Oceanswatch: Bringing Yachts and Local Communities Together
New Zealander Chris Bone has recently started Oceanswatch with support from an enthusiastic group of yachties and divers. Oceanswatch came about from Chris’ long-standing interest in marine conservation and also from the needs that he has observed in the local communities through which he travels in his job as a yacht delivery skipper.
The first project begins this month with the Oceanswatch team sailing to Vanuatu, PNG and the Philippines to begin pilot studies for future projects.
Oceanswatch aims to help the coastal people of PNG and other disadvantaged groups in the Pacific and, as time goes on, throughout the world. They plan to do this through their own efforts but also through the help of cruising yachtspeople, through a range of activities. One of their main ideas is to educate local people to value and protect their reef ecosystems then to utilise the protected reef system to help communities become financially sustainable. Therefore, on their first trip, they are taking donated fins and masks to school kids in Vanuatu and PNG and educating them about reef conservation. They will be encouraging the elders to protect areas of the reef, as well as helping them set up small scale sustainable eco-tourism businesses and other small scale business ventures, adding value to their existing crops.
Oceanswatch hopes also to enrol the help of people on cruising yachts to undertake marine conservation and to provide humanitarian aid to coastal communities. Noonsite has agreed to support Oceanwatch in order to help them reach the cruising yacht community throughout the world to allow them to share their skills and energy. Oceanswatch team member David Martin has already done this last year in Tikopia and it was a great project, not only for the people he helped but it also gave a fantastic sense of purpose and achievement to the yachties that helped.
Visit the Oceanswatch website for more information on their work, the Oceanswatch team, and how you can provide support.