Clean Ocean Sailing
1652. Steve Green
1653. Monika Hertlová
Steve Green and Monika Hertlova, from Cornwall, restored their 113-year-old boat, 'The Annette', to host eco sailing expeditions around Cornwall and the UK, collecting plastic waste from remote areas of coastline.
Husband and wife Steve and Monika initially bought the boat – a 66 foot gaff-rigged schooner – to take out on family adventures before realising it could serve as a force for good, raising awareness of plastics in the oceans and helping to protect the marine environment around the British Isles. Through their initiative ‘Clean Ocean Sailing’, Steve, Monika and their team of volunteers hold recycling plastic workshops and provide sailing training to volunteers who join the crew and accompany them on regular clean up expeditions to areas of coastline that are largely inaccessible by foot. Over the last year, they have continued to run sailing trips where pandemic restrictions have allowed, collecting hundreds of kilos of marine litter, which is being recycled into sea kayaks.
The award for Steve and Monika coincides with World Oceans Day, as well as coming ahead of the G7 summit being hosted in Cornwall which will see the Prime Minister call on international leaders to step up action to tackle climate change and protect the world’s oceans and natural environment.
In a personal letter to Steve and Monika, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“It is tragic that our oceans have become vast floating rubbish dumps which strangle sea life and pollute the water with chemicals. So I was inspired to learn of your sailing expeditions on your restored pirate ship ‘Annette’ to collect hundreds of kilos of litter.
“I am proud that the UK has protected more than 4.3 million square kilometres of the world’s ocean and I am delighted that you are playing your part in preserving our marine life with your pirate ship patrols.
“As we mark World Oceans Day, and look forward to the G7 Summit, let me thank you for your fantastic work to preserve the natural beauty of Cornwall’s waters and coastline.”
Steve and Monika said:
“We are delighted to receive the Points of Light award in the name of all ‘Clean Ocean Sailing’ volunteers who work tirelessly to help improve the planet we live on by removing plastic pollution from our shores with minimal impact on wildlife by rowing, paddling and sailing.
“It is heart warming that you have a programme which recognises examples of individual effort. For small volunteer groups like ours it is encouraging that we are seen and the work of each volunteer is valued. We thank you for recognising our efforts and hope that in giving this award the government is finally putting the climate emergency as a bigger priority on the agenda. We cannot ignore anymore that we are in a climate emergency. In order to address this enormous task properly, individual action is not enough and all governments need to overhaul the system that creates and perpetuates disastrous environmental impact.
“We believe that restoration of our planet is a monumental task and we all need to work together to find nature balance once again. Every individual, family, school, business, organisation, government should play a role to restore our world.”
Pictured above: Steve and Monika with their son Simon; below: pictures from several ‘Clean Ocean Sailing’ expeditions and their boat ‘The Annette’