Sustainability

Eyesea Change Maps Global Pollution and Maritime Hazards

1 February 2021By Laura Shaughnessy
Courtesy of Eyesea

Written by

Laura Shaughnessy

Laura Shaughnessy has been the managing editor at Dockwalk since February 2018. Having grown up among the cornfields, she is ecstatic to be among the boats in the yachting capital of the world. Armed with a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s in journalism, 15 years of experience with newspapers, magazines, and the online world, Laura has joined a great crew. When not writing about superyacht crew, she’s hanging out with her husband and their German Shepherd, working on house projects, or binging on Netflix.

There are a few terrible universal facts out there: Life’s not fair, death and taxes are the only sure thing, and our oceans are becoming very polluted at a scary rate. But we can do something to save our oceans.

That’s what the new nonprofit organization, Eyesea, is doing, by mapping out global pollution and maritime hazards. In 2020, they developed the concept of using geotagged pictures to chart maritime pollution. Seafarers, crew, guests, and others can collect information on surface pollution — merely by taking photos, which are then incorporated into charts and maps that provide local and global data on marine pollution.

Fraser is the first yachting company to commit their support to the Eyesea initiative. Fraser CEO Raphael Sauleau is the yachting industry lead as Eyesea’s deputy chair. “Eyesea is a unique concept as it allows all vessels to take part in a collaborative effort to monitor the health of the oceans. A handful of superyacht expedition and research vessels can only do so much,” Sauleau said in a press release. “This is a job that requires all hands. We are going to have some fun, and we are going to recognize the yachts that make a difference, but more importantly, we are going to do work we can all be proud of.”

“Maritime pollution — any pollution — is a problem that will not be solved by regulation, ESG reports, automation, or tech,” Graeme Somerville-Ryan says.

“Maritime pollution — any pollution — is a problem that will not be solved by regulation, ESG reports, automation, or tech,” Graeme Somerville-Ryan, founder of Eyesea, says, adding, “I'm aware of the irony. It will only be solved by people, a lot of people, doing some dirty work to pick up what’s already in and near the ocean. To do this effectively, we need to know what is out there and where it is. We hope our maps will show the world what is going on and that this will enable people far smarter than us to come up with solutions or simply feel compelled to change the way they treat the environment.”

Though Eyesea is based out of New Zealand, their members are located all over the world.

“We chose this structure because we wanted the maritime community to own the idea and to drive the initiative. We hoped that the Eyesea concept would hit a nerve with people who lived and worked on, with, or near the ocean,” Sommerville-Ryan says. “We believed these people want to be involved in protecting the oceans, but don't quite know how they can make a difference or what needs to be done. Mapping the problem allows us to start a whole range of different conversations. Superyacht captains and crew go places others don't and, as such, they have the potential to play a unique and valuable role in protecting the ocean. Since our launch last week, we have been swamped by inquiries from companies and individuals wanting to be involved.”

“Eyesea is a unique concept as it allows all vessels to take part in a collaborative effort to monitor the health of the oceans. A handful of superyacht expedition and research vessels can only do so much,” Raphael Sauleau says.

Eyesea is currently undergoing at-sea testing and is already collecting data on coastal and terrestrial pollution. “The app is currently in beta stage development and we hope to push out testing to 60 volunteer vessels in the next few weeks,” Sommerville-Ryan told Dockwalk on December 18. “A wider public launch will take place once we have evaluated all the feedback from testing and made any required changes to the platform.”

In the initial phase, Eyesea will be collecting, analyzing, and holding the data. All data sent in is done so on an anonymous basis. Once they understand what sort of information they’re getting, they’ll assess as a group how to best provide access to the information collected.

He adds: “An indication of our thinking in this area can be seen in our recently announced partnership with the North American Marine Protection Association (NAMEPA). NAMEPA, and organizations like it, are involved in clean-up activities and education.”

To get involved with Eyesea, contact Graeme Somerville-Ryan via email at graeme@eyesea.org.

This column is taken from the February 2021 issue of Dockwalk.

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