International SeaKeepers Society

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The International SeaKeepers Society
Founded 1998
Founders Alexander Dreyfoos, Alfred H. Balm, Richard DeVos, Jan Moran, Bruce McCaw
Type 501(c)(3)
Focus International Ocean Conservation
Method Research, Data Collection, Advocacy
Key people
Paul Allen
Slogan "Research. Educate. Protect and Restore."
Website [1]

The International SeaKeepers Society was founded in 1998 by a small group of yacht owners who were alarmed by the deterioration of our natural environment. The organization’s initial focus was on the development and use of instrumentation on yachts to monitor marine conditions throughout the world’s oceans. Today, The International SeaKeepers Society continues to work with yachts as a vital part of its programming. The International SeaKeepers Society is a 501 (c) 3 organization of opinion leaders, scientists, businessmen and environmental advocates who have the passion and capabilities to impact ocean research, conservation and policy decisions. Working with governments, educational institutions, private foundations and non-profit organizations provides SeaKeepers and its members the opportunity to fulfill its mission. SeaKeepers long-established relationship with the yachting community creates an optimal platform to support oceanographic research while simultaneously engaging and educating yacht owners and professionals and the general public.

In 2014, The International SeaKeepers Society received the Fabien Cousteau Blue Award, an award given out by the International Superyacht Society to honor stewardship of the marine environment.

In 2011, the International SeaKeepers Society was featured by Mega Yacht News as one of six ocean-oriented charities to support within the yachting community.[1]

Mission and Vision[edit]

The International SeaKeepers Society promotes oceanographic research, conservation and education through direct involvement with the yachting community. SeaKeepers enables the yachting community to take full advantage of their unique potential to advance marine sciences and to raise awareness about global ocean issues.[citation needed]


Founding members of the International SeaKeepers Society include Alexander Dreyfoos, Alfred H. Balm, Richard DeVos, Jan Moran and Bruce McCaw. These Founding Members wanted to raise awareness regarding critical ocean issues and encourage ocean preservation. Their mission was to construct a monitoring unit that would provide data to scientists about the conditions of the seas. The resulting unit was called the SeaKeeper 1000. The SeaKeeper 1000 was deployed on more than 90 platforms across the globe including yachts, cruise ships, buoys, and piers. While the SeaKeeper 1000 was active, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. National Weather Service utilized the SeaKeeper 1000 on many of their NOAA vessels to better monitor oceanographic changes.[2] The International SeaKeepers Society discontinued the SeaKeeper 1000 in October 2013.

SeaKeeper 1000[edit]

The SeaKeeper 1000 unit was designed to record weather and near surface oceanographic data automatically. It then transmitted the data via NOAA satellites and through the Global Telecommunication System (GTS). The SeaKeeper 1000 unit won the 2002 Environment Award from The Tech Museum of Innovation.[3] [4] In 2002, 61 society members and 4 cruise lines had installed SeaKeeper 1000, and 14 yacht manufacturers had agreed to include the technology on their boats/ships.[3]

BP oil spill[edit]

In response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the Society with the assistance of researchers at the University of South Florida and environmental sensor company YSI were able to attach and interface a hydrocarbon sensor to the SeaKeeper 1000 environmental monitor in June 2010.[5] SeaKeepers continues to focus on oil spill prevention and works with organizations like CARTHE, Consortium for Advanced Research on the Transport of Hydrocarbon in the Environment, is a research team dedicated to predicting the fate of oil released into our environment to help inform and guide response teams, thereby protecting and minimizing damage to human health, the economy, and the environment with this research team dedicated to predicting the fate of oil released into the environment.

Programs and Policies[edit]

DISCOVERY Yachts Program[edit]

The DISCOVERY Yachts Program is SeaKeepers foremost initiative in accomplishing its mission and goals. The program is composed 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. 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.[citation needed]

Scientific Expeditions[edit]

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.[citation needed]

Hydrophone Retrieval, May 2015 in Bimini, Bahamas: The International SeaKeepers Society SeaKeepers partnered with the University of Miami's RJ Dunlap team onboard D/Y Fugitive to retrieve and redeploy hydrophones used for continuous Tiger Shark research in the Bahamas.

