Extraordinary People

Pirates of Cornwall! Meet the couple who are changing our seas

The only way to save the ocean is to remove plastic waste

When it comes to recycling, we do our bit by taking reusable bags to the supermarket, but often we leave the big stuff to ‘other people’.

These ‘other people’ just so happen to be a badass team, coined ‘the pirates of Cornwall’, and are taking matters into their own hands.

The ‘pirates’ are a crew of dedicated activists protecting the ocean by going on voyages from the tip of Cornwall to the Isle of Skye to manually collect plastic from the water.

They pride themselves on their ethos that “with any small action everybody can make a difference” and work tirelessly to clear the sea clogged with waste – not only for a prettier coastline but because it is killing wildlife and getting into our food chain and water supplies.

[Credit: Clean Ocean Sailing]

Known as Clean Ocean Sailing, they are a group of sailors, surfers, swimmers and divers who collaborate to reverse the impact of decades of overconsumption.

Buying the odd bottle of water or using plastic cutlery from the chippy may not seem that big a deal, but cumulatively 12.7m tonnes of waste is being dumped into the ocean each year.

While old school pirates would receive a bounty for capturing a criminal, these modern-day pirates consider their bounty to be the sea kayaks they create from melted down seized plastic.

These newly-crafted kayaks are then uses to go out and collect more rubbish!

[Credit: Clean Ocean Sailing]

Kickstarted by Steve Green and his partner Monika Hertlová in 2017, together with an army of volunteers, they have removed a staggering 250,000 pieces of plastic from the water.

With the help of their beloved Annette – a century old 66ft boat weighing 50 tonnes – they sail around European seas for day trips, weekends, or even weeks to host their clean-ups.

They also use smaller crafts, like their kayaks, to paddle around coastlines and visit tiny, inaccessible beaches where they collect rubbish to try and nurture Mother Nature.

Speaking about their mission, Steve is incredibly proud of how the project has evolved and is delighted to now have a rapid response unit in place.

[Credit: Clean Ocean Sailing]

Steve explained: “People send us a photo or location, and we have volunteers set up and ready to pick up any ‘ghost gear’, before it gets washed out to sea again on the next tide.”

He added: “We have found fish crates and fishing gear from South Africa, China, south and north America. It’s crazy.”

Chatting to Positive News, he credited his fellow Cornish residents for selflessly devoting their time to help, with some even gifting beer or groceries for their travels.

Steve said: “They aren’t particularly financially motivated. It’s an island attitude, we all lean on each other and look after each other. It is an ideal place for a testing ground for a circular economy.”

To jump aboard the crew, click here: Clean Ocean Sailing.

[Credit: Clean Ocean Sailing]

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