SeaKeepers, Asia

International Outreach

Overview

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:

Research. Educate. Protect and Restore.


Programming

Our operations run parallel to those of the SeaKeepers headquarters in Miami, Florida and include expanding the impact of the DISCOVERY Yachts Program, within three essential aspects:

  • Education & Outreach Programs which target youth and provide learning experiences aboard DISCOVERY Yachts that serve as Floating Classrooms. These sessions focus on marine wildlife, plastic pollution, and sustainability practices. Participants include local schools and national organizations.
  • Citizen Science Projects that allow owners and crew to do data collection and research and utilize their own vessels. Immersed in an active role to learn about marine environment issues, this involvement helps scientific researchers to find answers in the real world to specific issues.
  • Scientist-Led Expeditions conducted by leading researchers aboard DISCOVERY Yachts. SeaKeepers works with experts in the fields of marine science and oceanography to promote and facilitate groundbreaking research, as well as provide yacht owners, guests, and crew the opportunity to utilize their vessel as an at-sea research platform.

Programme Highlights

National Environment Quiz

Students and teachers from schools all over Singapore gathered today to participate in the annual National Environment Quiz, organised by and held at the Nan Hua High School. Besides the competition, participating students were involved in an exhibition and games as part of the day's activities.

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Motor Yacht Solita Participates in the UMT Ocean Monitoring Project

On-site data is crucial to help researchers and scientists evaluate the level of pollution in our marine environment. The UMT Ocean Monitoring is a research and monitoring project that involves collecting data through water sampling in the waters of Peninsular Malaysia. Interested boaters and yacht owners acting as Citizen Scientists assist to collect these water samples along their sailing route.

As owner of M/Y Solita, Sue shares her firsthand experience as a citizen scientist on the UMT Ocean Monitoring Project run by Universiti Malaysia Terengganu and International SeaKeepers Society, Asia.

If you’re interested to be part of the ongoing UMT Ocean Monitoring Project, please contact [email protected] for further information.

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Bring Your Kids to Work

As part of their Bring Your Kids to work programme, thirty children of tenants in the Keppel Bay Towers
were treated to sustainability themed sessions of exploration, research, BOATS and more, all to learn about Singapore’s marine biodiversity.

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World Oceans Day

The International SeaKeepers Society teamed up with Our Singapore Reefs to clean up the reefs in Lazarus Island in celebration of World Oceans Day. This effort was part of Singapore’s first coordinated underwater clean up to commemorate the global event. The team not only retrieved 25 items weighing over one kilogram of underwater debris, but also three bags and two baskets full of surface trash which includes plastic bottles, bottle caps, straws and any Styrofoam pieces.

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DISCOVERY Yacht Paraffin participates in the UMT Ocean Monitoring Project

Captain Raul of the D/Y Paraffin offered to collect water samples enroute from Singapore to Redang Island located along the east coast of Malaysia. Due to prevailing monsoon season, the best sailing season along the east coast of peninsular Malaysia and the ideal time to collect water samples is from May to October. The objective of this study is focused on marine debris and microplastics and the organisms found in the South China Sea and surrounding waters of Peninsular Malaysia.

If you’re interested to be part of the ongoing UMT Ocean Monitoring Project, please contact [email protected] for further information.

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DISCOVERY Yacht ILLIMITÉ Participates in the UMT Ocean Monitoring Project

The owners of SV ILLIMITÉ, Noelle and Gary, participated as citizen scientists in the Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) Ocean Monitoring Project. The aim of this project is to encourage individuals, yacht owners and hte marina community groups to get involved whilst on their sailing itinerary to monitor the South China Sea and the surrounding areas via water sampling and collecting data on marine debris or micro plastic and marine organisms present.

The couple successfully collected 18 water samples from the sampling points which were surface as well as 5 meters off the bottom every 45 nautical miles. Prior training on the sampling equipment was provided by Dr. Poh Seng Chee, Lead Scientist for the project, before Noelle and Gary started on their journey and a debrief session was held upon the completion.

