When you’re choosing your perfect Whitsundays sailing or boating holiday, it’s important to consider several factors, including budget, comfort, and of course, quality. There are several accreditations to look out for when deciding on how you want to spend your time on the water.
WCBIA: Pick the Red Tick
The WCBIA (Whitsunday Charter Boat Industry Association) is an active local Whitsundays association that monitor and regulate the charter boat industry. They grade boats according to an intricate and extensive VRS (Vessel Rating System). The grading system used is comprised of a set of industry safety and quality standards in which entire companies and operations are judged to the highest standards. Scoring is not released to the public, however, if an operator's boat is not up to the regulations set down by the WCBIA committee, then its possible that the boat or boats will not be allowed to remain members of the WCBIA; thus, lose their tick and in some cases credibility.
The WCBIA Inc is a member of the industry peak body, The Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators (AMPTO) and works closely with GRMPA, National Parks as well as local and federal maritime authorities. The association was formed to introduce a new set of rules of minimum standards for all operators to follow. Those that used misleading advertising or ran faulty old boats were asked to comply or they would be unable to use the ‘tick’ status. Ten years later, the WCBIA remains the premium Whitsunday organisation that helps keep the standards high across the fleets. Always look for boats that are WCBIA members (advertise a red tick) and you be confident there is a governing body that cares about the quality of your sailing holiday!
At Sailing Whitsundays, we pride ourselves for offering the highest quality products and tours, providing local knowledge about which vessels hold this highly esteemed accreditation. If you are unsure about which vessels hold a WCBIA accreditation, chat to our team and we’ll help you pick the perfect tour.
Other Accreditations To Look For:
ECO CERTIFIED: Yellow Tick
The definition Ecotourism is ecologically sustainable tourism with a primary focus on experiencing natural areas that foster environmental and cultural understanding, appreciation and conservation. Eco accreditation allows tour operators the ability to sell their tours as eco-friendly.
The yellow tick will become a very important factor in 2012 for vessel operators. If you do not have Eco accreditation and the yellow tick, then the Australian Government through their Department of Environmental Management will disallow access to many sensitive areas in the Whitsundays. The beautiful Hill Inlet lookout, overlooking Whitehaven beach is one of the sites that will only be accessible to vessels with Eco Accreditation. For more information on eco accreditation, click here.
TCF FUND: Blue Tick
This one is very important for travellers-The blue tick means your agent or tour operator is a member of the Government accredited travel Agency Compensation Fund, most often referred to as the TCF Fund. If your booking agent cannot show you the blue tick on their documentation, then do not book with this operator. The Blue Tick is your way of knowing that the operator has paid your money into a Government audited trust account; no running away with your money if the tour operator or agent goes broke. The TCF fund can and will give you a refund in full. Excellent peace of mind when you are booking a holiday. Here at Mr Travel, we are registered Travel Agents and all funds are kept in audited bank trust accounts.
TQUAl: Green Tick
The green tick is for TQUAl accreditation. This represents the new national Tourism Accreditation Framework developed by the Australian Government and industry to promote quality experiences for travellers and consumers by recognizing sustainable and capable high-quality operators. All boats that have earned the Australian Ecotourism tick automatically receive the new T-qual tick.