The annual SeaKeepers Founders celebration honors some of the biggest supporters of environmental stewardship via the International SeaKeepers Society. This month, during the Fort Lauderdale boat show, the non-profit recognized several superyacht and yacht owners, as well as crew. Each contributed to scientist-led expeditions, educational outreach, and/or environmental instrument deployment.
More than 200 guests attended the SeaKeepers Founders event to honor these individuals, in fact. Each participates in the organization’s Discovery Yacht program, a primary initiative for the past 17 years. SeaKeepers’ staff pairs interested yacht owners and crew with research and outreach activities matching their ocean-related interests. Discovery Yacht participation varies widely, according to the owners’ and crew’s abilities. It can be as simple as letting schoolchildren step aboard and take an afternoon cruise to observe sea life. It can also be as simple as spending just 10 minutes deploying scientific instruments while en route to a destination.
The SeaKeepers Founders honorees included the owners and crew of the yachts Angari, Asean Lady, LoJo, Harle, Shredder, Timely Sale, and Lady Olivia, among others. Harle, for example, worked with the Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience of the University of Florida. Researchers there are studying plankton. Harle assisted them by deploying and retrieving plankton nets over a two-week period between April and May. The yacht did so while cruising from Florida to Bermuda and onward to the Azores. Meanwhile, over in Asia, Asean Lady welcomed schoolchildren aboard to learn about the ocean and coastal conservation.
SeaKeepers Founders attendees also heard directly from longtime SeaKeepers supporters what it’s like to work with the organization. Capt. Sandy Yawn (above left, with SeaKeepers’ CEO and president Richard Snow) spoke passionately about her experiences. Now a household name thanks to appearing on the TV program Below Deck Mediterranean, Yawn also introduced each honoree.
Additional special guests that evening were: Capt. Paul Watson, founder of SeaShepherd Conservation Society; and Fabien Cousteau, recipient of the 2015 SeaKeeper Award for his environmental activism.
The local NBC affiliate shared highlights with viewers, too. Take a look: