This interview was conducted by Selva Ozelli
Tell us about your Ocean Talks series. What prompted your publication to start it?
BOAT International has an audience that is intimately connected to the sea. This includes not just boat owners, but also their crews, designers, shipyards, and everything in between. It is a powerful group, who are passionate about doing more to save the sea they love and, in many cases, depend upon. But often they are not sure how to help. As a brand, we also do a lot in the ocean conservation space, including our Ocean Awards, in partnership with the Blue Marine Conservation. This brings us into close contact with those on the front line of ocean science.
What we wanted to do with OCEAN TALKS was build a bridge between these two communities – yachting and science – so that they could share their knowledge, expertise and ideas, and ultimately help each other to save our planet.
We launched OCEAN TALKS four years ago, with the support of our partners, the Ocean Family Foundation (OFF), as a live event at London's Royal Geographic Society (RGS), in order to create a physical space where these two communities could meet and help each other. The day is packed with panel discussions, workshops, inspiring talks and exhibitions. Due to the pandemic, we have hosted the last two years as digital-only events, and hope that this year will be the last such event before we return to the RGS in person once again next year.
How are people getting involved with Ocean conservation?
In all sorts of ways. Some are doing it on an individual level – beach clean ups, hosting scientists on board, taking part in citizen science, etc. Others are doing it on a much bigger scale, by building explorer yachts that carry out science for example (boats such as REV, and ALUCIA 2). But also on an industry level, companies and organisations are all doing their part, by committing to plastic free targets, or sustainable design, or joining other initiatives.
Are you seeing more yachts built with/operating with solar energy?
Companies like Silent Yachts - https://www.silent-yachts.com/ - have built their entire brand around solar capacity. It helps that these yachts are all catamarans, so a perfect platform to carry lots of solar cells. But lots of larger, genuine superyachts are being built with solar cells embedded in superstructures or hardtops. The idea of this isn't to run the entire yacht on solar power – the cells aren't yet capable of running propulsion, air-con, galleys, etc. – at the same time, but they can provide enough power so boats can sit at anchor for hours at a time without using the generators, which is not only fuel efficient, it's also noiseless. A good recent example of this is the sailing yacht Path - https://www.boatinternational.com/yachts/editorial-features/baltic-146-sailing-yacht-path. You can see all the solar cells in the hardtop. When the sun is shining, these can be used to charge the batteries, and also run the yacht when it is stationary.
Tell us about BOAT International's digital thought-provoking three-day program from June 8-10 around World Oceans Day.
We are really excited about this year's content, which we will host online from Wednesday 8th to Friday 10th June. This includes a podcast with the Queen of Conservation, Silvia Earle, videos of the scientists looking for boats via our Yachts for Science initiative, the latest on the war against plastic and BOAT International's first NFT auction, which will see designs by world-leading studio Winch Design raise money for ocean conservation charities.
How can people get involved?
Watch, read and listen to our discussions, follow us on social media to keep updated on the latest ocean conservation initiatives, and attend our in-person Ocean Talks event in 2023.