I am very pleased to share some good news: Oceana and Sailors for the Sea, a non-profit organization dedicated to engaging ocean sailors in the cause of ocean conservation, have entered into an agreement to join forces under the Oceana banner. The combination, which is subject to approval of the Massachusetts courts, is expected to be concluded later this year.
Oceana's focus on winning victories for the oceans often relies on leveraging public support to influence policymakers. Having Sailors for the Sea join Oceana will help us engage with approximately 12 million recreational boaters – sailors and boaters who often care passionately about the health of the seas they spend so much time with.
Sailors for the Sea is a successful organization that engaged more than a million people in 2016. It has collaborated with more than 75 other organizations and implemented its programs in 49 countries and 40 U.S. states. I am excited to introduce you to their excellent work and relay that all of Sailors for the Sea's core programs will continue. They are:
1. Clean Regattas: The world's only sustainability certification for water-based events was launched just over a decade ago by Sailors for the Sea and has certified 1,000 events reaching over 400,000 sailors.
2. KELP (Kids Environmental Lesson Plans): Sailors for the Sea collaborates with leading marine research and education institutions to create dynamic and relevant lesson plans designed to foster a better understanding of the marine world. These 43 lesson plans created by the program have been utilized by 618 organizations to educate over 114,000 students.
3. Green Boating Guide: a one-of-a-kind guide that offers everyone, from the smallest sailboat to the largest mega-yacht, sustainable eco tips, resources and information for fun, meaningful, green boating that has been viewed over 10,000 times in the first six months.
Additionally, as part of this combination, Sailors for the Sea's founder, David Rockefeller Jr., has joined Oceana's Board of Directors. He has a long history as an ocean advocate. In addition to founding Sailors for the Sea, he has served on the Pew Ocean Commission and been a frequent guest at Oceana events. Already a distinguished philanthropist and an accomplished ocean sailor and racer, he has been a good friend to many of us here at Oceana and we are lucky to have him join our team.
The combination was unanimously approved by both organizations' boards of directors after the effort was initiated by Oceana. Oceana and Sailors for the Sea are maintaining the office in Newport, RI, as well as Sailors for the Sea affiliates in Japan and Portugal. Sailors for the Sea board members have also been invited to join Oceana's Ocean Council.
I hope you will join me in welcoming Sailors for the Sea into the Oceana family as we continue our fight for abundant oceans. With our newest allies aboard, we will continue winning victories for the oceans that provide sustenance, employment, inspiration and pleasure to people all over the world.