Visitors to the tiny Pacific nation of Palau are being made to sign a promise to respect the environment, in an innovative move that authorities hope will curb ecological damage caused by booming numbers of tourists.
Claimed to be a world first, the "Palau Pledge" is stamped onto visitors' passports and must be signed upon arrival in the country, which lies in the western Pacific about halfway between Australia and Japan.
"I take this pledge as your guest, to protect and preserve your beautiful island home," it reads in part.
"I vow to tread lightly, act kindly and explore mindfully."
With crystal clear waters, pristine reefs and abundant sea life, Palau is regarded as one of the world's best diving spots and was once a niche tourist destination.
But visitor numbers have exploded in recent years, particularly from China, straining both infrastructure and the environment.
The symbolic pledge was written with the help of Palau's children and President Tommy Remengesau said it was about preserving the environment for future generations.
"Conservation is at the heart of our culture," he said.
"We rely on our environment to survive and if our beautiful country is lost to environmental degradation, we will be the last generation to enjoy both its beauty and life-sustaining biodiversity."
Palau welcomed almost 150,000 tourists last year, up 70 percent on 2010 figures and the nation of 20,000 has struggled to cope.
Some of the new arrivals have caused outrage among locals by capturing turtles so they can take selfies with them, walking on fragile coral and leaving trash on beaches.
"The Palau Pledge aims to encourage environmentally sound habits in visitors," the government said in a statement.
"If action is not taken now, it will get to the point where it is too late to protect some of the most unique parts of the country."
Although the solar boats used by seaZen are licence-free boats, although some of its customers have the boat license, seaZen has created the seaZen Academy, a world pioneer. The seaZen Academy boat tour does not offer a simple practice of a boat already very simple to use. It is above all a discovery of the subtleties of solar navigation, as well as the piloting of an electric boat.
According to the trainers of the SeaZen Academy:
"on a solar boat, it is easier to start from scratch than having to unlearn the reflexes of the thermal boats".
"This is mainly due to the difference in torque between the electric motor and the engine. A solar boat trip maneuver needs only 100 W, the power of a light bulb, we do not care about the speed of rotation of the engine. While on a thermal engine boat you have to turn at 2000 rpm to propel the boat with a minimum of torque."
Moreover, once at sea, the fossil fuel boat smells, vibrates so much and is so noisy that often the crews ask their skipper to go quickly to an anchorage rather than to make the navigation last as long as possible. It's the other way sailing a solar boat, a silent, quiet, odorless gliding is part of the fun. A new pleasure of navigation that the skipper will be able to share also with his crew while being positioned in front of them around the central cockpit.
Finally thanks to the training in how to manage the energy, the boat will not consume electricity and finally sail in total solar autonomy.
"The energy transition is less a matter of technological innovation, than a matter of men and new practices."
You too can discover the pleasure of solar boat rental in book service.
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