OceansWatch, an organization based in the South Pacific that encourages sailors to “Cruise with a Cause,” is expanding into North America and focusing on the Caribbean. The organization’s goal is to work with sailors, divers and scientists on projects to help coastal communities manage their marine environment and develop sustainable livelihoods. Here are excerpts with a link to the full article below:
A team of volunteers from OceansWatch visited Trinidad, Grenada, Union Island, and Bequia as they make their way across the Caribbean to end in Dominican Republic. The current assignment as a “pioneer boat” is fact finding about each area’s particular needs, making important business and governmental contacts and building cruiser awareness. [. . .] The organization works to help preserve the ocean environments and reef ecosystems where access by sailboat is the most efficient way to reach the coastal communities they work with. “At any given time there are many cruisers in the Caribbean, all with different skills and knowledge that could be used to help local communities,” said volunteer team member Becky Treneer from England.
OceansWatch members can help with projects by volunteering scientific skills, sailing skills or offer the use of their yacht to be a part of an OceansWatch expedition or to host a scientist. “Volunteering with OceansWatch and visiting the Caribbean for the first time, I have to say, as a biologist, I’m really impressed by the good will of some of the yachties showing interest in hosting scientists for future missions and their level of awareness of environmental issues,” said volunteer team member Jake Navarro from Spain.
Members can become involved in many different marine projects including: Reef Check monitoring, setting up Marine Protected Areas, installing yacht moorings to protect coral reefs and marine mammal surveying. OceansWatch also does humanitarian projects such as setting up sister schools, delivering school supplies, providing medical aid and installing drinking water, sanitation and sustainable energy systems. “As a diver, I have recently completed the Reef Check training which is a simple system of reef surveying that OceansWatch is assisting with to monitor the health of our reefs. These surveys are being continued yearly and are something that any enthusiastic diver can become involved with,” said Captain Andy Clarkson, long time live aboard cruiser from England. “I have also recently been introduced to Coral Watch which is a system that requires no training and can be conducted by anyone with a mask and snorkel.”
The emphasis of OceansWatch North America (OWNA) is on projects in the Caribbean and Central and South America. Ongoing projects include Belize and Haiti. In 2011 OWNA is initiating projects to deliver supplies to schools in Haiti and Dominican Republic, with additional projects underway or planned for Mexico, Belize and Guatemala. [. . .]
By becoming an OceansWatch member you join a global network of sailors, divers, environmentalists, academics and other concerned people who want to help save the oceans. Memberships start at only $25US and members then receive a newsletter and learn all about opportunities to join projects and receive guidance on being an environmentally friendly sailor. Members are also offered opportunities to attend workshops to up-skill themselves so that they can more effectively assist in marine conservation and humanitarian projects.
For more information or to become a member, go to www.oceanswatch.org