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Junior Coral Detective Programme

The International SeaKeepers Society Asia – Introduction to Marine Science and Conservation Asia Outreach Programme 2019 had the Floating Classrooms take place on board DISCOVERY Yacht, The Admiral. This event was initiated by the Marina at Keppel Bay for their members’ children to understand the importance of coral reefs. The activities were facilitated by Marine Biologist, Sam Sq, where the children spent a fun morning as Junior Coral Detectives to learn about Singapore’s marine environment and the basic biology of corals. They were able to understand the major threats to coral reefs and discover what marine conservation efforts were happening in Singapore.

The Junior Coral Detective Programme was so successful it took place on February 16th and a session session on April 6th. In the end, the children were more aware of the concepts, the causes and impacts of urban development and climate change in Singapore’s marine environment and how simple changes in their daily lives can positively impact the environment.

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Educational Sessions in Thailand

SeaKeepers partnered up with Our Singapore Reefs and Phuket Marine Biological Center (PMBC) to share information on the Impact of Climate Change on Coral Reefs. A central theme under the SeaKeepers’ Asia – Introduction to Marine Science and Conservation Asia Outreach Programme 2019, these classes were spread over two days during the school’s second edition of ECO Week and attended by over 75 students.

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Understanding Plastic Pollution

SeaKeepers Asia presented the specially crafted lesson plan, “Understanding Plastic Pollution” to forty students from the Deyi Secondary School in Singapore. The students learned a wealth of information about how plastic is made, how Singapore deals with waste and what they need to do in order to make sure that plastic is disposed of properly.

The students also participated in a tailor-made game, “From Trash to Zero – which one is the hero?” where students needed to guess the time it took for eight different types of waste to degrade. Based on the precept to reduce the usage of plastic, the session was beneficial to students who asked many questions and were well-behaved throughout the lesson.

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UMT Ocean Monitoring on DISCOVERY Yacht Luzerne

The International SeaKeepers Society Asia and University Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) and the have initiated the UMT Ocean Monitoring Project in order to help researchers and scientists evaluate the level of pollution in the marine environment, they plan to collect water samples over different seasons and locations. Continued data collection and analysis will help to 
fill critical knowledge gaps such as the occurrence of marine plastic pollution in Southeast Asia, seasonal dispersion patterns, and more importantly the state of plastic pollution in the human food web. The research findings will also support the development of new policies and strategies to battle against ocean pollution.

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SeaKeepers Asia Supports Coral Rehabilitation

The International SeaKeepers Society Asia partnered with the Tropical Marine Science Institute of the National University of Singapore (TMSI) to create coral habitats under the supervision of Professor Chou Loke Ming, who is an Adjunct Research Professor at TMSI and a veteran in coral ecology. The longer-term vision of this eco initiative is to develop suitable sites within the waters of ONE° 15 Marina Sentosa Cove into an education and research site for students and researchers.

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Water Sampling aboard DISCOVERY Yacht Halo

Congratulations to Kirsten Bennet and Joe Cumming of the DISCOVERY Yacht Halo on their successful completion of the first leg of water samplings for the Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) Ocean Monitoring Project. Sailing down the Straits of Malacca from Langkawi Island to Johor, at the southern tip of Malaysia, Kirsten and Joe participated as citizen scientists in this research and monitoring project which is initiated by UMT and in collaboration with The International SeaKeepers Society, Asia.

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Helping Hands Dive II: Laguna Redang Island Resort

The International SeaKeepers Society Asia partnered with Laguna Redang Island Resort and Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) to protect coral reefs on Redang Island, Terengganu, Malaysia. The mission was to move 200 coral nubbins from the Laguna Redang Island Resort coral nursery to a sheltered area at Pasir Akar within the Redang Island Marine Park. This coral nursery was set up as part of a two-year rehabilitation program by the resort, led by UMT’s Dr. James Tan, to restore the degraded reef in areas of the island.

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Floating Classroom on DISCOVERY Yacht Luzerne

A Floating Classroom organised as part of the International SeaKeepers Society, Asia Educational Outreach Programme, took place on board of Discovery Yacht Luzerne on the 23 August. With a glimpse of what it requires to conduct a field study,16 students of the Changkat Changi Secondary School enjoyed an experience outside of their everyday activities which at the same time broadened their educational knowledge to include matters on marine science and Singapore’s biodiversity.

