One of the programs I spend a lot of my time working on is our sailing outreach program Sharing the Seas: Safe Boating for Sailors and Whales. The overarching goal of this program is to empower sailors to use safe boating practices to reduce disturbances and injury to whales, as well as to their sailing crews. Since its launch in 2016, we have provided workshops for yacht clubs, presented at conservation and sailing conferences, and provided information for a number of competitive sailing races. As someone who had never set foot on a sailboat until last summer, I have certainly learned a lot about sailing in the past couple years!
The international Volvo Ocean Race is our latest project for Sharing the Seas. The seven teams competing in the race left Alicante, Spain in October and arrived in Newport, Rhode Island earlier this week. Since Newport is one of America’s most famous sailing hubs and a short distance from WDC’s North American office, it seemed like the perfect opportunity for some education and outreach! During their stopover in Newport, WDC will be reaching sailors of all ages, as well as the general public, through our exhibit at the Race Village May 12-20th. We are joining nearly 30 other exhibitors at the One Ocean Exploration Zone who are promoting sustainability and conservation in our oceans.
The Volvo Ocean Race has a huge international following and we are excited to be working with various sailing organizations to participate in this event. Time will tell, but I think the large inflatable whale we will have at the race village will be a huge draw. If you or anyone you know is attending, we should be easy to spot…. Make sure you come by and meet Rocky, get a hand stamp, and learn about safe boating for sailors and whales!