Caribbean Sailing Association

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Regatta organizers gather to protect the ocean

The Sailors for the Sea crew was lucky enough to head down to St. Maarten for the 2015 Caribbean Sailing Association Annual Conference. Following last year’s successful marine environmental seminar we worked with conference organizers to extend sustainability training at the conference and discuss ocean health issues that threaten Caribbean waters.

The Caribbean is the ultimate destination for winter sailing, but the fragile marine resources are stressed by everything that comes with increased marine business. Since 2009, we have been working with regattas in the Caribbean to use the Clean Regattas program to protect their famous blue waters.

The Clean Regattas program provides a framework that enables race organizers to conserve the resources that keep sailors coming back year after year. Regattas can become larger, cleaner and make headlines for their green efforts, enabling the sailing industry to be a leader in ocean conservation and create long-term community change.

During the Sailing and Sustainability section of the conference representatives from over a dozen different island nations participated in presentations and roundtable discussions about how regatta organizers can improve and capitalize on their green initiatives. From the island of St. Lucia, Wayne Neale, Founder and Managing Director, Greening The Caribbean shared how his company is innovating waste management in the Caribbean. Sailors for the Sea staff discussed with regatta organizers how green efforts could be leveraged through marketing and engage new sponsors. Additionally, we discussed how to engage youth through our KELP program and the benefits of partnering with local environmental organizations to further Clean Regatta efforts. To wrap things up, Dr. Michael Gil, from the Department of Biology at University of Florida discussed coral reef health, why reefs around the world are in trouble and how boaters can protect them.

A special shout out to all of the attendees of the Caribbean Sailing Association annual conference for including us in their quest to continually improve sailing in the Caribbean!