5 Reasons to Sail-abrate 2023 - Sailors for the Sea

5 Reasons to Sail-abrate 2023

 December 12, 2023  | By: Shelley Brown

With support from sailors and boaters across the globe, Sailors for the Sea has been able to achieve huge wins for our oceans in 2023. Here are a few highlights:

1. 75,000 Green Boaters stepped up to advocate for our oceans and practice eco-smart habits on the water

New Sailors for the Sea Green Boaters

Being closely connected to our waters, sailors and boaters are aware of the vast array of threats facing our oceans. We see plastics floating offshore and washed up on beaches, lifeless coral reefs due to rising water temperatures and oil spills smothering marine life. Across the globe, Green Boaters took a stand for the oceans by supporting policies that would reduce the production of single-use plastics, save endangered marine wildlife, and protect sensitive marine habitats. This year, we also released several new Green Boating tip videos to provide boaters with actionable steps to enjoy their time on the water in an environmentally responsible manner.

2. A record number of Clean Regattas aiming to achieve Platinum Level certification

Separating waste at a Sailors for the Sea Clean Regatta

Since 2006, more than 3,800 events and 1 million sailors in 35 US states and 53 countries have helped protect our oceans and waterways by participating in Clean Regattas. The growth and success of the Clean Regattas program is due to the dedication of Clean Regatta organizers who continuously bring sustainability to the forefront of their events and activities. Thus far in 2023, a record 33 events are aiming to achieve Platinum level status, our highest level of sustainability certification and 17 have already been currently certified. The Clean Regattas program continues to share innovative and effective ways to make a lasting impact on the environment.  

3. Launched the Clean Class initiative

A Thistle Class regatta, a Sailors for the Sea Clean Class
Thistle Class regatta

In May, we launched the Clean Class initiative, which encourages one-design fleets to implement Clean Regattas best practices into class-wide operations and events, expanding the positive impact sailors can have on our oceans and waterways. The Thistle Class, which has more than 50 active fleets across the US, developed and piloted the Clean Class initiative. In the first full year of the pilot, they had a 420% increase in Thistle events participating in Clean Regattas. Since the launch of the initiative, the Formula Wave and International 29er classes have also joined as Clean Classes. We look forward to working with interested class associations to support and grow this community in the future.

4. 20 Sailors for the Sea Skippers worked with their local communities to make a difference for our seas

Sailors for the Sea's Jennifer Brett and Emily Conklin with Skipper Mike Ingham
Jennifer Brett, Mike Ingham, and Emily Conklin

Located in sailing hubs across the globe, Sailors for the Sea Skipper volunteers are conservation leaders in their local communities who are working on projects that will help restore the health of our oceans and waterways. This year, Skippers attended or presented at events to share Green Boating tips, support Clean Regatta sustainability initiatives, and engage youth on ocean conservation topics. Several Skippers are developing offshore sustainability guidelines, mobilizing clubs in their region to join Clean Regattas, and teaching youth about single-use plastic alternatives. These dedicated sailing leaders continue to take an active role in protecting our waters.

5. Introduced Otto the otter, our new mascot for KELP

As the mascot for our KELP (Kids Environmental Lesson Plans) program, Otto will help encourage kids to learn about our oceans and ways to take care of our blue planet. Our KELP library currently consists of more than 50 marine science lesson plans to help improve ocean literacy and teach about issues impacting our oceans, including plastic pollution, climate change, and invasive species. This year alone, more than 50,000 children used these hands-on activities to discover the wonder of our oceans. We also promoted our instructional videos, which provide teachers, parents and kids helpful guidance on how to carry out the lesson.