Global project launched to facilitate seagrass conservation by sailing community

Published on: 23 February 2023

An exciting new campaign between not-for-profit, Clean Sailors, the Ocean Conservation Trust and all-in-one navigation app, savvy navvy, supports sailors to combat climate change by digitally mapping sensitive seabeds and eco-moorings across boating hotspots around the world. 

The aim of the new global campaign, ‘#protectourbeds´, is to help stop vital seagrass being destroyed. It’s about bringing greater awareness to water-users on where sensitive seabeds lie and encouraging them to minimise disruption by especially anchoring. 

Seagrasses combat climate change by absorbing and storing huge amounts of carbon but are estimated to be the fastest disappearing habitat on the planet mainly due to avoidable human activity. 
“The #protectourbeds campaign is collating geo-spatial data on sensitive seabeds and showing the information in the savvy navvy navigation app – providing sailors and water-users with a clear view of where seagrass beds are and alternatives to anchoring. 

By mapping and sharing sensitive seabed locations with digital navigators, and the location of alternatives – eco-moorings – we can educate, inspire and encourage our sailing community to make more informed anchoring choices when out on the water. Making this data visible to those of us who can mitigate our impact when boating, across the world, is incredibly exciting and just makes so much sense to seagrass conservation efforts globally,” says Holly Manvell, founder of Clean Sailors. 

Seagrass meadows store ten percent of the ocean’s carbon and are key protagonists in the combat of climate change. They can be up to 35 times more efficient at absorbing carbon than rainforests of the same area and also provide a habitat for rare and endangered species. Despite the importance of seagrass, in the UK alone, we have lost nearly half our seagrass beds since the 1930s, mainly due to avoidable human activity.
“The Ocean Conservation Trust has been working with the boating community to conserve nature for the past decade, so we are delighted to be the scientific adviser in this project. The addition of sensitive habitat information on savvy navvy navigational charts is the first time the boating community can easily understand what lies beneath the keel. Seagrass habitats are biodiversity hotspots and in decline from multiple pressures, so providing this information to the conscientious boater is a significant step forward in the recovery of this vital Ocean habitat,” said Mark Parry, head of ocean habitat restoration at the Ocean Conservation Trust.
Users of savvy navvy are now able to see the location of existing seabeds and eco-moorings around the south west of the UK in the all-in-one navigation app. The project will build UK-wide sensitive seabed data and then focus on European waters and beyond through the course of 2023-24. 

“We are so excited to work with Clean Sailors and the Ocean Conservation Trust, and be one of the only navigation apps on the market helping to build environmental awareness of carbon footprint through showcasing vital seagrass data. While savvy navvy is all about simplifying boating technology by making navigation safe and easy for everyone, innovative campaigns helping boaters to make better choices when out on the water is something we feel very strongly about. This year we are looking to build one of the most insight-rich platforms on boating behaviour, helping marine businesses across the globe and the #protectourbeds campaign is a great way to kickstart this,” says David Cusworth, head of innovation and partnerships at savvy navvy.

The #protectourbeds campaign is looking for data partners across Europe and the USA for the next milestone of the project. All enquiries and applications can be directed to Clean Sailors via info@cleansailors.com

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