Before we can take our own personal steps to help save the oceans, there must be a wakeup call. This moment – the one that opens your eyes to the true nature of how our oceans are being destroyed – is a hugely significant benchmark.
For Y.CO, this has always been important. "As an industry, we need to take ocean conservation much more seriously than we do," says Charlie Birkett, founder and CEO of Y.CO. "I want my kids to grow up sailing and having fun on the water as I did. We can and should do more. At Y.CO, we encourage all our team to contribute to ocean conservation, and we feel passionately that crew should educate guests about the cause.
"There is nothing better than spending time on the water having fun, but we need to look after it too. We launched the YACHT.CLUB initiative to encourage yacht crew and industry professionals to spread the word and do their bit for the oceans that they live and work on.”
For others, it’s as simple as noticing less fish in the sea or seeing a news report, as our respected guests at The Ocean Awards reveal in the video below:
Amber Nutall said her wakeup call came at a young age, when she and her siblings realised the coral reefs were being bleached and the number of fish had depleted. “There were more sea fans and shells in the straw market than there were on the beaches and in the ocean any more,” she said.
Distinguished sailor and explorer Sir Peter Blake inspired Andrew Winch to take action and help protect the oceans. “He was upset, sad and disillusioned at the rubbish, plastic and lack of fish that he saw on his third trip around the world,” Winch said.
Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith is credited as the man who influenced M.P. Oliver Letwin to include the idea of a ‘blue belt’ in the Conservative government’s manifesto. “That’s what we’ve been doing ever since,” Letwin said.
Ben Ainslie revealed: “For me, the awareness came from discussing with Wendy Schmidt – who has her own foundation, Eleventh Hour, which is about raising awareness for the issues around marine pollution and sustainability.”
Charles Clover, an avid salmon fisher, got his wakeup call when he noticed there were fewer salmon because the sand eel population, which the salmon feed on, collapsed. He investigated this. “The Danes were catching a million tonnes a year of them,” Clover explained. “Nobody knew that was sustainable, and of course it wasn’t. The whole thing collapsed, and I exposed that as a journalist.”