Meet Our Caribbean Representative
Renata grew up on the waters of Lake Ontario, Canada, and has lived in Barbados since 1987, spending her career and personal life working in and for the waters of the Caribbean. She has an MS in Marine Resources and Environmental Management from the University of the West Indies, where she also currently works as a researcher and lab manager for the Center for Resource Management and Environmental Studies.
Renata feels very strongly about being a steward not only to Barbados’ reefs, waters, and coastlines, but to all islands throughout the region. Over the last 30 years, she has worked for healthy marine water quality and reefs through research, education, outreach, and engagement.
She also has an impressive sailing career, having represented Barbados in a number of prestigious sailing events and has served as Director and on the Board of Directors for the Barbados Sailing Association. Renata has also been a Measurer for the Caribbean Sailing Association since 1999 and is the National Measurer for Barbados.
Sailors for the Sea is thrilled to have Renata on board to help with our Caribbean Clean Regattas initiatives. She has been working with the Clean Regattas program for many years, and will be a go-to resource on sustainability and regatta management. Welcome, Renata!
What is your first memory of the ocean?
The first time I saw the ocean was in the late ‘60s, when I was about five years old. Our first summer vacation to Cape Cod, where we camped on the back side of the dunes in old canvas tents, and hardly anyone was about. I remember the flatness of the wet beach on a low tide; I was attracted to the washed-up jellyfish, and I was amazed at how cold the water could be, and how quickly the tide could turn.
Why did you choose to get involved with an organization focused on ocean conservation?
The ocean has given so much to me - it is a sanctuary to look out upon every day and breathe a big breath of clean sea air, to be able to work and play on, in, and under, it is a privilege - and so to give back to the ocean through an organization like Sailors for the Sea is its own reward.
What has changed more dramatically during your lifetime, the sport of sailing or ocean health?
As a sailor and a scientist, I have seen both go through real 'sea changes' in my lifetime. I would have to say that ocean health has changed more radically than the sport of sailing.
Sailmakers and boatbuilders have always - and always will - look toward making racing boats go faster over the water. We have seen the change from monohull to multihull, to foiling mono- and multihulls, explode with the ability of computers that can crunch large amounts of data at a time. Sailors can look to the future and see that the sport of sailing will change over time, but will never stop as long as there are oceans to sail upon.
Yet the ocean, which appears vast, mighty, and deep, cannot handle all that we as a species have thrown into it. Plastics, pollution, overfishing, poor water quality, chemicals... the list goes on and on. What we as scientists are figuring out now is that there is a shelp life for our oceans: in order to keep them viable and living, we have to stop abusing them, and recognize how valuable they are to our livelihoods and lives - even for those people who are landlocked.