Any boater who cares about the environment and who is saddened by the pollution and gradual devastation of the oceans of the world, will be glad to know that OceansWatch exists, and even happier to know that every single individual, yes YOU, can assist this young organisation in its work.
So what does OceansWatch do? It is a natural partnership between marine biologists, the crews of boats spread across the remote and not so remote bays, atolls and anchorages of the world and coastal communities.
Put simply, on one side, marine biologists need help in their research of the world's oceans, research that is usually expensive to obtain – and who better than sailors who are inevitably armed with scuba or snorkeling gear, and already out there where the needed information is? On the other hand, remote coastal communities need early information as to how to resist the pollution that has destroyed the lifestyles of so many communities already – fish depleted, coral destroyed, water poisoned. Who better than boater, already there, armed with information provided by the aforesaid marine biologists, to be the interface between the vast amount of information available and those who need it?
Chris Bone, the entrepreneurial spirit behind OceansWatch, has gathered a passionate group of skilled people around him to make the dream a reality, and even though the organisation is little more than a year old, they are already working with multiple government and non-government organisations who can see a role for OceansWatch. Currently their projects are concentrated on the South Pacific but Chris's ambition is to expand to other areas where there is a need.
Chris, an Englishman who has been in the Antipodes for more than 20 years, vividly remembers when he arrived in New Zealand – the day after the French blew up the Rainbow Warrior. A 2 year stint with Greenpeace followed, and then all thoughts of heavy involvement working for the environment stopped while he married and had a family. Later, though, becoming a yacht delivery skipper - which is his day job - Chris became more and more moved by the pollution - which 'progress' brought with it to coastal communities - that he saw around him on his travels.
'Even though the organisation is so young, the seeds were planted many years ago – I knew I could do nothing alone, so I talked and talked, to everyone who would listen, and slowly slowly an interested group of skilled people gathered together. '
Today, the organising team is impressive
Apart from Chris Bone, there's Vince Kerr, a biologist with a background in environmental education and marine conservation, Peter Vine, professional marine biologist, Lily Kozmian-ledward, a marine biologist and professional scuba-diver, yacht skipper and photographer, Donna Lange, who has recently completed her own solo circumnavigation and is the USA representative, Julia Alabaster, the financial administrator, and Jane Pares, yachtswoman, writer and expedition project manager.
Now that the word is out, the memberships and offers of help and involvement are coming in thick and fast from concerned sailors round the world.
And how CAN you assist?
As a Member of OceansWatch here are the options: 1.You can be a Canary: If you are a sailor, a boat owner or a crew member of a yacht out there in an anchorage, you can report the problems you see in the environment – coral bleaching, pollution, local people's struggle to manage their environment 2.You can train. Enthusiasts can be trained by OceansWatch for coral health monitoring under the comprehensive ReefCheck system. First training is in Tonga in early April. 3.You can Report. If you can snorkel or dive, and are in remote locations, you can, for instance, in a very simple and easy way, report on the colours of the coral (I.E. bleaching). You would be provided with a colour card, much like a paint sample card, and you could send the information back as to the bleaching – or otherwise – of a reef. 4.You can Volunteer. OceansWatch are often looking for maintenance assistance and crew to man the OceansWatch sailing boats that head out on particular ventures. Especially if you have some extra skill, like nursing, you will be very welcome. 5.If you can do NONE of the above, you can support the activities by joining the organisation. To do this, go to www.oceanswatch.org– and of course, 6.You can donate! Sailing boats have been donated, cash of up to $5000 has been donated – that by a concerned marine biologist.
About any or all of these, you can get more information by going to the OceansWatch website. However, if you care for the oceans in which you sail, Powerboat-World urges you to do SOMETHING please!