Here you’ll find the answers to our most frequently asked questions. However if you don’t find what you’re looking for here, you can still get in touch with your question.
Sea Ranger Service mission
What is a Sea Ranger?
A Sea Ranger is a young trained maritime professional that assist government agencies in managing protected ocean areas. Work includes environmental surveys, maritime traffic monitoring, climate research and water sampling. Sea Rangers typically work with the Sea Ranger Service for one year, after which they transition towards further education in the maritime sector or employment with other maritime firms.
What is the Sea Ranger Service mission?
The Sea Ranger Service is on a mission to create combined social and environmental impact to strengthen coastal regions and improve the protection of the world’s oceans. The first focus is on the regeneration of fragile ocean biodiversity in some of the world’s marine hotspots, whilst simultaneously training and coaching of young unemployed people from vulnerable coastal communities as Sea Rangers towards a maritime career.
What are the core values guiding the Sea Ranger Service?
1. Safety is our top priority
We share a responsibility for the safety of each other and ourselves. We take safety seriously and will never shy away from alerting others to unsafe working habits or situations.
2. Cooperation is key
We work together with a broad range of partners, clients and supporters to fulfil our mission. Cooperation is key and requires us to build strong, long-lasting relationships, even with those outside of our regular scope of like-minded contacts. For our internal cooperation, the most essential attributes are distinct roles and responsibilities, clear decision making, open communication and proactively seeking and offering support to those we work with.
3. We serve our mission
The success of our efforts rely in large part on the commitment we all make to put the mission ahead of personal gain. Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes but no plans. Dedication and loyalty are important aspects of working within the Sea Ranger ranks and essential requirements to fit in at the Sea Ranger Service as a mission-driven organisation.
4. The learning never stops
The Sea Ranger Service is an organisation with a strong learning ability, to stay ahead of the changing dynamic of the markets we work in, the society we are part of and the nature we work to protect. We self-reflect, offer transparency, ask critical questions, learn from each other and recognise that the learning never stops, individually and collectively. We don’t have all the answers and believe in innovation that is spearheaded through a learning-by-doing approach. This requires flexibility from all those involved as the Sea Ranger Service may require us to change course along our journey towards success.
5. Integrity matters
Taking people seriously means we show integrity in our character and take responsibility for our actions. We stick to our agreements, do not gossip, are honest and if something is the matter, we make it negotiable. Exhibiting good character reflects positively on the entire organisation.
6. We take care of each other
We respect each other and do not tolerate any forms of bullying, discrimination or (sexual) intimidation. We stick to the rule of law and will never abuse our power or positions in any way. Caring for each other further reflects in creating a healthy and fun working environment, building happy and fruitful collaborations and caring for both people and nature.
What have been the Sea Ranger Service biggest successes?
Since 2018, when the Sea Ranger Service was launched operationally, the Sea Ranger approach has been extensively piloted in the North Sea. The biggest success of the Sea Ranger Service is that it has managed to validate a business model for ocean conservation where previously such work has relied entirely on philanthropic funds or government subsidies. Proving that positive social and environmental impact for coastal areas and oceans can also be achieved as a business, the Sea Ranger Service success has opened the door for replication of this model and scaling of the impact.
Are there any cool videos to watch about your work?
What have been the Sea Ranger Service biggest challenges?
The concept of the Sea Ranger Service as a social business to protect oceans is unique. So far ocean conservation work has either been carried out by NGOs or government agencies, two worlds typically much separated. Convincing traditional maritime firms and government officials of the validity and added value of the new approach has been the biggest challenge. Similarly, attracting suitable financing to grow the business has been a challenge.
It has also been challenging to make sure that those that graduate from the Sea Ranger Bootcamp or after one year of working as a Sea Ranger, can move forward in the maritime sector. We are continually working to create new opportunities in the sector but it takes time to build such relationships.
How does the Sea Ranger Service make money?
The Sea Ranger Service is chartered for offshore services. This means government agencies hire Sea Rangers to carry out a variety of tasks at sea, including monitoring and research to increase environmental management of ocean areas. We are now working to increase our market positioning by attracting commercial offshore companies as clients too. In addition, some local authorities pay smaller fees to the Sea Ranger Service to recruit and involve young people with a distance to the labour market in its programmes. This helps the company to offer its training and employment opportunities to those that benefit most.
