Celebrating 50 Years
-Milestones in Sustainable Tourism

Early Bluewater Adventures Days

Operating sustainably has always been front and centre for Bluewater Adventures – it is the foundation on which the company was built. Inspiring stories begin to unfurl when gazing back on Bluewater’s history, and they fuel our passion for working on ways to do things better. 

  • 1980 – Working with whale researcher and National Geographic contributor, Dr. Jim Darling, Bluewater Adventures incorporated citizen science on our sailing trips to Johnstone Strait. Researchers had only recently learned to identify individual whales by the shape of their dorsal fin and markings and it was still unclear how many orca were on the coast and their distribution. By taking photo IDs of all Orcas encountered, we contributed to learning about this fascinating, keystone species.  
  • 1988 – With other Haida Gwaii tour operators, Bluewater helped to create one of the first Codes of Conduct. This groundbreaking document outlined how operators voluntarily agreed to work around wildlife, protect cultural sites, limit group size and our impacts on the environment, other visitors - and generally behave responsibly. Usually, it is the government that tells visitors how they must conduct themselves, not operators self-regulating. The Code of Conduct was later incorporated into the first Gwaii Haanas Management Plan.    
  •  1993 - Bluewater was awarded a business license under the joint management of the Haida Nation and Parks Canada to operate in Gwaii Haanas. That's over 30 years of exploration under our belts!
  •   2003 - Bluewater signed its first Protocol Agreement with a coastal First Nation to respectfully operate in their traditional territory and commit to financially supporting the local community. To date, we have negotiated a total of 6 protocol agreements with different First Nations. 
  •   2006 – Bluewater Adventures was one of the first eco-tour operators in British Columbia to become carbon neutral. Concerned for our impact on the environment, we started measuring how much carbon our operations generated (mostly diesel fuel and crew flights). When we were able to quantify what was produced, we made a plan to reduce carbon emissions wherever possible and then offset the emissions that simply could not be reduced. Over the years, most of these offsets have been purchased from the Great Bear Rainforest Project. The money generated goes into creating community employment, local stewardship, and Guardian Watchmen programs. 
  •   2007 – National Geographic Traveler Magazine names Bluewater Adventures’ Haida Gwaii expedition “One of 50 of the World’s Best Tours”.
  •   2012 – Working with other tour operators in the Great Bear Rainforest, Bluewater set up a scheduling system to disperse our visitation at 3 key bear viewing areas, to minimize the potential impacts of our presence. BC Parks and local First Nations commended the effort. 
  •   2013 – The Tourism Industry Association of Canada awards Bluewater Adventures the “Sustainable Tourism Award”.
  •   2013 – Bluewater Adventures joined 1% For the Planet and committed to donating 1% of our annual revenue to conservation. Every year, this money goes to some 12 different non-profit science and conservation groups, working to protect the biodiversity of the BC coast on issues ranging from seabirds to salmon and old-growth forests. We celebrate 11 years of giving to our environmental partners with funds donated equaling CAD $219,304!
  •   2014 – Green Tourism in the UK awards Bluewater Adventures their Gold Star Award. We were the first Canadian company to be acknowledged for our achievements in sustainability.
  •   2020 / 2021 – Bluewater Adventures participated in the Marine Debris Removal Initiative (MDRI).  The pandemic arrived and shuttered our operations. In an effort to “pivot” and stay afloat Bluewater joined other businesses in efforts, supported by the BC government and First Nations, to clean up the BC coast.  We rallied our unemployed crew aboard our 3 ships, joining 7 others, to remove hundreds of tons of discarded commercial fishing gear, plastic bottles, and Styrofoam from remote beaches in the Great Bear Rainforest. It was eye opening. We would like to believe that our remote west coast is pristine, but unfortunately the ocean connects us all. To put it graphically, in 6 weeks we collected over 70,000 single-use water bottles that washed up on beaches.  
  • 2021 – Bluewater and other participating companies receive the “Premier’s Award” for the Clean Coast Clean Waters Initiative-supported, Marine Debris Removal Initiative.
  • 2023 – Bluewater Adventures completed Green Step’s Sustainable Tourism Certification process and is proudly, Sustainable Tourism Gold Certified.