28 JULY 2021 — One of the greatest threats to marine ecology is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a 1.6 million km2 collection of over 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic in the North Pacific Ocean.
Globally, plastic consumption has now reached over 320 million tonnes per year. This Patch, otherwise known as the Pacific trash Vortex, represents a rapid and persistent accumulation of land rubbish entering the ocean.
So, Auckland-based skipper Hayden Smith is doing something about it – with the help of Mercury Marine.
Since 2002, he has been running Sea Cleaners, a prominent not-for-profit organisation that currently operates four boats, full-time off Auckland’s coast.
And his entire fleet is powered by Mercury SeaPro engines.
“I can’t speak highly enough of the Mercury SeaPros – they’ve been incredible,” Hayden said.
“Each of our boats are a different size, but each outboard we have is perfectly suited to the exact power specifications we need. The engines make getting up on the plane – with thousands of litres of rubbish and several volunteers onboard – feel easy and comfortable.
“The ocean is a pretty nasty environment to be in day in, day out but, because of the way these engines are built, we don’t have to worry about reliability or longevity.
“We’ve also seen first-hand just how fuel efficient these engines are. We get great results out of our boats, but the engines don’t need to work too hard. The savings we’ve made are significant, and obviously it really helps us in an environmental sense too.”
Hayden is rightly proud that Sea Cleaners has so far collected more than 10.9 million litres of rubbish from the coast of Auckland.
“We have filled 325 shipping containers with loose litter, we’ve collected over 98 million pieces of rubbish and our volunteers have spent over 160,000 hours working with us,” Hayden said.
“We have recyclable rubbish bags that represent 50L of contents. Each of our four boats collect 40 bags of rubbish every working day of the year. This means we’re collectively picking up 160,000L of rubbish a month.
“One of my key ambitions from the very start was to reduce the amount of rubbish in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Given the amount of work we’ve done we feel proud that Auckland is contributing significantly less to the accumulation of rubbish in the Patch.
“But clearly there’s more work to be done.
“So, every single day I have to ask myself, ‘how can I do more’? How can we collect more rubbish? How can we engage more communities? How can we generate more funding?
“My personal mission has always been to multiply what we developed in Auckland, and to roll it out in a much larger scale across New Zealand.”
So that’s exactly what Hayden and Sea Cleaners are in the process of doing.
“We are currently building six new boats – meaning that we’ll soon be able to have ten boats running full-time around the coast of New Zealand,” Hayden said.
The realities of the job for the skippers of these ten boats will be labour-intensive, and the marine environment is harsh, so Sea Cleaners is grateful to be powered by Mercury engines.
According to Mercury Marine New Zealand’s Manager, Dean Harris, it’s a relationship that Mercury is proud to have.
“Sea Cleaners is an amazing organisation. To be able to help sponsor such an important cause has been a great opportunity for Mercury,” Dean said.
“We build our engines for tough operations. Given that these outboards are being used almost every day we know they’ll fit the job description.
“As Sea Cleaners continues to expand, we look forward to giving them our full-support.”
And as for how we can support Sea Cleaners and the ocean? Hayden has some suggestions for that.
“The majority of the rubbish that we pick up in the ocean comes from the land. It’s as simple as people taking responsibility for their own rubbish,” said Hayden.
“It may not seem significant but picking up that stray bit of plastic at the park and putting it in a secure bin is the most essential type of help that we need.”
If you want to find out more about how you can support Sea Cleaners or how to sign up to volunteer on one of their vessels, visit their website here: https://seacleaners.com/
Mercury SeaPro Commercial Outboards
SeaPro commercial-grade outboards are ultra-tough, super-reliable, powerful and efficient. Built to take whatever you and the environment can dish out – without hesitation or complaint. These motors are engineered for commercial use and created using heavy-duty components. They boast: