2023: Recap of a year of Sea Ranger growth

21 Dec 2023 | Dan Benham

With 2023 wrapping up, we can look back at another eventful and productive year for the Sea Ranger Service. Growing our impact for people and nature is enabling us to showcase how entrepreneurship can achieve scalable solutions to regenerate our planet. In this article we go through a short round up of this year’s key milestones.

We trained more Sea Rangers

We started the year recruiting new Sea Rangers. In another Sea Ranger Bootcamp, we put participants through their paces to test individual physical capabilities and team working skills. This year’s participants came from all over The Netherlands and joined us at a secret location for the chance of becoming a Sea Ranger. Read more about this year’s selection.

Meet the class of 2023

After successfully completing the Sea Ranger Bootcamp, the brand new Sea Rangers were readied for action. They received additional training and were in action all year, both at sea and on land. We thank the class of 2023 for their hard work and wish everyone all the best in their future career steps.

We are building a new Sea Ranger ship

In April, the construction of a new Sea Ranger Service ship was given the go-ahead with three investors stepping in to finance it. The new ship is expected to be operational from the fall of 2024. As with our current ship, the purpose of the vessel is to assist Dutch and UK government agencies with conservation activities in the North Sea and beyond.

Hear from Jose van Pul, Senior Investment Manager at Triodos Regenerative Money Centre about why they financed the new ship.

We have protected maritime heritage for five years

In the period of May to October, Sea Rangers monitored protected shipwreck sites in the North Sea – for the fifth consecutive year. By now, Sea Rangers have sailed over 3,000 miles to monitor these protected heritage sites. Read more about why wreck monitoring matters

Sea Rangers now restore seagrass at multiple sites in Europe

After a lot of preparation in 2022, work began on our first seagrass restoration project. Leaving the ship behind, Sea Rangers headed to the Eastern Scheldt, in the south west of The Netherlands> There they worked alongside scientists from the University of Groningen to transplant over 3,000 seagrass cores with the aim of restoring a large meadow of seagrass. Learn more about this groundbreaking project here.

Our work is scaling internationally

As part of the seagrass restoration work, Sea Rangers ventured outside of The Netherlands for the first time. Over the summer, Sea Rangers travelled to Arcachon Bay, on the Atlantic coast in France, to assist the French Biodiversity Agency OFB with the restoration of seagrass meadows. Sea Rangers also travelled to the Island of Sylt in Germany to harvest seagrass seeds, which will be planted next year. The international seagrass restoration efforts of Sea Rangers will further expand in 2024, now having become a core focus of the organisation.

Former Sea Rangers are successfully transitioning to other careers

Just as we welcome new Sea Rangers, we said goodbye to some of our most long standing crew members. Mike Bentvelzen and Josefien Kreigsman who both joined us through the very first Bootcamp in 2018, and Thierry van Veggel who became a Sea Ranger in 2020, left to take on new adventures. We are grateful for their many years of service and helping to propel us forward in our mission. All the best sailors!

We have made a groundbreaking discovery

At the centre of the Sea Ranger Service approach is our development of innovative solutions that can accelerate ocean conservation. In October we tested hydrographic surveying technology from our sailing vessel. The equipment allows us to accurately map the seabed and any underwater infrastructure, which can assist restoration and conservation efforts. Our discovery? That the collected data meets the industry-required level, validating that even a sailing vessel can carry out such surveys, typically reserved for traditional motor vessels. We look forward to publishing our findings from the hydrographic surveying pilot in the new year.

A sneak peek at 2024

Looking ahead, the next twelve months already look to be some of our most impactful so far, and there are plenty of ways you can get involved. We are excited to kick off the new year with two Sea Ranger Bootcamps, one in The Netherlands and our first bootcamp in the United Kingdom, in search of our next class of Sea Rangers. Applications for both bootcamp will open in January.

We are also looking for new offshore crew members to join us. Next year, Sea Rangers will be working on environmental projects in the Celtic Sea, off the coast of the UK. If you want to be part of this adventure, and enjoy working with young people, check out our vacancies

Thank you to everyone who has supported us this year, we wouldn’t be where we are without you cheering us on along the way. We don’t take your support for granted and will continue to work hard to keep your trust and enthusiasm as we scale our work further. For now, we are excited to see what the new year brings as we work towards our mission for people and nature. Go Sea Rangers!