by Ian Thomson
Since Ian Thomson smashed the solo around Australia World Record in June 2010 under the banner of SOS Ocean Racing, he has been on a crusade to change the way people treat the ocean through creating awareness and educating our youth.
Even though it can’t be seen doesn’t mean it’s not there. - Ocean Crusaders
A key facet of the campaign is to educate primary school students through an online lesson program and this program has been growing rapidly. With the international expansion into the USA, New Zealand and Belize over the last few years and with Japan, England, Egypt and Holland on the horizon, the team at Save Our Seas decided they needed a unique name that can't be confused with other SOS campaigns around the world.
'Several people had commented that when searching for us they found other organisations so we decided that we would change our name to Ocean Crusaders to set us apart from the others' said Ian today.
'Since the name change a new website has been built at www.OceanCrusaders.org and the creation of several different 'Crusades'. You can now focus on any one of five major areas including Dolphins, Turtles, Sharks, Plastics and of course Sailing.'
Ocean Crusaders has a lot of things coming up over the next 12 months. The next key sailing event is the March 2013 Melbourne to Osaka Yacht Race. Having joined forces with Ric O'Barry's Dolphin Project (see website under dolphin crusades for details), the campaign is endeavouring to take the Ocean Crusaders message to Japan for the first time. 'Japan has a horrible reputation when it comes to ocean preservation. It isn't just the whaling either. A minority group are killing thousands of dolphins every year in Taiji and their plastic consumption, mainly through over packaging, is off the scale. To be able to educate the next generation will go a long way to making a difference to our oceans.' stated Ian.
6010 108850735765 102067230765 2637129 3899311 n - Ocean Crusaders
SOS Ocean Racing will now race under the Ocean Crusaders banner but it is the new Ocean Safe Certification program for yachts and regattas that is creating a lot of interest. Under this new program, Yacht Regattas/Races and individual yachts can apply for a certification by simply following several key guidelines that will reduce the amount of plastic used and lessen the impact on the oceans. It is a free of charge program and already several yachts have joined the program.
'20% of the oceans rubbish comes from boats. I've seen the number of plastic water bottles and bags that yachts use when provisioning and it is simple to change this habit. Plastic are like diamonds, it lasts forever and we as ocean users need to take the responsibility to lessen our impact on it. We've created several key guidelines and if individual yachts can commit to just five of these we will give them our certification. Whilst it might not seem like much, it does say that you as an owner and crew are concerned with your impact on the oceans and are willing to make a change to look after it.'
Pacific garbage patch - Ocean Crusaders
Assisting in this campaign, Ocean Crusaders have created yachting packs of S/S bottles and fruit and vegetable bags at a discounted price through their online EcoStore. The S/S bottles are refillable and have coolers on them that protect your boat and the fruit bags replace the light weight fruit and vegie bags from grocery stores that can lead to marine life suffocation or entanglement.
The Ocean Safe Regatta program encourages yacht clubs and race organisers to follow a set number of guidelines to reach either gold, silver or bronze status. The simple guidelines include having a plastic bag free event, not selling bottled water and not using plastic cups. Clubs don't have to do all of the guidelines, they just have to choose the ones that they find practical to implement. 'Ideally they will do all of them but we must allow clubs and events time to implement change so even if they start with our Bronze status, at least it is a commitment to change.' said Ian.
'It is time that the sailing industry made a stand to look after our environment. Hopefully owners and clubs will join Ocean Crusaders in this movement to make a difference today that can save marine life tomorrow.' stated Ian.
For more information on any of these programs and to find out what is happening with our oceans today, visit www.OceanCrusaders.org
Ocean Crusaders is a not for profit organisation with all funds going towards the education of primary school students or the implementation of programs. No one takes a wage from the organisation. They are presently seeking corporate sponsors for the Ocean Safe Regatta and Yacht Programs to enable them to take the progrm world-wide. In addition the are chasing sponsors to allow their speakers to visit primary schools across Australia. A sponsorship of just $300 will see a primary school of your choice visited by one of the Ocean Crusaders team.
Student projects at Seaford North Primary School after a visit by founder Ian Thomson - Ocean Crusaders
Sample of plastic from North Pacific Garbage Patch - Ocean Crusaders
OC Logo Horizontal color
For more details contact Ocean Crusaders direct at info(at)OceanCrusaders.org