How does the Sea Ranger Service measure its impact?
At the Sea Ranger Service, we believe that measurable impact is our end goal. The recruitment and training of our Sea Rangers, the infrastructure we build up for conservation and the work we carry out at sea is all designed to create social and environmental impact. Our impact model focuses on the impact achieved on creating employment opportunities and restoring ocean biodiversity.
We publish our impact in our annual reports. Download the latest here.
When is the Sea Ranger Service mission accomplished?
The ultimate goal of the Sea Ranger Service is to restore 1 million hectares of ocean biodiversity by 2040 whilst training 20.000 young people to kickstart a maritime career. It is hoped that once these targets are achieved, the work will have inspired other entrepreneurs to follow a similar approach, growing the mission and impact even further.
Where did the Sea Ranger Service originate from?
The Sea Ranger Service is the brainchild of Dutch environmental conservationist and social entrepreneur Wietse van der Werf. After having worked in environmental conservation for 25 years and being awarded the prestigious Future for Nature award for his innovative conservation efforts, he founded the Sea Ranger Service in 2016 with the 50.000 euro award money.
Inspiration for the Sea Ranger model came from the Civilian Conservation Corps; a public works programme launched by US president Franklin Roosevelt during the Great Depression in the 1930s. The programme resulted in 3 million unemployed young men being offered work, establishing 800 national parks and planting over 3,2 billion trees in the proces. Van der Werf set out to develop a similar model to strengthen ocean conservation.
The Sea Ranger Service was initially entirely volunteer-run and reliant on donations. A public event in August 2016 at which the mayor of Rotterdam, Ahmed Aboutaleb and the CEO of the Port of Rotterdam, Allard Castelein, speeched, marked the official start for the organisation. The first Sea Ranger Bootcamp took part in March 2018, with the first Sea Ranger vessel Tooluka, setting sail in October 2018. Since October 2019, the Sea Rangers make use of the vessel Fantastiko for their offshore work, for various governmental and commercial clients. Since April 2019 the Sea Ranger has developed a social franchising programme to scale the model internationally from 2022.
Who owns the Sea Ranger Service company?
The Sea Ranger Service companies are fully owned by a non-profit called the Sea Ranger Foundation. For more information, please see our governance page
Where is the Sea Ranger Service head office located?
The head office of the Sea Ranger Service is in Utrecht, The Netherlands. The home port of the current Sea Ranger Service vessel Fantastiko is Den Helder, The Netherlands.
How do I know the Sea Ranger Service is legitimate?
The Sea Ranger Service is legitimate and has been recognised by multiple organisations for its innovative ocean conservation work. In 2019 the company was awarded the Medal of Honour by the Enkhuizen Maritime College for its innovative maritime training methodology. Founder of the Sea Ranger initiative, Wietse van der Werf, was awarded the Future for Nature Award (2016), the Ashoka Fellowship (2018), the Summit Fellowship (2019), elected as Young Entrepreneur Talent (2019) by the Dutch Financial Times and named European Young Leader (2020), for his innovative and effective approach in creatively combining social and environmental impact.
Beyond such recognition, the Sea Ranger Service goes through extensive periodic due diligences processes with its investors and partners. The current governance structure has been established to ensure strong independent oversight of the companies’ activities.
Who finances the Sea Ranger Service?
The development and scaling of the Sea Ranger Service is made possible thanks to the financial support from a diverse community of grant funders, social impact and capital investors. An overview of key investments and the partners involved can be found in our annual reports, which are freely downloadable, and our partner page.
Applying to become a franchisee
What does the Sea Ranger Service offer to franchisee candidates?
Our franchising programme offers you the opportunity to undergo training to establish a Sea Ranger Service, obtain the necessary licensing to train Sea Rangers, operate Sea Ranger ships and carry out offshore services. Ongoing business support is available to all franchisees to grow their commercial results and impact.
