Green Tourism

Our Environmental Statement

Ever since the early days of Seabirds and Seals we have been committed to operating our tours in a responsible manner. Our business is wildlife tourism and run by passionate nature-lovers for those with an appreciation of the natural world.. We have a passion for conservation and the need to ensure the long-term protection of species and habitats.  We are committed to responsible tourism where we respect nature and encourage clients to do the same.  We are nature lovers that through observations and studies wish to preserve the environment, keeping our connection with our marine wildlife alive and we will lead by example.  

We advocate working with local communities and leaving a positive impact on the destinations we visit and this has always been a fundamental part of our business.

At all times we adhere to the Nature Scot Marine Code of Conduct and we are also WiSe accredited operators, proudly adhering to strict protocols to minimize disturbance to marine widlife.  Since 1992 we have been the business of choice for conducting winter ornithological and seabird surveys for Aberdeen University’s SOTEAG (Shetland Oil Terminal Environmental Group) and Atlantic Grey Seal surveys for the Scottish Government conservation agency Nature Scot. 

You can find the Nature Scot Marine Code of Conduct by clicking here.

Both skippers and guide Marie are WiSe accredited and the only Shetland Skippers to have this accreditation.  We are passionate about the wildlife we are lucky enough to have on our doorstep and love to inspire our passengers, with that comes a responsibility to do it ethically and responsibly. The welfare of the wildlife always comes first.

We are again this year ‘Seawatch Foundation’ Recommended Boat Operator.  They are a national marine environmental charity working to improve the conservation of whales, dolphins and porpoises in the seas around Britain and Ireland.  We work closely with Seawatch by reporting sightings and they know we are always there to assist where we can, with any surveys to gather important data to help towards the conservation of our marine wildlife.  


WiSe Scheme Accreditation





Responsible Visitor Charter

Seabirds-and-Seals, its staff and crew are dedicated to the protection of our cruising areas by applying sound sustainability practices at work, home and the wider community.  We invite our guests to follow in our footsteps and help reduce their impact on the environment whilst visiting us.  Please consider adopting these measures as you travel and cruise with us.  

Consider Using Public Transport

Choosing to travel by bus will not only benefit the environment, but it can be the most scenic way of travelling to your embarkation point. Shetland is very well-connected with public transport and we would encourage visitors to use the public transport where they can.  You can find the routes and timetables here.

If you have an electric vehicle to reach our destination point in Lerwick, you will find charging points available throughout Lerwick. This includes the Victoria Pier, the old swimming pool car park and across from Morton Lodge No.89. You can find a full list of charging points throughout Shetland here

You can also rent both normal and electric bikes in Shetland. In Lerwick, you can rent bikes from JRJ Shetland and Shetland Community Bike Project. We have storage onboard for bicycles but only a minimum number of 2 allowed onboard at a time.  If planning to reach us by bike and require bicycle storage, please get in touch.  

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Please use the designated bins for recycling when ashore and onboard.  Please consider taking reusable water bottles on our cruises – we have Eco-Friendly ones for sale with our company’s own branded logo.

Conserve Energy

All our lights aboard are LED and all our daily cruises are done in daytime hours so not necessary to have lights on.  If you are aware of lights outside on deck or on inside the toilet/cabin, please switch off if not necessary or make a staff member aware, particularly for outside on deck or inside the cabin as those lights can only be controlled at the helm.

Shop Local

Shetland’s capital is Lerwick and this is where our tours depart from.  Lerwick and the other many small communities and islands across Shetland, have amazing local gifts, arts/crafts, local food and drink producers.  Please consider shopping at the local businesses to assist in supporting these wonderful communities.  We our dedicated ‘Shetland’ page which can be found here and has links to local shops, restraunts and attractions.  There is also a link here which takes you to Northlink Ferries website where they have a page that details different Shetland craft and gift shops.  

Local Food & Drink/Special Diets

Shetland’s larder is brimming with fresh produce and, as an island archipelago, is particularly well known for its fresh fish and seafood. If you’re planning a visit to Shetland then be sure to try some of our famous local produce; you won’t be disappointed.  On the island we have a small family run brewery and we have Shetland Reel Gin.  You can find out more about Shetland’s food and drink here

Thankfully, in Shetland there are an increasing number of eateries which cater to special diets, and there are plenty of options in the local shops for making your own meals.  If you click here you will find a selection of different cafes and restaurants that cater for dietary requirements.  There is also a really good blog titled ‘Vegan Shetland’ which you can find here.  The blog details suitable vegan cafes, restaurants and takeaways.

We provide a selection of hot drinks and biscuits on all our daily tours and private charters.  If you do have any dietary requirements, please make us aware when booking.  If booking online, there is a section on the booking form titled Notes(Special Requiremets) – please enter any details there or contact us directly.  

