Pick Up Plastics – From the Pontoon

WORDS: IAN BROWNLEE, Chair of Sustainability Working Group


We are users of the sea, an incredible, complex ecosystem which is under threat from many human activities, including dumping of plastic. Over past years the Club has been a leader in trying to eliminate single use plastics, and this remains important. Moving on, the focus of

the Clubs new initiative “Pick Up Plastics” is to remove plastic from the sea. Few others have the opportunity and responsibility to do that as we do, as we go out on the sea in boats.


The General Committee has endorsed the use of a logo which has been designed to specifically encourage people to pick up plastic. You will see it increasingly throughout the Club – on bags, on boats and on buildings. The Pick Up Plastics initiative consists of several components which will be progressively introduced over the coming months, and you can become involved.


The first focus is on the water near our pontoons. This is often the closest you can get to the water and to the plastic in the water. At any time, at Kellett Island, Middle Island and at Shelter Cove you will be able to see plastic floating nearby. Don’t just look at it and get on or off your boat or the sampan, but just take a minute to get that plastic out of the water.


To make it easy you will find scoop nets and bins now located near the access to the pontoons. Grab the net and go get that plastic out of the water and into the bin. If you do not do it, the plastic is likely to be in the water forever, will degenerate and enter the food chain. So it is important that you actual do your bit to make a small difference. If all members accept that, then collectively there would be a bigger impact.


The impact of floating plastic near our pontoons can be clearly seen at Kellett Island. As shown in the photo, there are increasing numbers of small fish living in the water near our pontoons and piles, and it is such a shame to see them swimming amongst floating plastic. Just give nature If you see a situation like this with plastic floating next to the boat you are going to get on – don’t just ignore it, think what a shame and sail away.


Before leaving the pontoon, get some of the crew to do a quick look around and make sure the water nearby is clear of plastic. If you don’t do it then it could be in the water forever.


The impact of floating plastic near our pontoons can be clearly seen at Kellett Island. As shown in the photo, there are increasing numbers of small fish living in the water near our pontoons and piles, and it is such a shame to see them swimming amongst floating plastic. Just give nature a chance to recover and remove the plastic.


The Sustainable Working Group is looking at measuring the amount of plastic we recover from the sea, so that we can quantify the impact we have. We would be really pleased to find the bins being regularly filled up with plastic removed from the sea – showing that our members are concerned and active, and that our objective is being met.



Pick Up Plastic Logo


“The design combines a hand with an ocean wave, to represent the environment the initiative is hoping to positively impact (the ocean) with their actions (by way of their hands). The notion of a caring hand feels important in that we as ocean sports people have somewhat of a custodianship role for the safety of the marine environment. We and the ocean are interconnected (clearly not just by way of sport, but as living systems also), and the combining of the two elements is a nice way to represent this”. - Megan Tanner, Designs on Life : Logo Designer


This article appears in the December 2020 issue of Ahoy!