Through the Sea Ranger Academy training you are guided in all aspects of establishing and running a Sea Ranger Service franchise. Upon successful completion of the Sea Ranger Academy, participants are offered a franchising agreements which licenses the use of the Sea Ranger training and offshore services standards. Ongoing business support includes advice in meeting the legal and fiscal requirements to run a Sea Ranger Service franchise and network meetings to share best practices with other franchisees. For more information, please see the programme page.
Can just anyone sign up to become a Sea Ranger Service franchisee?
We are seeking experienced entrepreneurs as establishing and operating a Sea Ranger Service franchise requires business experience. For the full description, please see the criteria page.
What are the criteria to apply to become a franchisee?
The most important criteria before you can apply:
✓ You are an experienced entrepreneur open to a new challenge
✓ You are aligned with the mission and core values of the Sea Ranger Service
✓ You reside in France, Spain or the UK and are interested in the franchising opportunity
✓ You are aware that establishing a franchise requires substantial investment
✓ You have carefully read the selection criteria and these FAQs
For the full criteria, please see the criteria page.
Do I need to join your programme to start a Sea Ranger Service?
Yes, if you wish to start a Sea Ranger Service, use the Sea Ranger branding or the training and operating standards in any way, participation in our franchising programme is necessary.
Do you accept applications from younger, less experienced entrepreneurs?
The term ‘experienced’ entrepreneur is relative so yes, we also accept applications from younger entrepreneurs but it is important to be aware that establishing and operating a Sea Ranger Service franchise is not suitable for someone just starting out. It is possible to apply with more than two people.
What does the overall application process look like?
The application process consists of three stages:
1. First interview round – Once you apply, we will check your application against the criteria. If you meet them, we will invite you to a first interview round in which we get to know each other better and you can ask any questions. We will also ask questions regarding the information given in the application. If we wish to proceed, professional references and additional documents will be requested and can also be provided.
2. Feasibility study – After the initial interview round, the applicant will draft their own feasibility study based on the Sea Ranger Service business case, in order to make the case for how a Sea Ranger Service franchise can be run in their proposed territory. If the feasibility study looks promising, a location visit will be scheduled, for the franchising team at the Sea Ranger Service to meet in the franchisee candidate in the location where they propose the establishment of the new franchise.
3. Approval – The Sea Ranger Service franchising team then reviews the application, feasibility study and location visit. If it approves the candidate, the application is put through to the Sea Ranger Service board. The board has the final say in approving or declining the application. When the board approves the application the Sea Ranger Service and the applicant sign an MOU (memorandum of understanding) detailing the forthcoming collaboration. At this stage the applicant will need to raise €10.000 to attend the Sea Ranger Academy training programme.
4. Establishment – After completing the Sea Ranger Academy successfully and the final approvals in place, licensing will be issued that enables the franchisee to establish their Sea Ranger Service franchise.
Why are you using a franchising approach to scale your work?
The use of franchising as a commercial business model has achieved effective scaling results for companies such as Starbucks and McDonald’s. Such firms have been very successful at growing their brands and impact internationally. The Sea Ranger Service has set out to learn from such tested business approaches in order to scale positive impact for the planet. With pro bono support from IKEA, PwC and Ashoka in 2019, it was able to develop its franchising programme. It is believed that the Sea Ranger Service is the first to replicate a conservation solution using franchising.
What is involved in the Sea Ranger Academy training?
Some of the key programme areas in the Sea Ranger Academy training:
Mission alignment – The vision and mission of the Sea Ranger Service. Core values of the Sea Ranger Service and how to implement them in the day-to-day operation.
Establishment – How to set up a Sea Ranger Service meeting all governance and financial management requirements, as well as internal reporting requirements as a franchisee
External affairs – Devising an effective external affairs strategy towards government partners, including establishing a partnership with your national navy to assist in training Sea Rangers. How to work with government agencies to set up pilots.
Acquisition – Attracting your first commercial offshore contracts. How to carry out certain assignments such as collecting data at sea. An analysis on what work the growing blue economy may offer Sea Rangers is also included. Public tendering procedures for larger governments contracts.
Training Sea Rangers – Recruiting Sea Ranger candidates. How to run a Sea Ranger Bootcamp safely and impactful.
