Meet our new Program Coordinator - Sailors for the Sea

Meet our new Program Coordinator

 January 10, 2014  | By: Oceana


Tyson Bottenus

Meet Tyson Bottenus, our new Program Coordinator.  He comes to Sailors for the Sea after having spent nine years teaching and coaching in the marine nonprofit sector. He has also worked offshore as a Fisheries Observer for NOAA.

Tyson graduated from the University of Rhode Island with degrees in Oceanography and Marine Policy and has participated in several research expeditions studying marine debris, offshore oil spills and fisheries bycatch. He enjoys communicating about all aspects of the marine environment with whomever he can, wherever he is in the world. A lifelong sailor and outdoorsman, Tyson is passionate about conserving the environment for future generations.

What is your earliest memory of the ocean?
My earliest memories on the water are those I shared with my father, who was a recreational fisherman and lobsterman in Massachusetts. We spent countless hours when I was a child on the water in a 14 ft. dinghy catching striped bass and checking our pots to see what crawled in.

What is the biggest threat to preserving the ocean and local waters for future generations?
The biggest challenge we will face preserving the ocean in the coming years will be coming to grips with what New York Times journalist Andrew Revkin calls the “slow drip” problems of environmentalism. It will not be one large oil spill, for instance, that mucks up the ocean. It will be the repeated practice of topping off the fuel tank at the dock, for example, and accidentally letting a small slick appear which will cause the greatest environmental harm.

What was your “aha moment” that turned you into a conservationist?
I came to realize the impermanence of all phenomena when sailing by a series of atolls known as the Tuamotu Islands, in French Polynesia as a wet-behind-the-ears college kid with Sea Education Association. It struck me then that these low-lying islands would soon be swallowed up by sea level rise and the inhabitants of these islands – many of whom had been there for generations and generations – would be displaced, their knowledge and culture lost forever. “Fighting the tide”, and recognizing that it is by no means a frivolous pursuit, has been my life’s work.