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500 Participants and Counting

The International SeaKeepers Society, Asia Educational Outreach programme has reached a key milestone, hitting the 500-student participant mark in just two years since its commencement in 2016. On the 31st of July 2018, Dr. Martin Gutowski, Sales Director at Kongsberg Maritime Singapore, delivered a presentation about the application of radar and sonar technology used in research and conservation of our marine environment. Students from the Changkat Changi Secondary School were given the opportunity to meet an industry expert and to learn how nature has inspired the development of systems that we use to make the underwater world visible.

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Active Citizenry in Marine Conservation

On the 4th of July 2018, The International SeaKeepers Society, Asia was invited to speak to 150 students on Active Citizenry – Marine Conservation at Deyi Secondary School. The presentation was developed to inspire the students to be curious about and mindful of how they can contribute as active citizens to marine conservation. To set the tone, SeaKeepers spoke of the threats to our oceans and informed the participants of how we enable active citizenry in marine conservation within communities. Co-presenter with SeaKeepers was Melissa Lam, Founder of the Bamboo Straw Girl, who shared her personal story and journey in actively providing a solution towards reducing single-use plastic and the overall goal towards zero waste.

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Save The Blue Marine Cleanup

On the 10th of June 2018, 18 volunteer divers set off early Sunday morning to the Sisters’ Islands Marine Park. To celebrate World Oceans Day 2018 and the International Year of the Reef, their mission was to save the ocean by collecting and documenting the marine debris found within the park. The divers were organised into smaller groups that were each led by an experienced dive guide, and transported to the dive location in two boats. Dive guides from local dive company The Submersibles, the National Parks Board (NParks), and Our Singapore Reefs did an excellent job of making sure that it was a safe, efficient, and productive mission and that everyone had fun.

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Marine Clean Up and Coral Rescue

On Wednesday, the 13th of March, 24 volunteer divers travelled from Laguna Redang Island Resort to Terumbu Kili, located within Redang Island Marine Park in Terengganu, Malaysia, with a mission to undertake a Marine Clean Up and Coral Rescue. Covering an area of 119 sq. meters, the divers successfully removed a total of 130 pieces of marine debris weighing over 10.45 kgs. During the 40-minute dive, 91 pieces of fishing lines that were tangled within the pristine coral reefs were cleared, with no observations of animals tangled.

All debris were collected and transported back on land for weighing, sorting, and proper disposal according to the guidelines set forth by Project AWARE. The data collected is now available online on Project AWARE’s Dive Against Debris®, a citizen-science program that contributes to the global effort to combat marine debris.

The Helping Hands at Redang Island Marine Clean Up and Coral Rescue mission was co-organised by The International SeaKeepers Society, Asia and Laguna Redang Island Resort. The event was supported by the Universiti Terengganu Malaysia (UMT) and Our Singapore Reefs.

Under guidance from UMT researchers, the volunteer divers also assisted with planting 100 rescued coral nubbins on bases before relocating them to the Laguna Redang Island Resort’s coral nursery. This will safeguard the coral and encourage the survival and growth rate of broken coral by providing a stable substrate.

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Expedition Aboard DISCOVERY Yacht Asean Lady

70 students from Compassvale Secondary School’s Environment Club attended SeaKeepers, Asia’s first educational outreach of the year on the 19th of January. The students attended a presentation titled “Introduction to Marine Science & Conservation,” which was given by Mr. Chua Sek Chuan, Senior Manager of Outreach and Education at St John’s Island National Marine Laboratory. After the presentation, the students had the opportunity to engage with Mr. Chuan and ask questions about marine science.

After the initial outreach, 20 students were invited to join a Floating Classroom that took place on the 2nd of February on board DISCOVERY Yacht Asean Lady. Marine biologists from the Tropical Marine Science Institute of the National University of Singapore gave a presentation on Singapore’s marine biodiversity and its current challenges. Students also learned about a successful research project that involved transplanting corals onto human-made structures attached to seawalls around the Singapore coastline. They learned that the project is proving to be conducive to encouraging marine life as well as reducing the impacts of coastal development and loss of marine biodiversity.

