More power to save the seas

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Sailors for the Sea are taking the next step in cranking up their influence

As performance sailors we are not only passionate about our sport but also the seas upon which it’s played, so it’s not a hard stretch to harness this enthusiasm to help preserve the health and well-being of the oceans.

Sailors for the Sea have relied on this passion to fuel their mission of educating and activating the sailing community into ocean conservation. It’s been a successful journey for the organisation founded by David Rockefeller Jr and Dr David Treadway 10 years ago.

Now, moving to the next level, Sailors for the Sea have combined forces with Oceana – the world's largest international ocean conservation organisation. This partnership will expand Sailors for the Sea’s resources and directly involve them – and the sailing community – in campaigns designed to protect the world’s oceans.

Oceana have four million supporters including top scientists, policy experts, celebrities and more. They have campaign teams in Canada, the US, Mexico, Belize, Peru, Chile, Brazil, Spain, Denmark, Belgium, the UK and the Philippines, plus ocean-going research vessels, remotely operated vessels (ROVs) and a 71ft double-masted catamaran.

Main picture: Turning words into deeds… this young Melges 24 crew are being given the message early at the Fishers Island Sound Race last year which was nominated for Platinum Level Clean Regatta status as a result of employing recognised good practice throughout the event. Assuming they all went home happy, there’s a good chance these alert youngsters will be quick to hold some of their older sailing peers to account the next time they catch them out behaving badly… (and they will)

But, most importantly, they have a proven track record of winning policy changes that increase ocean biodiversity and abundance and, ultimately, make the oceans healthier and more robust.

‘We are so pleased to be joining Oceana’s team,’ says Sailors for the Sea co-founder David Rockefeller Jr. ‘It will strengthen our ability to help sailors and power boaters make a difference in saving the oceans they depend on.’

Sailors for the Sea are eager to discuss their new plans for expansion, particularly their three flagship programmes: Clean Regattas, Kids Environmental Lesson Plans (KELP) and the Green Boating Guide. The Clean Regattas programme – the world’s only sustainability certification for waterbased events – has more than 1,400 regattas, rallies and cruises that have participated.

This certification programme provides guidelines to event managers for how to run the most environmentally friendly regatta possible, from on-the-water to on-the-land, while encouraging them to achieve their sustainability goals. Wherever there is a Clean Regattas flag flying you know the organisers have made a special commitment to minimise the event’s impact on the environment.

In fact, it’s becoming rare now at many popular sailing events not to see the Clean Regattas flag flying.

As adult sailors are starting to take on the mantle of ocean stewardship we know that the key to really building a movement is to reach the next generation of sailors. Sailors for the Sea’s KELP programme does just that with free, downloadable conservation and marine science lessons and activities – used by 885 sailing camps, schools, aquariums and more – that encourage curiosity in kids and help them explore their surroundings.

These lesson plans address ocean health issues including plastic pollution, overfishing and climate change, and are developed in collaboration with leading marine research and education institutions.

The KELP programme helps any educator to teach and inspire kids with simple materials and minimal preparation – kits can be used when weather conditions aren’t suitable for sailing or in educational settings to promote awareness. The goal is to have the next generation know and love the ocean before we ask them to save it.

An overview of best practices for all boat owners, sail or power, has just been published. This year’s edition of the Green Boating Guide shows how everyone can do their bit to minimise their footprint on the marine environment and is available online. It outlines areas of attention:

  • Pollution prevention: proper handling of toxic and dirty fluids
  • Impact reduction: making sure your boating operations are clean and sustainable
  • Eco-friendly products: with a new chapter on sunscreens
  • Green getaways: supporting sustainability practices onboard and on holiday
  • Wildlife and habitat protection: ensuring marine beasties are around in their own habitats and in abundance for our kids to enjoy too
  • Boat maintenance: practical tips on sensible and sustainable products and practices that keep the environment clean

Today hundreds of thousands of sailors, young and old alike, are contributing positively to ocean health, thanks to Sailors for the Sea and their programmes.

Click here for more information on Sailors for the Sea »

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