On this World Ocean Day, as we come together to honour and protect our precious marine ecosystems, it is paramount that the superyacht sector stand united in support of its biggest stakeholder and take collective action in the form of structural, industry-wide commitment.
To translate this commitment into tangible action and results, we are proud to announce Water Revolution Foundation’s newest programme: Ocean Assist. Ocean Assist will provide a return on superyachting’s landmark investment in ocean conservation, prioritising projects and adopting scientific tools that are urgently needed to safeguard the oceans. This will enable the sector to maximise financial (and non-financial) resources and embrace nature-based solutions. “It must be clear that yachting’s promising efforts to reduce its environmental footprint are only half of the challenges faced to future-proof the industry,” says Robert van Tol, Executive Director. “The other half is protecting the healthy ocean for which our sector directly relies on – we can no longer take its pristine conditions for granted to provide the lifestyle that superyachting sells. The Ocean Assist programme aims to structurally reinvest in the ocean through scientific guidance and support by an entire maritime sector, resulting in a community of true stewards of the sea.”
The Ocean Assist investment fund coming soon to the industry
Through the Ocean Assist Fund, appropriate criteria will be used by an independent scientific advisory board to select marine conservation and restoration projects to allocate funds from the yachting community. This fund is unique for being the only marine conservation initiative aimed to be structurally supported by an entire maritime industry, not a single organisation or small coalition of like-minded companies.
Ocean Assist will raise awareness and commitment across the yachting community, transform financial support for ocean conservation into a business proposition and investment for the well-being of the planet, and spearhead a new age of regenerative development to conserve and revive our marine ecosystems. “This programme represents a vital step towards a regenerative future for our oceans. By investing in blue carbon ecosystems, we can restore ocean health and create a legacy of environmental custodianship for generations to come,” shares our vice-chair and initiator, Dr. Vienna Eleuteri.
Ocean Strategy for Yachting
The significance of implementing such a programme was underscored last month in Hamburg, where top industry leaders and esteemed ocean scientists came together for a strategic discussion on the way forward for yachting and science to join forces – the outcome being a mandate from the industry pledging to prioritise sector-wide, coordinated reinvestment in the oceans, alongside mitigation. The strategic session took place alongside a workshop attended by leading ocean conservation scientists, who spent the week nominating 43 new regions for protection in the North-East Atlantic as part of the Important Marine Mammal Areas (IMMA) programme. As Ocean Assist’s first initiative, IMMA’s North-East Atlantic project is entirely funded by the yachting community and a valuable demonstration of what future projects might entail.
A coordinated approach
It is due time that collective action is taken – the entire yachting community must gear up for structural commitment both in terms of support and adoption of results, moving beyond charity or philanthropy in favour of an industry-wide effort to secure our common future.