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Galveston Bay Race Becomes a Clean Regatta

Racers leave a clean wake at the Galveston Bay Cruising Association’s first certified Clean Regatta. Photo by John Lacy, GBCA
Racers leave a clean wake at the Galveston Bay Cruising Association’s first certified Clean Regatta. Photo by John Lacy, GBCA

The Galveston Bay Cruising Association took a step toward cleaner waters by certifying its first Clean Regatta under the guidelines of Sailors for the Sea. The qualifying event was the 28th annual GBCA Performance Cup Regatta in October, which hosted 30 vessels racing in six divisions.

Clean Regattas certification provides third-party verification that event organizers are doing their utmost to protect the waters upon which people sail. To participate, organizers commit to carrying out at least one Best Practice:

• Trash and recycling collection and disposal.
• No discharge.
• Oil spill prevention.
• Non-toxic cleaning products and bottom paint usage.
• Bottom cleaning and boat maintenance.
• Global warming and carbon offsets.
• Biofuel conversion.
• Use of recycled materials.

Sailors for the Sea, a Newport, R.I.-based ocean conservation nonprofit, marked the seventh year of the Clean Regatta program with more than 150 races throughout the United States operating under its best practices guidelines.

“By making the Clean Regattas Pledge, regattas, yacht clubs, and sailing programs commit to protecting the ocean and local waters, and working to achieve higher environmental standards,” said Annie Brett, program lead from Sailors for the Sea. “The program’s growth mirrors the interest among sailors to protect waters for the use and enjoyment of this and future generations.

“If every regatta, sailing program, and yacht club in the world takes this vision to heart and works to effect change in their harbors and communities, we could create a global network of ocean stewards aimed at halting ocean degradation,” Brett added. “This is the vision we work toward every day.”

For more details about Clean Regattas, including how to carry out each Best Practice, visit sailorsforthesea.org.

Other southeast Clean Regattas have included the U.S. Youth Multihull Championship in Islamorada, Fla.; The Atlantic Cup from Charleston, S.C., to Newport, R.I.; and the Hospice by the Sea Regatta in Fort Lauderdale Beach, Fla.

“The main goals of Sailors for the Sea is to educate and engage the boating community in the worldwide protection of the oceans,” said Sailors for the Sea CEO Dan Pingaro. “By providing information, leading education-focused events about current ocean issues, and providing a link between information and the direct action that people can take to make a difference, I know Sailors for the Sea can make a difference.”

Philanthropist David Rockefeller Jr. founded the organization in 2004. “As sailors, we have the opportunity and the responsibility to lead by example,” Rockefeller said. “Everything we can do on the water can be echoed and replicated on shore for the protection of the world’s waters.”


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