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World Ocean Day Is on June 8 — How Are Sailors Helping the Ocean?

Next month, on June 8, we celebrate World Ocean Day, and in the June issue of Latitude 38, Tim Henry takes a close look at sailors, and organizations, who have combined their passion for sailing with their desire to improve the health of the oceans. Here are a few snippets from next month’s story …

The State of the Ocean

“I am sometimes daunted by the size of the problem and how global the issue is,” Mary Crowley, the founder and executive director of the Ocean Voyages Institute, told us.

“When we first started investigating what was going on in the ocean, a lot of people would say cleanup is futile; it’s too far away, it’s too difficult,” Crowley told us. “But the fact is, professional maritime people are used to doing things mid-ocean.”

Kwai hauling nets
Ocean Voyages Institute’s 118-ft cargo-sailer Kwai hauls aboard a tangle of nets.
© 2021 Ocean Voyages Institute

There have been a slew of other actions and ideas. Estuary sailor Scott Chowning started pulling a home-made trawler behind his Catalina 27 Evening Star to collect debris while he’s out sailing. Santa Cruz captain Jim ‘Homer’ Holm helped invent a small “mobile reactor,” which can turn ocean plastic into diesel fuel. The Swiss organization The Sea Cleaners recently unveiled Manta, set to be launched in 2024.

Cleaning up the Bay
Scott Chowning tows his trawler, called a LADI, across the Bay to reach his goal of removing one ton of trash from the Bay Area in 2021.
© 2021 Scott Chowning

Boyan Slat, the shaggy-haired, unshaven 27-year-old founder and CEO of Ocean Cleanup, said that in 2020, his company had collected 250,000 football fields, or over half a million pounds, of marine trash. Stylish fundraisers who appeal to our greatest environmental hopes, The Ocean Cleanup has the lofty goal of removing “90% of floating ocean plastic pollution.”

Even though we have legitimately changed our behaviors, and we can see a cleaner environment around us, the statistics are still ominous. “The United States is by far the world’s largest generator of plastic waste — it produced about 46 million tons in 2016,” National Geographic reported.

It’s clear, however, that marine pollution is a crisis that has corralled the world’s attention.

Read the full story in June’s Latitude 38 magazine — out next week and available by subscription, or pick up at your favorite distributor.

1 Comment

  1. Wayne Henderson 2 months ago

    The numbers show that we’ve hardly scratched the surface. Although I admire the efforts of Ocean Cleanup, half a million pounds is very small compared to the National Geographic estimate of 46 million tons. Granted that National Geographic is no longer a reliable source, but the figure is way up there. Ultimately the only way out will be to incinerate it at high temperatures which will limit particulate pollution. We will need a flotilla of incineration boats working 24/7.

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