R. Mark Davis

R. Mark Davis, president, Sailors for the Sea

Mark is a consummate strategist, manager, social entrepreneur, and humanitarian with over thirty years experience leading private and social sector organiza­tions. He is an avid sailor with a USCG 100-ton Master’s license, a former science teacher, explorer, a Fellow at the Francis Hesselbein Leadership Institute, and a recognized environmental leader who has received numerous awards for restoration, conservation, and revitalization efforts throughout his career.

Having managed busi­ness in twenty-seven countries Mark works as a synergistic catalyst to facilitate win-win public-private partnerships, create enduring strategic alliances, and is the ambassador of Sailors for the Sea ocean conservation message to the boating community. With a life-long love of the sea that started on Narragansett Bay he states that his “avocations have become his vocation – what better way to live than to do everything you love.” He joined the organization in October 2013.

What is the biggest threat to preserving the ocean and local waters for future generations?
Because the oceans are so large we historically view them as an endless resource. However, we have come to realize that their preservation is linked directly to our own survival. Over 70% of our Earth's surface is covered by water and 97.5% of all water on earth is salt water, leaving only 2.5% as fresh water. Of that 2.5% less than 1% of the world's fresh water is accessible for direct human uses. So I believe pollution is this biggest threat we face as it affects the entire hydrologic cycle.

What has changed more dramatically in your lifetime, the sport of sailing or ocean health?
Ocean health. The degradation and ecosystem collapse we have seen the last 20 years has been staggering. I only hope we can reverse the decline of such rich and diverse marine environments that support all life on earth. Because sailing is very technology driven these days there have been significant changes in the sport but that is to be expected as the innovation life cycle of technological advancement gets shorter and shorter.

Why did you choose to get involved with an organization focused on ocean conservation?
As a child, I once heard Jacques Cousteau say, “The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.” At the time my passion for all things related to the ocean was in its infancy and this inspired me to pursue intellectually, professionally, and recreationally all aspects of the marine environment. Moreover, Sailors for the Sea is an incredible organization that’s doing very important work in this area.