Offshore operations – Industry compliance in ship operations and legal requirements for seafaring crews. Coordination of vessel deployment in the franchise network.
Conservation methodologies – The Sea Ranger Service works with trusted partners to provide training in validated conservation and nature restoration methodologies.
Social impact – How to recruit young people with a focus on those in unemployment. How to diversify your team, ensuring inclusivity. What’s involved in reintegrating Sea Rangers into maritime jobs. Measuring and publishing impacts. How to attract veterans to train Sea Rangers.
What does working within the Sea Ranger Service franchise network look like?
All future franchisees play a central role in the development and improvement of the Sea Ranger Service model going forward. Working together as part of the franchise network, representatives of the franchisees will meet periodically to discuss specific topics such as aspects of operating Sea Ranger ships or running a Sea Ranger Bootcamp.
However, the Sea Ranger Service is a closed franchising model. This means that the Sea Ranger Service as franchisor guards the developed standards and have a final say in how they develop. Franchisees are also to adhere to reporting and compliance requirements. In turn, such a set up benefits all the franchisees with the standards aligned between the whole network. A high level of standardisation and compliance will ensure safety and efficiency in how Sea Ranger Services are run and impact is achieved.
What is meant by a ‘territory’?
The territory is the geographical area which is determined for a specific Sea Ranger Service franchise to be established in. It can be set up and given licensing rights to cover an entire country but it also likely that in a large country, a franchisee is given the opportunity to serve the market in a specific area, for example a certain coastline or a specific body of ocean. The exact territory for each franchisee is determined together with the franchisee.
Starting a Sea Ranger Service
What is involved in establishing a Sea Ranger Service franchise?
There are number of different things involved in establishing a franchise once the candidate has successfully completed the Sea Ranger Academy training.
As part of the application process, all franchisee candidates draft their own feasibility study, essentially a business case detailing how a franchise will be run in the proposed territory. Based on this plan, the first focus in on acquisition of the first (government) contracts. Key partners such as the national navy to assist in training new Sea Rangers, will also have to be established.
Once key partners are engaged and (pilot) contracts obtained, a first Sea Ranger Bootcamp can be organised to train the first Sea Rangers. from then on, more assignments and collaborations will be sought to deploy the Sea Rangers and investment can be attracted to further establish and scale the franchise activities.
Can a Sea Ranger Service be set up anywhere?
The Sea Ranger Service determines where franchisees can be established. In 2022 only applications from France, Spain and the UK will be considered. Initial applications from other countries can be submitted but will only act as a way to register your interest in case your country is opened up to franchising at a later date.
Can I set up a Sea Ranger Service in my country?
Yes absolutely. If you meet the criteria, we look forward to your application.
What is the necessary time commitment to establish a Sea Ranger Service?
We ask for a minimum 5 year time commitment from the entrepreneur establishing a new Sea Ranger Service.
What is the biggest obstacle to starting a Sea Ranger Service?
The biggest obstacle is to successfully negotiate the required contracts with your national government and establish working relationships with your national navy, maritime industry partners and local municipalities to get a Sea Ranger Service franchise off the ground. During the Sea Ranger Academy training, franchisee candidates will be guided through the processes to overcome these obstacles but it will still require a good doses of grit, determination and persuasion from the entrepreneur to get a franchise set up.
How much does it cost to establish a Sea Ranger Service franchise?
It costs 10.000 euro to join the Sea Ranger Academy training. Upon successful completion of the training the franchising rights are licensed to the new franchisee for a one-off start fee of 50.000 euro. Once the franchise entity is set up, the franchisee pays the franchisor (Sea Ranger Service) a set percentage of its annual incoming funds. Franchisees are also required to charter a dedicated Sea Ranger ship as constructed and managed by Sea Ranger Ships. The franchisee is responsible for raising its own start-up and growth financing.
What is your definition of a successful Sea Ranger Service franchise?
Our definition of success is a franchise that delivers on sustained social and environmental impact. A franchise that shows commercial results to guarantee these impact goals. And a franchise that actively contributes to the wider franchise network to improve the overall Sea Ranger Service model.