The students also participated in a plankton trawl exercise, practiced identifying marine organisms, and learned about dive gear.

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Expedition Aboard DISCOVERY Yacht Asean Lady

On the 26th of January, SeaKeepers Asia hosted a Floating Classroom with 20 students from Deyi Secondary School on board DISCOVERY Yacht Asean Lady. This was the first Floating Classroom session for 2018 and the 2nd time that the Deyi Secondary School participated in The International SeaKeepers Society, Asia Educational Outreach Program. The students were studying pure geography including the study of corals, perfectly matching the specialisation of the lecturers from the Tropical Marine Science Institute of the National University of Singapore. During the four-hour session, topics ranged from understanding Singapore’s biodiversity to the effects of coral bleaching on the marine environment.

Despite the heavy rain, the students enthusiastically participated in the hands-on learning experience of collecting water samples from the Marina and made some surprising discoveries when viewing the samples under the microscope. On the topic of “How Marine Research Is Conducted,” the students were treated to a dive gear demonstration. For most students, this was the first time they encountered dive gear and they gained an understanding of the importance of the safety aspects when diving. In between the fun learning sessions, the students enjoyed a tea break organised by Raffles Marina.

As the final highlight of their learning journey, the Deyi students took a tour of DISCOVERY Yacht Asean Lady.

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Expedition Aboard DISCOVERY Yacht The Admiral

On October 31st, students from Nan Hua High School attended a Floating Classroom on board DISCOVERY Yacht The Admiral at the Marina at Keppel Bay. In preparation for the Floating Classroom, the students joined an introductory lesson at their school premises which was specially crafted and facilitated by the St John’s Island National Marine Laboratory Outreach and Education team. Afterwards, the Floating Classroom session on Singapore’s marine biodiversity was taught by scientists from the Tropical Marine Science Institute of the National University of Singapore. Based on a practical approach to learning, the students were engaged with microscopy work on water samples collected from the Marina. As a further enhancement to the learning experience, the Marina at Keppel Bay conducted a presentation and tour of the Marina’s coral reef at Keppel Bay. The enthusiastic students showed a keen interest in the corals and the environment, and took away a great deal of information to share at their school’s Open House Day.

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Conservation Corner

Children ages four and over participated in marine conservation activities at the Conservation Corner during the Singapore Rendezvous 2017 on the 8th of October at Raffles Marina. The Conservation Corner was presented by Raffles Marina Ltd; The International SeaKeepers Society, Asia; Nature Society Singapore (NSS), Marine Conservation Group; and Our Singapore Reefs.

NSS, Marine Conservation Group provided information boards and display items at the Conservation Corner related to the marine conservation activities regarding the Horseshoe Crab Project and mangroves around Singapore. Our Singapore Reefs also conducted two games with key conservation messages at the event.

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Expedition Aboard DISCOVERY Yacht The Admiral

On the 1st of August, 10 students from the Changkat Changi Secondary School’s Young Enriched Scientist (YES) Program participated in the SeaKeepers, Asia’s Floating Classroom session aboard DISCOVERY Yacht The Admiral. Scientists from the Tropical Marine Science Institute of the National University of Singapore presented lessons aimed at fostering awareness and curiosity about marine science and conservation.

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Expedition Aboard DISCOVERY Yachts The Admiral and Advisors Alliance

On the 14th of July, SeaKeepers, Asia supported an educational outreach opportunity with students from Serangoon Gardens Secondary School aboard two DISCOVERY Yachts. The students participated in a Floating Classroom session at the Marina at Keppel Bay on board DISCOVERY Yacht The Admiral. Scientists from the Tropical Marine Science Institute of the National University of Singapore delivered a presentation on Singapore’s marine biodiversity and the current challenges faced.

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Classroom Sessions

In June and July of 2017, The International SeaKeepers Society, Asia added a new program to our Educational Outreach Programming. With the support of Programming Partner Rolls Royce, an Introductory Lesson is now also offered to students at Singapore schools’ premises before students are invited to participate in SeaKeepers’ signature Floating Classroom sessions aboard DISCOVERY Yachts.

