Aquatica Submarines creates ocean foundation ahead of dive with Richard Branson
by Olivia Michel
Vancouver-based Aquatica Submarines has announced the launch of its new ocean conservation charity, the Aquatica Foundation. The NGO has been created with the purpose of contributing to ocean exploration and restoration, as well as furthering education about the ocean and marine life by bringing together global experts to share knowledge and support marine events.
The news, which was announced by Aquatica president and CEO Harvey Flemming on October 2018, comes in the run up to the company’s expedition to the Belize Blue Hole which is being carried out in conjunction with Richard Branson and the Fabien Cousteau Society. The landmark project hopes to reach the bottom of the famous landmark and the company’s Stingray 500 model submarine will be one of two vessels on the voyage to the UNESCO world heritage site, located in the Belize Barrier Reef. The submarine, which can carry one pilot and two passengers, will be heading 420 feet into the depths of the ocean sinkhole. Located 40 miles from the shores of Belize City and stretching 1,043 feet in diameter, the Blue Hole is considered one of the top dive sites in the world.
Supporting the dive as the lead not-for-profit organisation will be the charity’s first act toward achieving its objectives. The mission will be an opportunity to not only collect scientific data but also raise awareness about ocean conservation by live streaming imagery of the dive and what it finds to the public. Through exploration of this area the project expects to contribute to the mapping of our oceans, of which so far only 5% has been charted.
The expedition will take place in partnership with fellow NGOs Ocean Unite, Oceanic Global, Oceana, the Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Center, and Belize Audubon Society as well as commercial sponsors Weeks Abroad and Empire Group. Richard Branson, founder of Ocean Unite, and aquanaut and documentary maker Fabien Cousteau will make up members of the expedition team.
The Aquatica Foundation has plenty more to look forward to after Belize, with an expedition to the British Virgin Islands already planned for 2019.