Morphology Research, April 2015 in Bimini, Bahamas:Onboard D/Y Reel Buzz, The International SeaKeepers Society and The Billfish Foundation have taken the first steps in a joint effort to develop new methods for determining billfish health in collaboration with Dr. Duncan Irschick, a functional and evolutionary morphologist from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Drifter Design Experiment, April 2015 in Miami, FL:The International SeaKeepers Society conducted a three-day expedition testing drifter designs and calibration calibration research onboard D/Y Shredder, which was generously provided to us by Fleet Miami. During the expedition SeaKeepers worked with researchers from the Consortium for Advanced Research on the Transport of Hydrocarbon in the Environment (CARTHE), the University of Miami and Florida State University.

Tiger Shark Tagging, November 2014 in Tiger Beach, Bahamas:The International SeaKeepers Society teamed up with the UM Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, Marine Conservation Program, Florida Biodiversity Institute, and National Geographic to conduct another tiger shark tagging expedition. The shark tagging took place at Tiger Beach, Bahamas onboard DISCOVERY Yachts Fugitive, out of West Palm Beach, FL, and Qing, out of Fort Lauderdale, FL. Fugitive is a 125-foot Northcoast and Qing is a 150-foot Cheoy Lee.

Harbor Porpoises, October 2014 in San Francisco, California: The Golden Gate Cetacean Research (GGCR) team, along with SeaKeepers staff and the owner of E Cruz, successfully studied the behavior and population of harbor porpoises in San Francisco Bay through photo identification. A preliminary calculation shows 88 porpoises were counted, over twice as many as GGCR has ever seen from a boat in San Francisco Bay, and half a dozen cetaceans were added to GGCR’s ID catalog.The results of the survey will allow GGCR to correlate porpoise distribution with oceanographic characteristics to designate critical habitat locations.[citation needed]

Tiger Shark Tagging, May 2014 in Tiger Beach, Bahamas: The International SeaKeepers Society and a team of researchers from the University of Miami tagged tiger sharks, took blood samples,and conducted ultra-sounds using a custom-made floating platform designed by Florida Biodiversity Institute and Dr. Neil Hammerschlag. The floating platform was attached to the stern of the 138foot long Tri-Deck motor yacht, Penny Mae, which served as the base for the expedition site and research.

Genome Sequencing, January 2014 in Bimini, Bahamas and Florida Keys, Florida: State of the art mobile biomedical laboratory created by Florida Biodiversity Institute onboard Copasetic revolutionizes fieldwork and facilitates real-time, remote genome scale sequencing in pioneering week-long research expedition. Over the course of one week, top scientists from the University of Florida (UF) successfully sequenced two genomes per day, proving that modern technology and instrumentation traditionally found in top biomedical centers can function accurately in the field.

Instrument Deployments[edit]

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 spill 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 travelled. Currently SeaKeepers employs the use of two types of devices: SeaKeepers Drifters and Argo Floats

The SeaKeepers Drifter is an environmental monitoring device that sits on the ocean surface and extends 15 meters deep into the water column. As the drifter floats along local and global currents, the instrument measures sea surface temperature, current velocity, latitude and longitude, and time. This data is transmitted directly to NOAA and WMO databases and made publicly available.

Argo Floats are technologically advanced water monitoring devices that are programmed to move up and down through the water column while traveling with the ocean currents. These floats sink down to 2000 meters and then rise to the surface, recording salinity, temperature, current velocity, and pressure/depth profiles. Data is sent directly to the Argo database and is made publicly available at Having this type of data is vital to studying heat transport, ocean-atmosphere relationships, and climate variability. The lifespan of these floats is 5 years or more.

Outreach Programs[edit]

SeaKeepers outreach events have focused around marine wildlife, drifter 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.

