A labour of underwater love
The Sea Fans met as staff volunteers on a remote marine conservation base on the northern tip of the island of Koh Rong, Cambodia in 2014. Amy was the scuba instructor and Jerry the marine science officer, and together we taught people how to dive and how to survey coral reef. We then moved on to bases in The Philippines and the Caribbean. As well as deciding to spend the rest of our lives together, we had the idea of a website that would make it easier to volunteer in marine conservation.
Sea Fans founders – Jerry Slater and Amy Hornett
A one-stop shop for marine conservation volunteering projects
During our time volunteering, we were amazed by the variety of people we met who wanted to get involved in marine conservation: gap year students and budding marine biologists. First-time travellers and those on a career break. People who have never dived before to experienced divers who wanted to advance their knowledge and skills. From teenagers to retirees; solo travellers, honeymooners, school groups and families on holiday. Different people, from all ages and backgrounds, with one thing in common: a love of the sea.
But how did all these people come together? The answer: ‘word of mouth’. They had wanted a holiday with a difference. An adventure. A way to learn and do something to help protect wildlife. Either a friend had recommended a project or they had stumbled upon the opportunity by chance.
We began to think how great it would be if there was a website which showed the true wealth of opportunities out there for ocean lovers like them. A place where you could find all the marine conservation projects throughout the world, helping to conserve ocean and coastal habitats, and all the marine wildlife that lives there. A global hub that everyone could use, so we could maximise the potential of all fans of the sea.
It would be great, wouldn’t it?
Everyone can get involved in marine conservation
“Look in the mirror, consider your talents, and think about how you might use them to make a difference. Some have artistic skills, others are good with numbers or have a way with words. Everyone has power to make a difference as an individual, or by joining the company of others who share a common goal. The key is in knowing that what you do matters, including doing nothing!” – Dr. Sylvia Earle – Founder of Mission Blue
Inspired to do what we can do to help the ocean, we secured a series of pet and housesitting gigs starting on the island of Nevis in the Caribbean and set to work devising a site that would showcase all the marine conservation projects around the world.
There’s more than one way to save the ocean
Only when we took the time to really think, did we appreciate there was so much more to marine conservation than getting people onto volunteering projects. We realised that anyone and everyone can do something to help the ocean.
They could make small personal changes to their lifestyle, or stop using plastic bags and straws. What about switching to ocean-friendly health and cleaning products, or buying from shops that use recycled material or donate their profits to ocean charities. They could take their kids to see wild dolphins instead of in a dolphinarium. Sign petitions, join campaigns, make informed seafood choices, do beach cleans… the list of ideas and opportunities is endless.
We came up with a step-by-step guide to getting involved in marine conservation, and used it as the basis of the site. After seven months of dedicated research and development Sea Fans launched in March 2018. It’s our mission to champion marine conservation in whatever form it comes. Will you help us?
Become a Sea Fan
There are many people and organisations out there doing great things for marine conservation that we want the world to know about. If you know of – or you are – an ocean-friendly charity or NGO, company, shop, or campaign, team or individual, product maker or service provider, learning aid developer, event or experience organiser, green dive centre, or of course a marine volunteering project… then get in touch.
Sign up for our Sea Fanzine, or join us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Meet other Sea Fans and share your love of the ocean. Don’t forget to use the hashtags #seafans and #oceankarma.