing positive changes to protect and showcase Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
In the ’80s and ’90s, our founder, Tim North, pioneered for the use of boat moorings throughout Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef.
Formerly an uncommon practice, he advocated with Government and industry partners for permanent mooring installations – to limit the potential damage caused when vessels drop anchor.
The use of mooring block systems remains widespread throughout the Marine Park to this day.
North Marine’s Commitment To Scientific Research
North Marine collaborates with institutions conducting scientific research projects, by supplying vessels and crew.
In 2022, North Marine vessels were engaged in over ten voyages that were either explicitly for the purpose of scientific research or contained an aspect of scientific research.
We are proud of our contribution to science and pledge our ongoing support of environmental research in the future.
North Marine has an ongoing relationship with Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef, having surveyed over 200 reefs by the end of 2022. We have pledged our continued support to their Great Reef Census in 2023 and moving beyond.
Most recently, we’ve worked with James Cook University for their Coral Larval Restoration project, and for GBRMPA in an ongoing capacity (project currently unable to be disclosed).
We donated the time and expertise of our commercial dive team to the Reef Restoration Foundation to install coral nurseries at Fitzroy Island and at Moore Reef.
North Marine has provided vessel resources to Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Center, the WWF’s ‘Rivers to Reef to Turtles Project,’ and the Minke Whale Project for its tagging research.
Learn more about each of these projects in the ‘Supporting Local Organisations’ section, below.
Supporting Local Organisations
North Marine supports a range of social and environmental organisations in North Queensland.
We are committed to giving back by participating in causes that support a positive future.
Reef Restoration Foundation
North Marine proudly donates the skills, time and resources of our Commercial Diving Department to the Reef Restoration Foundation.
Their critical and valuable work aligns with our values for reef preservation, and in this instance, coral regeneration.
The Reef Restoration Foundation is a not-for-profit whose goal is to address climate change, water quality and other pressures affecting the Great Barrier Reef.
Installing a Coral Nursery at Fitzroy Island, Queensland
North Marine is delighted to donate our fantastic commercial dive team’s time, resources and expertise.
Our skilled divers were deployed to assist with the installation of a ‘coral tree nursery’, at Fitzroy Island Resort, on Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef.
Citizens Of The Great Barrier Reef - Founding Partner & Ongoing Support
North Marine is proudly a Founding Partner of the Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef, and we pledge to them our ongoing support.
Every year, North Marine actively participates in their Great Barrier Reef Census.
With the first commercial vessels to ever participate in the study, the North Marine fleet collects critical data.
Having surveyed over 200 reefs by the end of 2022, we have committed to continuing our relationship in 2023.
Because our work covers an extensive area of Queensland waters, we collect data from reefs as far and wide as Townsville in the south to the Torres Strait Islands in the north.
James Cook University - Coral Larval Restoration Project
Watch the terrific video below, where North Marine’s commercial dive division install coral larval collection structures for James Cook University’s ‘Coral Larval Restoration Project‘.
North Marine installed the structures on the Outer Great Barrier Reef, at Moore Reef Queensland.
These coral larval collection structures aim to gather valuable data samples to assist in the research of coral reproduction.
The research work is hoped to rapidly advance the potential for large-scale reef recovery.
WWF - Rivers to Reef to Turtles Project
North Marine’s tugboat, the Gulf Explorer, participated in WWF-Australia’s “Rivers to Reef to Turtles Project”.
The vessel, crew and scientists voyaged to a far-north section of the Great Barrier Reef, to the remote and isolated Howick Group of Islands.
The trip focus was for Researchers to undertake turtle health sampling. This included tagging, weighing and measuring the turtles for population studies, assessing their genetics and undertaking toxicological environmental sampling.
Further, the study collected data for other complementary projects, which included Researchers collecting data from 15 dugongs.
The Rivers to Reef to Turtles Project was supported by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) and the Queensland Government’s Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP).
You can view our involvement by downloading the ‘River to Reef to Turtles Research Update Howick August 2015 PDF’ from the WWF Resources Library.
James Cook University - Minke Whale Project
The Minke Whale Project is a non-profit research group established by James Cook University to support research into dwarf minke whale biology and behaviour.
North Marine supplied the use of vessels for the Minke Whale Project, on a voyage on the Great Barrier Reef.
The primary purpose was to attach satellite tags to the whales to learn about their migration habits.
Over three seasons, the Minke Whale Project was able to attach temporary satellite tags to twenty-six whales.
Because of contributions from scientists, research volunteers, and crew photographs, the team at JCU were able to conduct the most complete data analysis from digital imagery – following the voyages undertaken that year.
AFL Cape York House - A Positive Future for Indigenous Australian Youth
Cape York House is a not-for-profit organisation that provides education, support and accommodation for young indigenous Australians.
North Marine’s ongoing relationship with Cape York house allows us to facilitate events and showcase maritime career opportunities to young indigenous people.
View the recent article that appeared in the First Nations Telegraph, the Cairns Post and Cape York Weekly – where North Marine connects Sea Swift and Cape York House to provide a tour of their marine facility in Cairns.
Further to this, in an initiative to foster training pathways for the young and indigenous in the community, North Marine created a “Commercial Dive Traineeship Program.” Our commercial dive trainee program is the first of its kind in the region. (Read more about this program above).
Cairns Local Marine Advisory Committee (LMAC)
By sitting on the Cairns LMAC, North Marine can offer insight and advice on matters affecting the region. These include Marine Park issues such as environmentally sustainable practices, ecology, and use.
Cairns LMAC enables community stakeholders to provide effective input and observations regarding the management of the Great Barrier Reef.
A long history of advocating for the Reef
North Marine has a long history of advocating for practical measures that protect the Great Barrier Reef.
In the ’80s and ’90s, the company’s founder, Tim North, campaigned for the installation of permanent moorings throughout the marine park.
The goal was successful, and to this day moorings minimise the environmental impact of anchors.
Today, North Marine is developing another environmentally friendly mooring system, to protect the natural ecosystem further and minimise footprint.
PCYC Queensland's Youth Employment Programs
Improving youth employment opportunities is a cause North Marine passionately supports.
Some North Marine crew volunteer as Volunteer Driver Mentors for the Braking the Cycle Program.
Please read more about our involvement with this project, in the ‘Supporting Youth & Indigenous Employment’ area at the top of this page.
About PCYC Queensland
The PCYC (Police-Citizens Youth Club) offers youth and community development programs in low socio-economic areas.
Their initiatives aim to impact local cohesion and build safer communities.
To learn about all the wonderful things we do in the communities in which we operate, please visit our Sustainability & Community page, here:
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*Links on the North Marine website to external entities & content are the responsibility of that entity and are provided for informative purposes. North Marine takes no responsibility for the content or opinions offered therein.