Yachting News » Business » Ocean Alliance leads World First Project: Superyachts for the Great Reef Census

Ocean Alliance leads World First Project: Superyachts for the Great Reef Census

Ocean Alliance, Australia's leading luxury yacht agency, is collaborating with conservation organisation Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef. Taking part in the Great Reef Census, superyachts will contribute to vital research while discovering this Natural Wonder of the World in a truly unique way.

Joachim Howard, Founder of Ocean Alliance, sees the collaboration as an important step towards maintaining one of the world's most celebrated reef systems while encouraging a positive utilisation of Superyachts through charter experiences. 

"The Great Reef Census is a world-first for superyacht Owners and Charterers to participate in conservation efforts on the Reef. It is an opportunity to encourage a culture of "yachting for purpose" and offer Charterers the ability to incorporate a meaningful contribution to the ecosystem in which they are experiencing."

  • Superyachts contribute to ocean conservation and research as a result of a new collaboration between Ocean Alliance and Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef.

  • The Great Reef Census aims to survey 100 priority reefs in 2020, and is a world-first citizen science project.

  • Superyacht charterers are given the opportunity to visit unsurveyed areas of the Great Barrier Reef and contribute to important research work. 

  • A unique experience that can be incorporated into a luxury charter for as many days as desired.

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Launched in October 2020 by Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef, the Great Reef Census is a world-first citizen science project to capture reconnaissance data from across the Reef over an 11-week period. Following a successful pilot program in 2019, this year sees a major scale-up to 100 priority reefs with the support of Superyachts and other vessels, with the intention to build on this year’s learnings to launch an even bigger Great Reef Census in 2021. Ocean Alliance is collaborating with Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef to involve superyachts in this pioneering initiative for ocean conservation.

Exploration is in the DNA of a luxury superyacht charter, though very rarely is there an opportunity to discover areas where little is already known. The Great Barrier Reef, encompassing 3,000 individual reefs that stretch for 2,300km along the sun-drenched Queensland coastline, is a unique yachting experience. Due to its sheer size measuring the overall state of the Reef is difficult, up to 40% of the Great Barrier Reef has never been surveyed before. 

The Great Reef Census is a trial to explore new ways of capturing data from across the Great Barrier Reef, utilising citizen scientists as well as the wide range of marine assets already out on the water.

Ocean Alliance is leading the efforts from the superyacht industry to support this innovative new approach to conservation challenges.

Ocean Alliance has enlisted their central agency fleet to participate with the superyacht, BELUGA which has already participated in the Great Reef Census. For scientists and ocean conservationists involved in the Census, the involvement of superyachts is an important addition, given the distinct advantages and capabilities that these luxury vessels provide.

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The 35m BELUGA has recently completed an itinerary from Lizard island to Port Douglas as the first Superyacht to participate in the Great Reef Census, providing a platform for the research team to test some key technology for the project as well as survey some target reef sites. 

Andy Ridley, CEO of Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef, highlighted the important role that superyachts can play in this project and urges more to get involved. "Superyachts are in a unique position to operate in remote areas of the Great Barrier Reef and utilise their resources, crew, tenders and communications to vastly improve the reach and outcomes of the project," said Ridley.

Superyachts indeed provide an incredible platform from which to explore the Great Barrier Reef. This is something that will benefit not only the research efforts of the Great Reef Census but also superyacht Owners and Charterers.

“To achieve the scale required this year needs a massive collective effort and that's what we're seeing, from the tourism industry, to some of the Reef’s top scientists, tech companies and now Superyachts,” Ridley continues. “We would love to see the superyacht community become even more involved as we scale-up this project in 2021, not only through vessel support but also through awareness-raising and access to influencers.”

Taking part in The Great Reef Census is a fantastic way for superyachts to give back to the oceans without which the joy of sailing and luxury charters wouldn't be possible. The Census provides owners and charterers with the chance to contribute to research which can be incorporated into customised charter itineraries.

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Superyachts will have the option to host leading marine biologists and scientists on board during their charter, giving guests a unique insight into the diverse ecosystem of the Great Barrier Reef. This is the ultimate destination for captivating reef encounters, with other 600 types of hard and soft coral along with 1626 species of fish to uncover.

"Superyachts offer ideal platforms to align with scientific exploration and create a new way of connecting our caring audience even more closely to the essence of the Ocean element, inspiring and empowering the desire for its protection. What a generous way to give back whilst having an amazing experience on the Great Barrier Reef "comments Laurie Foulon.

The Great Reef Census is a Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef project, delivered in partnership with the University of Queensland, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the Australian Institute of Marine Science with support from James Cook University. The project is funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, the Prior Family Foundation and the Reef & Rainforest Research Centre.

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