The inspiration for OceansWatch came from sailors cruising the South Pacific islands and observing that the reefs, fisheries and people living on islands and in coastal communities dependent upon them were increasingly challenged and exhibiting signs of stress and debilitation from pollution, over fishing, lack of sustainable stewardship, lack of knowlege, skills, resources and support.
OceansWatch founder Chris Bone was captain of the Greenpeace yacht Vega for two years and has been a professional skipper with a yacht delivery business (see Pacific Yacht Deliveries) in the South Pacific for many years. After observing the great need for environmental and humanitarian aid in developing areas that were remote and underserved by government and NGO service providers, Chris and other sailors realized that these areas might best be served from sailing yachts.
In 2005 and 2006 ad hoc groups of sailors on yachts began to undertake missions to help in whatever ways they could, helping Tikopia island residents to rebuild a storm damaged beach isthmus separating their only source of freshwater from the sea.
From this simple idea and humble beginnings, in 2007 OceansWatch was formed as a not-for-profit Charitable Trust registered in New Zealand by a group of sailors and divers concerned about ocean and marine environments and their associated coastal communities.
In the fall of 2007 Chris skippered a yacht on an exploratory voyage to Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines, conducting advance planning for future missions.
In 2008 on the project lead boat Magic Roundabout Chris lead multiple projects over five months to Vanuatu, Tonga and Papua New Guinea. See Previous Projects.
In the spring of 2008, OceansWatch was contacted by Sequoia Sun (also a Greenpeace captain on Witness in 2006), who was also interested in ocean ecology, marine conservation, humanitarian relief and medical aid projects delivered on sailboats in developing countries.
Recognizing a high level of synergy and common purpose, Sequoia and trustees of OceansWatch decided to work together to establish OceansWatch North America, which was incorporated in Connecticut, USA on September 11, 2008.
The mission statements, goals and purpose of the two organizations are identical, and they will work cooperatively to promote sustainable marine projects to their two regions of the ocean.
After another full season of projects in Vanuatu, Samoa and Papua New Guinea in 2009, OceansWatch New Zealand is busy preparing for another season of projects in the South Pacific for 2010. OceansWatch North America is conducting advance planning research for future projects in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, while members are conduction educational projects in Guatemala, Mexico and Belize.
You can be an important part of this exciting adventure by joining OceansWatch, donating time or resources, volunteering your skills, expertise or the use of your boat, or helping to organize or participate with a future OceansWatch project. Please visit our Get Involved Action page.