Throughout this year we are celebrating our tenth anniversary by partnering up with Ocean Conservancy to help clean up beaches in and around the harbors our bases are at. We call this program, “Sail Around the World”, because with bases on several continents, we are virtually handing off the baton from one base to the next!
In early June we kicked off SATW in the Northeast. Our Boston base and Rhode Island base gathered Members up for some group sailing and picking up trash. Towards the end of June our Philadelphia base and Baltimore base had a “meet-up” in the Chesapeake Bay.
In July, our Annapolis base sailed over to Spa Creek where they dinghied in to do a clean up under a bridge. They gathered about 5 bags of trash. International Coastal Clean Up’s Associate Director, Sonya Besteiro, joined the Annapolis members on the clean up. The participants then went out for a group sail on the Chesapeake Bay for the rest of the afternoon.
Our Virginia Beach base had the pleasure of taking Ocean Conservancy’s, Sarah van Schagen, with them for some sailing and beach cleanup in mid July. The most surprising thing observed? How appreciative people on the beach were for our efforts. Many folks took the time to approach the team and thank them for what they were doing. The group was able to share with them about the Ocean Conservancy event and Sailtime. Approximately 20 pounds of trach was taken off the beach. Throughout a week long effort Virginia Beach Members continued to locate, document and take away trash from various locations near the base. While sailing they even found a sea turtle entangled in debris and freed it! Member Diane French says, “I have to be honest, I think a lot of us didn’t really notice trash until we did this and wrote down what we saw.” She describes seeing a beach ball, and says in the past she would have kept on going. Thanks to “Sail Around the World,” she’s come to understand how dangerous trash can be. “Now we have the net and the hook out on the boat, and we pull things out of the water, which we have never done before. This event is great for raising awareness, and Ocean Conservancy’s website has a lot of good information.”
In August, Members from our St Augustine sailed from Miami back to the base and using a boat hook, took aboard a “remarkable amount” of floating trash along the way!
September 17th is a nationwide coastal cleanup day and several bases plan to be on the beaches helping with the effort. Then in the Fall Europe and finally Australian bases will join in the effort to culminate the year-long effort.
Want to join in? You can make a contribution to our efforts with Ocean Conservancy here!