In the early days of the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, rubbish from competing yachts would wash up on Tasmania's east coast beaches for days after the event, as crews simply threw their waste overboard. Now they would face disqualification from the race for such an act, and all crews bag their rubbish for disposal when they arrive in Hobart.
But rubbish is still getting into the ocean, so Australia's waterways cleaning team, Ocean Crusaders, is organising beach clean-ups in Sydney Harbour and the River Derwent, hoping crews and supporters will get involved. They also intend to enter a boat in the 75th running of the great race, to draw attention to the need to keep plastics and other rubbish out of our waterways.
Ocean Crusaders founder, Ian Thomson, says the idea is to get everyone associated with the boating industry involved in cleaning their own playground. “We need to leave it cleaner than we found it,” Ian says.
Ocean Crusaders will establish a “home base” where participants can pick up rubbish bags and gloves and where they can return the collected trash for sorting.
“Our sorting process serves two purposes,” says Ian Thomson. “As well as removing anything that can be recycled, it allows us to find out what we are picking up and where it is coming from. That way we can work on source reduction schemes to reduce future debris getting into the waterways.”
The Sydney Harbour clean-up will take place on December 8, 2019, and Ocean Crusaders are hoping that all harbour-based sailing, paddling and boating clubs will get involved.
“It would also be brilliant if crews from competing yachts made a commitment to get together either before or after the race, and help us clean their start and finish areas. The idea is that each group will pick a bay to clean and will collect and bag all the trash they find there,” Ian Thomson says.
After the finish of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race in late December, a similar clean-up is planned in Hobart on January 5, 2020.
For more information or to sign up your group or crew, go to www.oceancrusaders.eventbrite.com.au. Bookings are already being made, but many more are needed.
Ocean Crusaders are also hoping marine businesses will also get involved, ideally in the form of commercial sponsorship.
“To get our crane truck and landing barge to each location is not a cheap exercise, especially Hobart,” Ian Thomson says. “So covering these costs is essential and we will offer sponsors of the clean ups coverage on the boat we take in the race as well.”
Any marine business that would like to help can contact Ian at email@example.com.
By Roger McMillan