The International Seakeepers Society promotes oceanographic research, conservation and education through direct involvement with the yachting community. The organisation prides itself on enabling superyacht owners to take full advantage of their unique potential to advance marine sciences and raise awareness about global ocean issues. The Superyacht Owner speaks to chairman Michael Moore about the society and his vision for the future of yacht ownership.

“I would like to see more yacht owners who come across our cause and the lights go on and think, ‘Wow, I can really make a difference here’,” explains Michael Moore, chairman of the International Seakeepers Society. “The analogy I like to use is that we will always remember the beautiful day on the water with the jet skis and the toys, but if you think about the things that people talk about forever; if you are cruising along beside a pod of whales, tagging sharks or launching a drifter off the back of your yacht and following it on the internet, knowing that it is bringing valuable data to a group of scientists – that is a different level of engagement altogether.”

International Seakeepers Society expedition on board Copasetic

Some of Seakeepers’ most recent projects include a shark tagging expedition on board M/Y Penny Mae and a genome sequencing research project on board M/V Copasetic, both of which have been covered in issue 14 of The Superyacht Owner and provided their owners with experiences of a lifetime, as well as some incredibly valuable research for scientists. “I believe that there is a massive amount of under-capacity in the yachting industry where some yachts kind of sit around and don’t really do much, but sometimes they have these amazing voyages,” adds Moore. “For example, a yacht owner who repositions his yacht to Tahiti every year - imagine the cost of that trip normally and if we were to put a scientist on board would be an amazing opportunity for research; to sample, tag and measure.”

And Moore believes that the only way to aid this kind of research is through the superyacht industry. “The yacht owners are key to this charity because who else have you got to help?” He points out. “I talk to these scientists on a regular basis and they don’t have enough money for such research projects and any money they do raise is to a large extent taken away by their universities. So it is a complicated thing to organise and a lot of people have trouble getting the arms around it.”

"The superyacht industry is a hugely under-utilised resource of wonderful people who want to do wonderful things and would jump at the chance to be involved with initiatives like ours."

But things for Seakeepers are building momentum, and the charitable donations are increasing, which is positive for the future involvement of the industry with the cause. “How things are happening for us is just amazing,” says Moore. “Someone gave a platform vessel to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and they have offered it to Lee Anderson, owner of Penny Mae one of our founders, for one dollar a year to use with Seakeepers. As you know, the cost of running a boat is expensive but Mr Anderson has accepted the offer and he is going to completely fit it out for exploration, so good things are going to happen.”

“It has always been pleasurable and exciting to own a yacht but I think that the whole dynamic of yacht ownership can change,” ponders Moore. “Because the superyacht industry is a hugely under-utilised resource of wonderful people who want to do wonderful things and would jump at the chance to be involved with initiatives like ours.”

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