Sunscreen is a sailing essential any time of year, but the upcoming summer rays mean it’s time to break out the good stuff. There’s nothing like relaxing on deck with some good music and lathering up with tropical scented potions to get that sun-kissed glow. But what happens once we shower off or go for a dip? Our goos and sprays quietly enter our waterways and air, about 14,000 tons per year according to the National Park Service. Many of these products can do serious harm to marine animals, as well as to our own health. Coral Reefs Are In …
I first learned about the art of sailing when I was nineteen years old. I had signed up for a semester abroad with a program that teaches students marine biology and oceanography courses, as well as sailing and coastal navigation skills. After a year of scraping together money and filling out forms, I spent my sophomore winter on an 88’ schooner in the Caribbean with a plan to sail to twenty islands.
No sailor’s education is complete without an understanding of our impact on the oceans. It’s my honor to introduce you to the single best resource for ocean-friendly sailing there is: Sailors for the Sea.
Sailors don’t rely on robots and engines to clean up the ocean. We make the biggest collective impact by cleaning up our own communities ourselves. Here’s what you need to know to get started with beach cleanups.
After learning about Soraya Simi and her work, I checked out her short film First Flush. In just one minute we follow the journey of raindrops hitting the Los Angeles pavement, to the accumulating floodwaters traveling across roadways and down drains, all leading down to the LA River. The drainage carries with it more than just rain: various plastic trash on the streets are carried and gather around the storm drains. The journey ends exactly how we’d expect: at the ocean. Soraya’s final message to her audience: “If you’ve ever wondered where it all goes…”
Traditionally the boating community associates algae with one word: nuisance. It covers hulls, jams propellers, slimes up fishing poles, and can even make the water unswimmable. Algae is a gigantically diverse group of marine organisms, ranging from tiny single-celled plankton, to kelp that stretches hundreds of feet toward the surface, to the wrapper of your favorite sushi roll.
ASA has brought on marine conservationist Lauren Coiro to help with advocacy and education when it comes to how sailors interact with the environment that they call home. “Ask Lauren” will be a regular feature where our questions on the environment will be asked and answered. Do you have a question? Ask Lauren!
You’ve been challenged! Sailors are motivated to contribute less to the ocean’s plastic problem, but when plastic is incorporated into almost everything we do, where do we begin? The average American generates over 4 pounds of trash every day, and when we send it to landfill, it becomes out of sight, out of mind. Whether we live on the coast or we sail on landlocked lakes and rivers does not matter: about 95% of the plastic in the ocean originated on land and gets carried through our waterways.
January is a fresh start, and after a year-long rollercoaster of environmental news, I am feeling hopeful about what’s to come. 2018 was a year of awareness, and while it was painful to learn about the state of our oceans, we now have the power to fix it. 2019 is not only about becoming better sailors; it’s also about becoming better stewards of the ocean.
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