New partnership to educate thousands on marine conservation

Boatfolk’s Portland Marina has announced a new partnership to deliver a message of marine conservation to young people across the country.

The partnership, between marina charity Clean Jurassic Coast (CJC) and marathon swimmer Chloë McCardel’s Channel Queen charter business, aims to deliver marine and conservation education programs to thousands of young people over the next three years onboard McCardel’s swim support vessel, Channel Queen, currently berthed at Portland Marina, Dorset.

The educational sessions will be a mixture of classroom-based activities on Channel Queen and interactive activities such as beach cleaning, exploring and learning about the effect of plastic waste found on our beaches and in the sea, and what can be done to minimise this impact through sustainable living. Sessions will also include learning about the geological and fossil history of the area as well as the unique geographical and marine environment of the Jurassic Coast. The outdoor sessions will be based at beaches near Portland Marina.

Paul Swain, Portland Marina manager, says: “We’re continuously working towards improving the health of the marine environment in our local area and along the Jurassic Coast, and this partnership is the next step forward in our work with Clean Jurassic Coast. Our relationship with CJC over the last few years has featured regular beach cleans, fundraising and general awareness within our local community, Boatfolk community and schools. This education program means we can reach many more young people and multiply the positive impact in our local area.

“We are also proud to be associated with Chloë McCardel. Her achievements in the world of long-distance swimming are inspirational and she’s a fantastic role model for young people striving to reach their own goals as well as adding her voice to the call to protect our coastline and precious marine habitats. Her Trader 54, Channel Queen, was also berthed with us under the previous owner, so it’s great to have her back at Portland and to be used for such a great purpose.”

CJC was founded in 2020 by Roy Beal, bringing individual beach cleaners together to expand their reach and create an element of fun and social interaction whilst helping the environment. As a keen kayaker, Roy accessed harder-to-reach areas by sea, pulling huge amounts of debris and rubbish from the Jurassic Coast. However, he was limited by the amount he could carry out on his kayak. With support from several friends taking on challenges to raise funds, Roy purchased a folding RIB in 2021, kitted out with an outboard engine provided by Boatcare through fundraising by the marina team, thus commencing the collaboration between CJC and Portland Marina.

Beal adds: “The Jurassic Coast is the only natural Unesco World Heritage Site in England. It is also the only place on the planet where evidence from the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods of history can be found in one area. It is a special place with exceptional bio and geodiversity, visited by thousands of visitors every year.

“CJC has a diverse team of volunteers, including mermaids, a chef, and more; their resources and experiences can help educate and show how important the Jurassic Coast is,” continues Beal. “The team is very excited to be able to expand our conservation work to include formal educational awareness into our mix of activities.

“We feel very privileged to have the ongoing support of Portland Marina. We are also very grateful to Chloë, who is donating over 150 charter days to help us reach and impact as many young people as possible. This has accelerated our progress towards our educational goals exponentially. And what better way to launch this program than in partnership with the Queen Mermaid of the English Channel.”

Chloë McCardel was crowned ‘Queen of the English Channel’ by the Channel Swimming Association in 2021. This followed her World Record 44th solo crossing of the English Channel. She purchased Channel Queen in 2022 with the aim of providing inclusive and welcoming events to swimmers looking for an open water experience with full support along the southern English coast.

McCardel comments: “The English Channel is my spiritual home, and I have been drawn to these shores for the last 15 years. I am thrilled to be able to share the joy and connection I have with these waters with future generations whilst also contributing to a major conservation and environmental initiative along the iconic and magical World Heritage Jurassic Coast.

“I am very impressed by Portland Marina’s commitment to the environment, especially their partnership to rehabilitate the seahorse community via the eco moorings project in the Studland area. It feels great to be able to give back to these waters which have given so much to me.”

To kick off the partnership off with a bang, Portland Marina has launched the Plastic Shores project for school and youth groups.

Comments are closed.