Meet Our West Coast Youth Ambassador - Sailors for the Sea

Meet Our West Coast Youth Ambassador

 December 14, 2016  | By: Oceana

Ryan Schack is a senior from Long Beach, CA who’s trying to make a difference in his community. As a competitive and award-winning sailor, Ryan is passionate about ocean health issues. He’s promoting our Clean Regattas program in southern California to help restore the beaches to their polluted-free origins. Ryan is working improve environmental awareness amongst his peers by speaking about ocean health issues at junior sailing regattas at Los Angeles and Long Beach yacht clubs. Ryan hopes to be able to influence his own and future generations to take a more proactive approach when dealing with pollution in our oceans. We snagged Ryan for a few minutes between school and sailing practice to find out why ocean conservation is where he chooses to volunteer his time.

What is your first memory of the ocean?

My first memory of the ocean goes back to the summer days when I would ride on a water taxi with my grandma to the Aquarium of the Pacific. These were the first times I was able to get on a boat and go on the water, the most memorable moments being standing on the bow like a scene out of Titanic watching porpoise jump alongside as we sped away from shore. Getting off of the water and going to such an amazing aquarium opened my eyes to the wonders of the ocean and left an imprint in my mind on the importance of the ocean that I will never lose.

What is the biggest threat to preserving the ocean and local waters for future generations?

I believe the biggest threat to preserving the oceans for future generations is the lack of knowledge amongst my generation about the effects of pollution. Many students I encounter at my school and people who live near the ocean have little to no idea of the impact their trash can have on the ocean environment. Everyday, I see people blatantly throwing plastics on the ground with little regard to where it ends up. Unfortunately, I see much of this trash in the water and along the coastlines when I am out sailing. If we are able to better educate people on the impact of their actions, I believe the ocean will be easier to preserve.

Why are you passionate about ocean conservation?

I am extremely passionate about ocean conservation because of the impacts the seas have on my life. The water has taken up a majority of my childhood, from sailing to snorkeling. When I was young, I thought it was common for all waterways and bays to be clean. When I first started sailing, I rarely saw trash when I was mucking around in the bay. Now, it seems like whenever I’m on the water I’m picking up some sort of pollution. In the past few years, I have increasingly noticed the trash while sailing. Even on a short, hour-long practice, I often return to shore with a few pounds of plastic.