Posted on: December 6, 2010

Pacific Whale Foundation Receives the Prestigious William M. Benkert Marine Environmental Protection Award

Dec. 6, 2010– The United States Coast Guard today awarded Pacific Whale Foundation the prestigious William M. Benkert Marine Environmental Bronze Award for Excellence for outstanding achievements in marine environmental protection. The William M. Benkert Award is the Coast Guard’s premiere marine environmental protection award and is given to members of the Marine Industry that have demonstrated sustained excellence and outstanding achievement in protecting the marine environment. Greg Kaufman, Founder, President and Chief Scientist for Pacific Whale Foundation, accepted the award at an awards luncheon in San Diego, California.

“I am incredibly honored and proud to accept this award on behalf of Pacific Whale Foundation,” said Greg Kaufman. “We are an organization that is committed to raising the bar in the area of marine environmental protection. We are continually identifying, using, testing and modeling innovative environmentally sound techniques and products that allow us to better protect the marine environment. As Hawaii’s largest ocean ecotour operator, we have been able to demonstrate that leadership in environmental protection and success truly go hand in hand.”

In accepting the award, Kaufman spoke about Pacific Whale Foundation’s fleet of eco-friendly vessels that were built for watching whales and other wildlife in the most responsible and environmentally friendly manner. Kaufman also announced the organization’s plans to construct a new solar and wind powered vessel, Ocean Navigator.

Pacific Whale Foundation’s current fleet is comprised of high-tech, eco-friendly vessels that employ skewed propellers to reduce underwater sound, hulls designed to minimize vessel wake, and Tier 2 diesel engines equipped with hospital grade mufflers. The vessels also feature KleenOil filtration systems to recycle oil, and lab testing to determine precisely when changes are needed. As part of the company’s certified waste management program, Pacific Whale Foundation’s vessels are required to utilize the pump-out facilities in Lahaina, and Ma’alaea-based vessels are pumped-out using Pacific Whale Foundation’s own pump-out truck.

“By utilizing the KleenOil OnBoard Oil Recycling System and PowerUp Lubricants, Pacific Whale Foundation has reduced the environmental impact of needlessly wasted oil and fuel,” said Mike Richardson, Marine Division Partner for Triad Lubrication. “It is difficult to be an environmentally friendly company and reduce operating costs at the same time, but Pacific Whale Foundation has done just that. Congratulations!”

To reduce the amount of fuel required for shipping, Pacific Whale Foundation chooses locally grown produce and locally produced products to serve to passengers whenever possible. Reef safe sunscreen is also provided for free to passengers as an alternative to conventional sunscreens for the health of Hawaii’s coral reefs. In addition, all vessels are supplied with biocompostable food service products such as cups, plates, and forks that are made of corn or potato starch and are “tree free” and “petroleum free.”  These items also decompose quickly and can help to reduce landfill waste.

All Pacific Whale Foundation vessels are equipped with United States Coast Guard approved ‘Whale Protection Devices’ to protect whales and dolphins by guiding the animals away from propellers and rudders. Pacific Whale Foundation follows strict ‘Be Whale Aware’ guidelines, along with all state and federal laws, and ensure their vessels travel at slow speeds to minimize the risk of collisions.

All profits from Pacific Whale Foundation’s ecotours are directed to research, education and advocacy programs that help protect whales, dolphins and the ocean environment.

To learn more about the prestigious William M. Benkert Marine Environmental Protection Award, readers can visit homeport.uscg.mil/benkert