Port of San Diego tenant and partner Hornblower Cruises & Events has taken its environmentally friendly business tactics to the waters of San Diego Bay. With a fleet of seven vessels, Hornblower offers daily harbor tours as well as special event tours and charter events.
The company is among 54 Port of San Diego waterfront businesses participating in the Green Business Challenge. The challenge – the first of its kind on the West Coast – promotes business practices that reduce energy consumption, water use and waste, as well as prevent pollution.
“Hornblower has always enjoyed the collaboration with the Port of San Diego and other tenants about environmental concerns,” said Vice President of Hornblower Cruises & Events Jim Unger. “The Green Business Challenge is a great way to build a culture where we can share ideas and educate one another on projects that further the environmental efforts of the Port and the region.”
Hornblower also launched an eco-friendly boating experience with its daily “green harbor tour.”
“The tour aboard Adventure Hornblower is offered eight times a day and highlights environmental projects of Hornblower Cruises & Events, the Port of San Diego and the San Diego Port Tenants Association,” Unger said.
Hornblower is also voluntarily participating in the Port’s EPA-funded Alternative Hull Paint study. The testing program began two years ago, when 10 of the study’s copper-free hull paints were applied as stripes on the side of the Hornblower vessel, Newport Hornblower.
“Now, all of the Hornblower fleet is participating and has eco-friendly paint on its hulls,” Unger said.
Another environmentally sustainable practice shared by both the Port of San Diego and Hornblower is shore power. Both of the Port District’s cruise ship terminals have implemented shore power technology.
Shore power is the process of switching from a ship's onboard diesel power supply to shore-based electrical power while the ship is at the dock. This process greatly reduces polluting air emissions from the ships since electricity from the grid is much cleaner than electricity generated from diesel engines.
“When Hornblower vessels are dockside, we use shore power,” said Unger. “We plug in for power to run lights, heating, air conditioning and for hot water. The vessels use power provided by San Diego Gas and Electric.”
Hornblower’s parent company also invented the first plug-in hybrid boat for the state of California, which is based in San Francisco.
“The company hopes to make the Adventure Hornblower San Diego’s first hybrid in the next few years,” Unger said.
As an environmental steward of San Diego Bay, the Port of San Diego has adopted environmental policies to protect San Diego Bay and the surrounding land. It has established a Green Port program to minimize its environmental footprint, and established an environmental fund, which has helped fund more than 60 projects around Port District tidelands.
The Port of San Diego was created by state legislature in 1962 and is responsible for $1.7 billion in public improvements in its five member cities: Imperial Beach, San Diego, Coronado, Chula Vista and National City.
The Port District oversees two maritime cargo terminals, two cruise ship terminals, 17 public parks, the Harbor Police Department and the leases of more than 600 tenant and sub tenant businesses around San Diego Bay.