Of the 1.5 million tourists that visit Alaska annually, 60 percent make the trek on board the 27 cruise liners scheduled for the state’s ports. With an influx of so many ships and people each season, Alaska voters passed a ballot measure in 2006 that outlined regulations that protected the state’s wildlife and waterways from pollution, assessed appropriate taxes on the tourist industry and safeguarded local businesses. The resulting legislative change required the State of Alaska's Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) to develop a program for enforcing these new measures, which were the first of their kind in any U.S. state. ADEC turned to Crowley for help.
Read more about the Ocean Rangers in Crowley's spring 2012 issue of Connections.
Soon after the measure was passed, ADEC established strict environmental regulations and sought to create a program that had a mission of ensuring safety, environmental compliance and sanitation. To make this happen, ADEC had the challenging vision of placing an independent observer aboard every Alaska cruise ship to monitor compliance with the state’s regulations. The only program of its kind in existence, ADEC did not have any basis for creating a program and needed an experienced partner with which it could build the program.
Crowley’s experienced ship management team is known for its ability to take on special projects in unusual industries, but the request from ADEC coincided nicely with Crowley’s existing values of protecting the environment, particularly in the State of Alaska. Together, Crowley and ADEC worked together to build the specialized program – now called the Ocean Ranger program – into what it is today. ADEC came to rely on Crowley to implement the program and develop the Ocean Ranger training, guidebook, manuals, reports and more. Today Crowley recruits, deploys and schedules the rangers, supplying them with iPhones and iPads for on-board reporting, as well as training, travel, IT and payroll support. In the fall of 2011, ADEC extended an invitation for Crowley to continue offering Ocean Rangers services for upcoming tourist seasons, an offer that Crowley proudly accepted.
Crowley’s Ocean Rangers are highly trained engineer-and-environmental-watchdog hybrids, who each have a passion for Alaska so completely that they commit to riding along for months at a time during the state’s April-through-September tourist season. Rangers act as independent observers who assure compliance with federal and state environmental health, sanitation and safety requirements.
Additionally, Crowley’s ship management team is able to assist with the planning and implementation of nearly any special or unusual maritime project that does not fall under the customary description of ship management. We can provide assistance from the initial development of a project through implementation and completion.