Youth Making Ripples Outreach Program: In April, 2015 The International SeaKeepers Society hosted an education outreach program with Youth Making Ripples Film Festival award-winners, researchers, and film makers onboard DISCOVERY Yacht Defiance.

Boys & Girls of Newport Outreach Program: On August 12, 2014 The International SeaKeepers Society traveled to Newport, Rhode Island to conduct an education outreach program with a group of children from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Newport County onboard DISCOVERY Yacht Defiance.

Louise McDonald High School Outreach Program: In January 2014 DISCOVERY Yacht M/Y Defiance invited 20+ Bahamian school children onboard her yacht to participate in an exciting and eventful day of ocean exploration and marine science education. The day was topped off with the successful launch of a SeaKeepers Drifter off the coast of the Bahamas. Several students assisted in the actual deployment of the drifter into the water along with Claudia Potamkin, SeaKeepers President & CEO Richard Snow and Director of Programs and Policies Brittany Stockman.


On March 26, 2010 SeaKeepers formed an alliance with Yachts International Magazine to expand the Society's mission and to expand science-based understanding and analysis of global climate change.[6]

SeaKeepers works with yachting groups, including Fleet Miami, Global Oceans and EYOS Expeditions as well as research organizations including NOAA, Argo, CARTHE, University of Miami, University of Florida and Florida Biodiversity Institute.

SeaKeepers also works with local, national and international magazines and news outlets including, South Florida Luxury Guide Magazine, Venü Magazine, The Triton Newspaper and

In 2012, SeaKeepers partnered with the Volvo Ocean Race.[7]


SeaKeepers hosts variety of exclusive events throughout the year and in various locations around the world. Past event locales have included Monaco, Cannes, Barcelona, Florida, and Southern California. SeaKeepers network and socialize at the highest levels of international business, government and science.[citation needed]


The Scientific Advisory Council[edit]

SeaKeepers Scientific Advisory Council (SAC) is composed of eminent scientists and ocean advocates who advise staff regarding critical ocean issues. Members of the include:

Board of Directors[edit]

  • Michael T. Moore- Chairman
  • Jay Wade- Vice Chairman
  • Julian Chang
  • Charles Porter
  • Frank Wlasek
  • Don Tomlin - Board Chairman,Emeritus
  • Patty Elkus - Emeritus


  • Richard Snow, President & CEO
  • Julienne Beblo, Associate Director of Programs
  • Sarah Hernandez, Marketing & PR Manager
  • Tommy Guzman, Web/Graphic Design

The SeaKeeper Award[edit]

The SeaKeeper Award is an annual presentation during the Bal de la Mer charity event in Monaco. The honor is bestowed upon an individual who has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to marine conservation, according to the organization's website. The commendation originated in 1996, and the artwork symbolizes the award and was designed by Dale Evers.[8]

Notable members[edit]


  1. ^ Bryne, Diane M. (February 5, 2011). "The Superyacht 6: 6 Ocean-Oriented Charities to Support". Mega Yacht News. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  2. ^ "International Seakeepers Society" Marine Fuel Company. August 18, 2009
  3. ^ a b "2002 Environment Award Laureate" The Tech Awards
  4. ^ "Dockwise Yacht Transport Supports the International SeaKeepers Society" Dockwise Yacht Transport
  5. ^ Byrne, Diane M.: "International SeaKeepers Society Responding to BP Spill" MegaYacht News, July 1, 2010
  6. ^ "SeaKeepers Forms Alliance with Yachts International" Press Release. March 26, 2010
  7. ^ Byrne, Diane M. "Seeking Superyachts of Opportunity" Mega Yacht News. March 30, 2012
  8. ^ "SeaKeeper Award" International SeaKeepers Society
  9. ^ "Walter Cronkite Receives Prestigious SeaKeeper Award" Press Release. July, 2006
  10. ^ Reed, Lucy Chabot: "SeaKeepers honors Prince Albert II" The Triton, September 25, 2010

External links[edit]