Respect The Local Area and Nature 

When ashore or onboard, please dispose of litter respectfully.  Shetland has many fabulous walking trails, please follow the designated footpath trails to minimize disturbance to our nature and wildlife.  For more information on how to enjoy the great Scottish outdoors, please visit Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

Support Local Culture and Heritage

Whilst visiting Shetland, please take the opportunity to visit some of the amazing historical and cultural places of interest that our beautiful island has to offer.  This will help future visitors to enjoy these fascinating heritage sites.  We share a lot about Shetland heritage and culture on our daily Noss Boat Tours.  You can find a list of historical/cultural places to visit, yearly festivals and other ideas for things to do by visiting our dedicated ‘Shetland‘ page.

Support Green Tourism Businesses

Look for the Green Tourism logo when choosing accommodation, attractions and more to support those companies trying to reduce their impact on the environment.  For more information please visit Green Tourism.

Since starting our ‘Green Tourism’ journey it has brought us to make many adaptions using our own ideas and initiatives.  We love hearing about your sustainability ideas, if you have any suggestions please do get in touch via email:


Our Green Tourism Journey
Gold Award 

We’re very proud to have received a Green Tourism Gold grading award, following on from our second GreenCheck assessment.  In October 2022 we posted on social media that we were awaiting grading.  Once we completed and submitted online green assessment early 2023, we were delighted to be awarded ‘Silver’.  Our goals was always to achieve ‘Gold’ so we worked hard in 2023 on our  sustainability practices and delighted early 2024 to achieve ‘Gold’. 

The awards are acknowledged worldwide as an indicator of good environmentally-friendly-practice, and are a great way of progressing on a green journey as well as acting as a hallmark of ‘Green Quality’, attracting custom from increasing numbers of eco-minded visitors.  Having accreditation and our good green practices verified by the Green Tourism team, shows our customers how committed we are in caring for our environment.

The quoted text to follow in bold is feedback we received from Green Tourism upon presentation of our 2024 ‘Gold’ award.

“Seabirds and Seals have done an excellent job in achieving Gold following on from their Second GreenCheck assessment. They have displayed excellent understanding of sustainability and awareness of opportunities and challenges associated with running a responsible business. The team have shown great commitment and are embracing sustainability throughout the business, as evidenced by the several examples of green best practice within the business. The areas they are strong in are Community, Health and Wellbeing, and Destination. The key area of focus going forward should be on Carbon. I have added some applicable actions to the action plan. Overall, Seabirds and Seals have shown an amazing commitment to green issues and are obviously eager to do as much as possible to be sustainable and not only reduce their impact on but also improve the environment around them”.

Green Tourism assessed Seabirds-and-Seals against 15 sustainability criteria grouped under the pillars of People, Places and Planet. These consider the social, economic and environmental actions the business has undertaken, providing a holistic assessment of sustainability performance.

A Green Tourism Award means that a business works responsibly, ethically and sustainably, contributes to their community, is reducing their impact on the environment and aims to be accessible and inclusive to all visitors and staff.  We have been working hard towards these goals, and delighted to achieve ‘Gold’.  We look forward to continuing on our green journey and providing a high standard of customer care.

When we were awarded ‘Silver’ early 2023 we did a blog on our website about our commitment to going green – the blog can be read here.

After receiving the wonderful news early 2024 about our ‘Gold’ award, we did another blog to give further information about our award which can be read here.


Our Green Tourism Policies


Green Tourism Enviromental & Sustainability Policy

Download & View: Seabirds-and-Seals Environmental and Sustainability Policy 2023 – Updated 01.02.2024

Green Tourism Sustainable Procurement Policy

Download & View: Green Tourism Sustainable Procurement Policy 2023 – Updated 01.02.2024

Shetland Unesco
Global Geopark Partner

We are proud to continue as partners of Geopark Shetland and look forward to our journey with them for many more years to come.  We 100% respect the landscape and nature of Shetland, carrying out activities on a yearly basis which protect, improve and promote our environment.  

We show our commitment by providing engaging ‘live’ commentary on the striking geology as we navigate around the island of Bressay & Noss National Nature Reserve, as well as geological points of interest to be found around Lerwick’s beautiful harbour.  We share our knowledge with great passion and enthusiasm which is always commented on as a fabulous touch to our tours, at end of tour feedback and from our many fantastic Trip Advisor reviews.  We also share our geology knowledge further afield as we host a display of geology leaflets in our expertly curated library which can be found inside our saloon area and always well stocked, so please do help yourself.  As always we are happy to point you in the right direction to further explore Shetland’s diverse geology.  


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