Business working to protect the reef
OCEAN RAFTING is one Whitsunday business doing its bit for the environment and has cut fuel and oil use by 30 per cent in recent years.
It's an achievement which has made them industry leaders in responding to climate change and looking after the Great Barrier Reef.
Owners of Ocean Rafting, Jan and Peter Claxton, said they had slashed their carbon emissions by replacing two-stroke engines on their semi-rigid inflatable boats (RIBS) with ultra low-emission four-stroke engines.
"The four-strokes are more reliable and have fewer environmental impacts" Mrs Claxton said.
"Our clients have commented that the engines are much quieter and the exhaust fumes aren't as smelly.
"Our business is intrinsically linked to the health and welfare of the reef so we feel a strong sense of duty to minimise our impact on climate change" She said.
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GRMPA) Tourism and Recreation Director Chris Briggs said high standard tourism operators such as Ocean Rafting were leading the way in looking after the marine environment.
"A healthy reef is vital to a healthy tourism industry and operators who implement best practice are minimising their impact on the reef while also improving their position in the marketplace".
The GRMPA is recognising marine tourism operators who take action on climate change and encourage other operators to adopt best environmental practices.
"The Great Barrier Reef Tourism Climate Change Action Strategy recognises there are considerable savings to be made by calculating, reducing and monitoring emissions," Mr Briggs said.
"We've worked with tourism operators to develop the first online emissions calculator specific to the marine tourism industry and we recommend it to anyone wanting to get a better picture of where they can make savings."