San Diego Sheds (Sun)light on Sustainability

By Amber Stronk & Paige Myatt

Every two years Sailors for the Sea Powered by Oceana looks forward to the US Sailing Leadership Forum. This event brings together educators and leaders in the fields of sailing and sustainability – and this year was certainly no different. Our Program Manager, Paige and Communications Manager, Amber had the opportunity to travel to sunny San Diego, California for the four-day event. The highlight of the week was speaking with attendees about our conservation programs and presenting with our Oceana colleague, Brady Bradshaw, about plastic pollution myths, our Green Boater Initiative and how Oceana’s campaigns work to protect the waters sailors love.

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The USSLF gave us a unique chance to elevate our impact by diving deeper into conversations with regatta organizers and passionate conservationists. We were able to discuss how they can further their involvement with Sailors for the Sea as well as get involved with Oceana’s campaigns to fight single-use plastics. One of the sessions during the conference, “Going Green Without Going Crazy: Three Paths Toward Sustainability” focused on ways that yacht clubs around the country are implementing sustainability initiatives that work for regatta management, coaching and scoring. Sailors for the Sea’s Clean Regatta program was a main highlight of the panel discussion and was recommended as the foundational resource for organizers to turn to when establishing green event management practices. It was wonderful to see how regatta organizers are adopting the Clean Regatta framework and communicating back to the public what has successfully worked for them.

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While in San Diego, Emerald Keepers, a grassroots organization focused on protecting Coronado’s coastal community, invited us to present at the Coronado Yacht Club as part of their speaker series. It was a truly rewarding night with a lot of dynamic conversations among passionate ocean enthusiasts looking to more actively pursue sustainable practices, both in their personal lives as well as take the next step of encouraging local business to offer plastic-free alternatives.

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We left San Diego feeling humbled to know that the “Sailors for the Sea Powered by Oceana” brand continues to be recognized among sailing organizations and environmentally conscious boaters all over the country. We look forward to building on this success and continuing to strengthen our relationship with boaters by providing them with opportunities to have their voices heard on Oceana’s policy-oriented and science-based campaigns that affect waterways worldwide.

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