In each issue of Oceana magazine, we sit down with one of Oceana’s many supporters to learn why they are passionate about the oceans. In the most recent issue, we chatted with Summer Osterman, a yacht charter broker with Burgess Yachts. You can read our Q&A below below.
Why were you drawn to the oceans?
It’s always been a huge part of my life—my family lived on the beach, and my dad was a lifeguard and later owned beach related businesses. When I was a kid my mom used to go outside and ring a big bell when dinner was ready so my older sister would come in from surfing! My whole family scuba dives and are enchanted with the underwater world. I used to think that if I swam long enough underwater that I would eventually turn into a mermaid. I think I might have to blame the movie Splash for this? But I’d swim and I’d swim underwater until I was blue in the face but it wasn’t to be… not yet at least!
Have you always been interested in ocean conservation?
Yes—I was fortunate enough to grow up in a coastal surf community where beach clean-ups were a regular part of grade school activities, and where we kept our lights out at night so we could emulate a natural habitat for the nesting sea turtles whose hatchlings could then be properly guided by the moon out to their new home in the sea.
What’s your favorite ocean destination?
That’s tough because there are so many, but I just returned from Tahiti and Moorea and had a few very special encounters with some amazing humpback whales, some of them calves, and it was just so magical. And I was swimming and diving with lots of different sharks—so I think French Polynesia is winning at the moment!
Tell us about a special experience with the ocean, perhaps while paddle boarding?
Well, the reason I love paddleboarding so much it is one of the very few water activities that my darling little pug can join me for! (She has her own little life jacket of course.) But being on the east coast and watching the sunrise over the ocean has always been one of my most sacred and spiritual rituals, and I take advantage of the amazing opportunity to do this whenever possible! I feel such tremendous gratitude every time I witness this and I would say this is my most special experience with the ocean—I feel all of the power and energy of the universe culminating into the beginning of a beautiful new day and it brings me so much joy!
How did you get involved with Oceana?
It was a perfect opportunity for Burgess to help protect and preserve the amazing oceans that essentially provide the playgrounds of our clients. Philanthropically, not only do we support Oceana but we take advantage of the opportunity to introduce Oceana and their many campaigns and interests and victories to our yacht owners and clients who have the ability to really make a positive impact. Through our ongoing efforts, I am also introduced to Oceana supporters who are obviously ocean enthusiasts and are very likely to be interested in the amazing on-the-water vacation experiences that Burgess provides. It’s a win-win, no matter how you look at it, but my last three to four years of working with Oceana has taught me so much and it makes me realize that we need to do everything we can to get everyone educated about how we can make a positive difference, and more importantly, how we can stop making choices that have destructive results.
What ocean conservation issue compels you most and why?
I am concerned about all of Oceana’s crucial campaigns—but I am an emotional person by nature and protecting marine wildlife—especially marine mammals—is what really speaks to my heart. That being said, I recognize that by promoting responsible fishing, we are tackling so many important issues at once. The same polices that will help us feed earth’s aggressively growing population will also keep my beloved dolphins from becoming bycatch!
Do you feel hopeful about the future?
Of course! Oceana makes me feel optimistic because they continually identify specific problem areas and develop strategies and solutions and fight to put them to work. As a result, victories are occurring globally and positive changes are being made regularly by their team. Oceana is effective and that gives us hope!
Is there anything else you want to tell readers of Oceana?
Read The Perfect Protein by Andy Sharpless if you haven’t already!