International SeaKeepers Society event set for San Francisco

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humpback0806The International SeaKeepers Society will honor the Sargasso Sea Alliance at its 2013 Bal de La Mer ceremony in September.

The event, which had been held at the Monaco Yacht Show in previous years, will be held Sept. 9 at the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco in conjunction with the America’s Cup regatta.

“The America’s Cup is drawing a lot of our member yachts, so we decided to hold it there,” SeaKeepers president and CEO Richard Snow told Trade Only Today.

As of Monday, more than 150 of the 250 tickets for the ceremony had been sold, at $400 each. Click here for event details.

SeaKeepers selected the Sargasso Sea Alliance for its “extraordinary commitment to ocean conservation.”

The alliance was formed in 2010 under the leadership of the Government of Bermuda to preserve the ecologically significant but largely unprotected Sargasso Sea, home to many threatened and endangered species, including sea turtles, and humpback and sperm whales. The alliance has taken great strides to improve management and afford legal protection for this “floating rainforest of the Atlantic.”

SeaKeepers is a non-profit organization focusing on the health of the world’s oceans and climate with a mission to gather critical oceanographic and atmospheric data and distribute it to the scientific community to help guide the world to a more sustainable future.

“SeaKeepers was formed in 1998 by yacht owners who installed ocean monitors on their vessels, and there are more than 100 SeaKeeper 1000 monitoring units deployed throughout the world,” Snow says. The group’s more sophisticated monitoring device is the SeaKeeper Drifter, but the ultimate goal is to put scientists aboard the yachts.

“The world’s ocean DNA has only been mapped by less than 1 percent,” says Snow. “There are a lot of good things we can accomplish just by putting scientists on yachts.”

Snow says some members host a scientist on their yachts as a family eco-tour, while others lend their vessels with crew to researchers when not in use.

“Ultimately, we’d like to help cure an illness or find a way to find a way to save coral reefs, or tag sharks to better understand their migration,” Snow says.

The Bal de La Mer ceremony will feature a guest appearance by Al Jardine of The Beach Boys, who will present the new video for his song, “Don’t Fight the Sea.”

Key supporters of this year’s ceremony include event chair Skip Zimbalist, chairman and CEO of Active Interest Media, parent company to Soundings Trade Only; and an honorary committee chaired by Patty Elkus, a founding member of SeaKeepers, that includes Dr. Sylvia Earle, Fabian Cousteau, Jean-Michel Cousteau, Gary Jobson, Wendy Benchley, Dr. Walter Munk and Zandra Rhodes, among others.

– Rich Armstrong

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