As sailors, the ocean is our
playground, and for some, it is our office. Every day we go out on the water we make
an impact on our ocean, yet so many people are unaware of that very impact. So here are some alarming stats for
- There is a
garbage patch in the North Pacific containing enough rubbish to cover
Australia 3m deep. There are 4 other garbage patches, one
in every major ocean.
- The world
uses 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags every year and it contributes to
100,000+ marine deaths from plastic suffocation and entanglement. Add another
1 million sea birds to that figure.
- The world
drinks 200 billion liters of bottled water every year, contributing 20.5
million tonnes of greenhouse gasses to the environment and using enough oil to
fill every bottle of water 25% full of oil. Only 30% of plastic water bottles are
recycled around the world.
So if I said to you that the ocean
produces 60-80% of the worlds oxygen and that our every day habits are slowly
killing it, would it make you think twice?
Yes I am saying that your habits are risking the very air we
Whilst I can quote how many animals
die from plastic bags, I can't quote how many engines die or overheat from
plastic bag ingestion. The dreaded
plastic bag in the inlet is annoying to say the least and whilst many say they
don't throw plastic bags in the ocean, the fact that 50% come from the rubbish
dump will tell you that it is a major problem. Using an alternative is so easy so when
you take your provisions to your boat next, please use a reusable bag. And if you're one of those lunatics that
put plastic bags on your shrouds and lifelines to keep birds off, hope that I
never run into you. They don't do
the job and they end up fluttering in the wind, and break free into the ocean
where they can end up killing a turtle or dolphin. Trust me I've pulled out three dead
turtles because of plastic bags, it's not fun. Bunting is easier and more effective and
the oceans will love you for it.
So how many of you use plastic water
bottles on your boat. OK so your
tank water tastes funny so you decide the easiest way to provide water to your
crew is in plastic water bottles.
It's easy and convenient right?
Let's look at the stats.
First of all why does bottled water have a used by date? Water doesn't go off or our world would
be in trouble. It is simply because
by that date, it is expected that the plastic bottle has leeched enough toxins
into the water to make it toxic to humans, and if you leave it in the sun you
will have experienced that plastic taste.
It is a product known as Bisphenol A
(BPA). More and more studies are being released
showing this substance, and other toxins from plastic, are causing all sorts of
health issues including Autism, cancers and ADHD. Then you have the bottle which you
recycle right? Firstly the caps are
not recyclable and only 30% of bottles are sent for recycling with 60% of
America's plastic going to
India to be down-cycled (created into
products that can't be recycled.
At Ocean Crusaders we focus on
educating people of the issues our oceans face. We run an education program for primary
school students to teach them about the animals in our oceans and what issues
they are facing and how they can change their every day habits to help. The response is amazing so if someone
who hasn't seen most of the world can make a difference, surely us as ocean
users can make a difference. It's
not hard. In fact when it comes to
rubbish, why is it that children under 15 contribute only 1.5% of all rubbish
yet once they hit 15 they become the biggest rubbish creators. Have a look at the graph. Which age group are you in?
So here is a
challenge for every one who owns a yacht.
At Ocean Crusaders we have developed an Ocean Safe Certification program
for yachts and boats. It is free of
charge to join and it shows that you are committed to looking after our
playground. It doesn't take much
either. All you have to do is go to
our website at www.OceanCrusaders.org/sailing
and follow the links to our Ocean
Safe Certified Yacht program. If
you can commit to five of our key guidelines, then you become certified.
include never using plastic bags to bring provisions to your boat, not buying
bottled water, instead using S/S reusable bottles and filling up from larger
containers, using eco friendly bottom paints, recycling, using eco friendly
cleaning agents and never using plastic plates and utensils. Pick 5, fill out a form and we'll send
you a sticker for your boat to show your support.
If one person
couldn't make a difference then we would not exist. Every product you see around you, the
computer you are currently on, the phone you use, the pen you write with, they
were all one persons dream and they have made a difference. You simply changing your habits,
particularly when you go down to your boat, well you could save the life of a
turtle, you could save an engine being blown up from overheating and better
still, you are helping our ocean live so we can breathe in the future.
lessons for your kids from our education program pages and maybe you'll learn
something too. They are designed
for school teachers to present to their class. If we don't have your country up there
and you can help us get our program into your country, touch base with us.
importantly, please REDUCE the amount of plastic you are using, REUSE any
plastic you have to use and when you've finished with it, please RECYCLE
it. It's our actions today that
determine the future.
Ocean Crusaders was started by Ian
Thomson having picked up 8 dead turtles out of the oceans of the Great Barrier
Reef in Australia. He began his campaign by setting the
world record for the fastest solo circumnavigation of Australia. The campaign is run by volunteers and no
one takes a wage, with all funds going to the delivery and development of the
education program. Of course we
always seek sponsors to enable us to do more and in particular are seeking a
sponsor for the Ocean Safe Certified Yacht Program. If you can help please contact info@OceanCrusaders.org