Plastic Sailing

My job is an incredibly rewarding one. Apart from being passionate about my students progressing and developing skills in a variety of watersports I am also passionate about what can be enjoyed whilst being afloat. Nature has a great impact on people of all ages and particularly children. I love to see the amazed and sometimes startled responses of youngsters that see a shoal of fish jumping on a sunny day, or a passing sea turtle on rarer occasions. It is a fantastic experience for children as I find more and more how most are out of touch with nature and often screens replace exploring outside.

Major changes in our oceans are happening right now and I wonder if future generations will get to enjoy them as I and many others before me have? Litter and human waste is something all too common on a short sail around the bay; plastic bottles, carrier bags, cups and unfortunately more rubbish is seen than wildlife. The sad fact is that most of these items are reusable. How many of us use a plastic bottle once and then discard it? This wasteful mindset we have as a species has to change if future generations are going to enjoy what we have right now.

A recent sailing trip to Al Safliya island with a group of children demonstrated what we as individuals can do. 40kg of rubbish was collected in a quick run around the shore line, all of it plastic! I suppose my own concern for this has come from my job which is also my hobby. If I wasn’t on the water everyday I doubt I would be as aware of how big an impact rubbish has, not only on the view but on the amazing wildlife in this environment such as turtles, rays, fish, cormorants and flamingos to name a few.

Sailing is a great way for children to develop in an outdoor environment both physically and mentally demanding, it is also great fun! Not only can they develop in a sport and make friends outside school, they get a first hand experience of what’s out there. I just hope that the children of the future get the opportunity to experience the amazing wildlife that I have been lucky enough to encounter.