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Expedition Aboard DISCOVERY Yacht Lady Olivia

On the 4th of June, SeaKeepers, Asia joined a number of local groups to participate in “Our Singapore Reefs: Marine Clean Up and Coral Rescue” in conjunction with World Oceans Day 2017. Twenty volunteer divers aboard the dive boat Dolphin Explorer cleaned reefs in Sisters’ Islands Marine Park of Singapore.

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Expedition Aboard DISCOVERY Yacht Paraffin

On the 2nd of June, 15 boys from the nonprofit Tasek Jurong Limited came aboard DISCOVERY Yacht Paraffin to learn about marine science and research diving. Researchers from the National University of Singapore lead a lesson about changing coastlines and coral reefs. The lesson included collecting plankton samples and looking at them under the microscope. The participants were also able to try on SCUBA gear as they learned about how diving is important for research efforts. Afterwards, they also learned about how the marina is working to minimise its impact on the environment.

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Expedition Aboard DISCOVERY Yacht Asean Lady

On the 5th of December, 2016, 15 children from the Girls Club and Gift of Music Group of Tasek Jurong Limited came aboard DISCOVERY Yacht Asean Lady to learn about marine invertebrates. Researchers from the National University of Singapore led the lesson, and participants collected planktonic organisms at Raffles Marina before examining them using microscopes on board.

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Expedition Aboard DISCOVERY Yacht Lady Jo

On the 29th of July, 2016, DISCOVERY Yacht members David and Jo Haines hosted students from Ang Mo Kio Secondary School in Singapore aboard the DISCOVERY Yacht Lady Jo as part of an Educational Outreach Program. While on the vessel, scientist Dr. Ng Ngan Kee and her team from the National University of Singapore facilitated a unique learning excursion for these students, geared toward maximising their engagement with real science.

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Expedition Aboard DISCOVERY Lady Jo

On the 27th of July, 2016, DISCOVERY Yacht members David and Jo Haines hosted students from Deyi Secondary School in Singapore aboard the DISCOVERY Yacht Lady Jo as part of an Educational Outreach Program. While on the vessel, scientist Dr. Toh Tai Chong and his team from the National University of Singapore facilitated a unique learning excursion for these students, geared toward maximising their engagement with real science.

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Expedition Aboard DISCOVERY Yacht Asean Lady

On March 14, 2016 SeaKeepers Singapore 3D was launched with its inaugural educational outreach day onboard D/Y Asean Lady at Raffles Marina, Singapore. Students from the Singapore American School joined Dr. Ng, a scientist from the National University of Singapore, to learn about coastal development and local marine life. After presentations and an introductory lesson onboard the yacht, participants were provided nets to collect samples from the marina waters. They collected many interesting organisms, including squid, shrimp, fish, snails, soft corals and a flat worm. These animals were brought back onboard to identify and further examine using a microscope. Once the hands-on activities were completed, the animals were released back into the sea. SeaKeepers Board Member Julian Chang concluded the day with a tour of D/Y Asean Lady.

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SeaKeepers Asia’s Conservation Strategy

Education & Outreach

Our core focus is the introduction to marine science and conservation through the The International SeaKeepers Society Asia Educational Outreach Programme which is targeted at youth.

The outreach programme provides learning experiences and is composed of two stages. Initially, the sharing of this knowledge is at the school, to promote a deeper facilitation of the programme's curriculum to a wider group. Subsequently the students are invited aboard DISCOVERY Yachts (private vessels supplied by members of the Society) that are transformed into "Floating Classrooms" and participate in marine-based lessons with experts from various fields of science.

Involvement through Citizen Science

Citizen Science projects offer an opportunity for vessel owners to get involved in smaller-scale marine research initiatives with ongoing programme partners. These expeditions do not require scientists to be aboard, but they permit vessel owners and crew to participate in independent activities such as the UMT Ocean Monitoring Project, a water and data collection project focused on understanding the health of Malaysian Waters.

Support of Specific Projects

SeaKeepers works with universities, marine institutions, NGOs and experts in the marine science and oceanography fields to promote and facilitate specific projects such as creation of coral nurseries and reef restoration.

Creating Awareness in the Community

We actively partner and are involved in scientific seminars, educational and community events, beach and underwater cleanups, and yachting industry functions.

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