In 2015, after visits by the Board and Senior Management of SeaKeepers, it was agreed that with the heightened consciousness of conservation in Singapore and the surrounding region, it was time to start reaching out to the region’s yacht owners and general public.
The International SeaKeepers Society established SeaKeepers, Asia. This expansion with a new chapter in Asia is also under the leadership of Board Member, Julian Chang, who is also an active member of the yachting and shipping industries in Singapore and China. He has been tasked with expanding the success of SeaKeepers’ programs throughout this region.
Building upon established international programming, the efforts in Asia are on creating better local awareness of the current situation of our oceans in order to build a sense of appreciation and a commitment to protect, conserve, and restore the marine ecosystem where possible.
With our principal group of volunteers, our mission remains to save the oceans by applying the motto:
SeaKeepers outreach events have focused around marine wildlife, instrument deployments, plastic pollution, sustainability practices, and more. SeaKeepers staff work closely with the yacht owner to determine the appropriate type of group and outreach
Citizen science expeditions offer an opportunity for vessel owners to get involved in smaller-scale marine research initiatives. These expeditions do not require scientists to be aboard, but they permit vessel owners and crew to participate in ongoing research projects which depend on the participation of non-scientists within the community. One of our main projects supported by citizen scientists is Biscayne Bay Water Watch (BBWW), a community-based initiative that utilizes volunteers with boats to help collect water samples in order to monitor water quality in Biscayne Bay. The program was developed and is managed by the UF/IFAS Sea Grant Extension Program in Miami-Dade County.
The International SeaKeepers Society works with a number of institutions, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and Argo to make ongoing oceanographic measurements. The collection of consistent and accurate data is extremely important for oil spill and marine debris accumulation analyses, weather and hurricane prediction models, quality control tests on satellites, and an overall better understanding of the marine environment. It is vital that the global instrument arrays are well distributed; private vessels can achieve this along routes that are not typically traveled. Currently, The International SeaKeepers Society employs the use of two types of devices — SeaKeepers Drifters and Argo Floats. These instruments have been designed to be scientifically productive and efficient while minimally invasive to the environment.
SeaKeepers has also partnered with Florida International University’s Global FinPrint, a Paul G. Allen initiative, which is conducting the first global survey of shark and ray populations with the use of baited remote underwater video (BRUV) surveys. SeaKeepers vessels can support the effort by deploying the BRUV rigs at coral reef locations around the world. Each rig is minimally invasive and includes an underwater camera and attached bait box. Marine organisms are attracted to the bait and are then filmed. Researchers review the footage to obtain important information about the populations of these globally threatened species, in order to drive shark and ray conservation through research and policy. Areas of particular interest include the Dry Tortugas, Indonesia, and French Polynesia.
SeaKeepers shares its mission of ocean research and conservation with local communities throughout the year. Headquarters is actively involved in multiple Floridian communities, taking part in scientific seminars, educational events, beach cleanups, and yachting industry functions. Similarly the SeaKeepers Asia Chapter organizes community engagement opportunities throughout the year and activities can be found on their page.