The SeaKeepers DISCOVERY Yachts Program is our foremost initiative in accomplishing our mission and goals. The program is comprised of scientific expeditions, instrument deployments, and educational outreach events. SeaKeepers collaborates with numerous organizations, academic institutions, and government agencies in order to accomplish its DISCOVERY Yacht missions. SeaKeepers staff work closely with yacht owners and crew to coordinate research and outreach activities that reflect the yacht owner’s ocean-related interests. The degree of participation can vary from an afternoon outreach trip with children to even a ten-minute instrument deployment while en route to your next port to week-long expeditions with a team of expert researchers. Vessel owners who generously donate time on their yachts to the SeaKeepers DISCOVERY Yachts Program may qualify for tax benefits to the extent of the law and will be honored at SeaKeepers events, featured on the SeaKeepers website and recognized for their research and conservation efforts in the SeaKeepers newsletter.
Scientific expeditions provide yacht owners, guests and crew the opportunity to participate in ongoing research while engaging with influential, well-known marine scientists. The largest expense, and often limiting factor, in ocean research, is access to an at-sea research platform. Using member yachts, SeaKeepers works with experts in the marine science and oceanography fields to promote and facilitate groundbreaking research. Each scientific expedition is unique and is organized with both the science and yacht in mind.
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Citizen science expeditions offer an opportunity for vessels 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 which 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.
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SeaKeepers 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 spills 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 achieve this along routes which are not typically traveled. Currently, SeaKeepers 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.
Baited Remote Underwater Devices
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. SeaKeeper 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 is teaming up with Spoondrift, a company that is passionate about exploring new ways of doing things, and changing the way we look at ocean observations. Spoondrift’s first product, Spotter, is their initial contribution toward that goal. Spotter is a web-integrated solution for collecting ocean wave and surface current data, designed from the ground up to be easy to use, intuitive, and extremely low cost. The Spotter Device is a compact, solar-powered, surface-follower, which measures surface waves and currents. Through our online Dashboard you can remotely configure your Spotters, access your data in real time, visualize wave data and position tracks. Your Spotter is already connected, so all you do is turn it on and focus on collecting the data you need.
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SeaKeepers outreach events have focused around marine wildlife, instrument deployments, plastic pollution, sustainability practices and more. SeaKeepers staff works closely with the yacht owner to determine what type of outreach and with what group will be most appropriate.
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SeaKeepers needs vessels to complete these projects. Get actively involved in ocean research and conservation today. If you’d like to be a DISCOVERY Yacht, please contact [email protected] or 786.924.6209.
“RESEARCH, EDUCATE, PROTECT, AND RESTORE”
The International SeaKeepers Society recognizes the vessels who have supported our organization since the implementation of our DISCOVERY Yachts Program in 2014. The participation and support we receive allows us to accomplish our missions in scientific-led expeditions, citizen science, and educational outreach events. Our continued oceanographic research and promotion of marine conservation are impacted through our direct partnerships and fond relationships with our DISCOVERY Yacht vessels. We dedicate our donor wall to our small but distinguished fleet of DISCOVERY Yachts and hope to continue to “research, educate, protect, and restore.”