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What are Clean Wake Projects?

To leave a clean wake is to show respect for others and for the environment so that those who follow in our wake will be warmly welcomed. It is SSCA's most cherished tradition. Following is a list of humanitarian and environmental projects that you may be interested in supporting. If you know of a deserving group that you think should be added or have a pet project of your own, review the Clean Wake Project Proposal Guidelines. Then send your suggestion to  Use the map below to locate SSCA's Clean Wake projects.  The Google map may take a minute or so to load.

Seven Seas Cruising Association(SSCA) Announces New Clean Wake Partnership with Hope Fleet

For years some SSCA members have found creative ways to "give back" to the island communities we love to visit. A new SSCA Clean Wake project partnering with the Hope Fleet organization can provide structure and safety in these efforts. Like SSCA, Hope Fleet sees the immediate and long term benefits of connecting boaters to the communities that they visit. When done with care, wonderful relationships can be fostered between the boaters and local people with mutual respect and gratitude–making each experience positive and long-lasting.

Hope Fleet is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization whose goal is to enhance the lives and well being of communities and particularly children, primarily in the Bahamas and Caribbean islands They have been growing direct relationships with local island communities since 2019. Hope Fleet provides structure and support to boaters, such as SSCA members, to bring school supplies, medical clinic supplies and other support items to specific island communities. Hope Fleet will obtain and prepare items for transport by SSCA members in their boats. One unique feature of Hope Fleet is that it develops relationships with key local people. In many cases delivery sailors have an opportunity to spend a few days helping directly in the school or community where items are delivered. This is more than simply dropping off needed items. It is our hope that meaningful relationships will continue to develop.

Hope Fleet Mission Statement: "We sail essential supplies, services, and hope to the children who need it most."

Hope Fleet was founded in response to the needs of vulnerable children—living in the Caribbean and Latin America—who lack essential supplies, medicine, and education needed for a healthy and full life.

Our three focus areas:

  • Child Wellbeing (basic needs, medical, educational)
  • Community Development (community projects, agriculture, sustainability)
  • Disaster Response (emergency response, rebuilding efforts)

Our Approach: Each community has its own set of unique challenges, and we know that the best way for a community to grow is from within. We find and vet local initiatives where locals are already doing meaningful work and support them so that they can further their cause. We work together with local churches, community leaders, ministries, schools, clinics etc., and partners to not only tackle the immediate needs, but to address root issues. Using sailboats, together with a growing network of private boaters, we provide necessary supplies, skills, and relationships so communities can become more self-sufficient.

Procedure, Costs, and Customs:

Procurement: Our work is "needs-based". This means that we don't procure or load up supplies without first understanding exactly what the recipient partner's needs are. Once we get a needs list from a partner, then we match that with what we have on hand, or aim to procure from different sources.

Loading: It is our responsibility to obtain, provide ground transportation, and assist in loading supplies onto the vessel agreeing to transport on our behalf. Once everything is loaded, we provide paperwork, including a manifest of everything that is being carried. This paperwork will be shown to the customs officer on arrival and the marina.

Customs: We build relationships with government officials and customs officers to have items pre-approved to be accepted by the recipient. By having a counterpart in the receiving country, along with pertinent government relationships, we build trust so that each vessel isn't required to establish a relationship of its own, but rather show it is part of an organized and compliant network of boaters who support local humanitarian projects. Our recipient partners also meet boaters at the docks to help with any unforeseen issues and offloading.

Engaging With Locals: By meeting trusted local partners at the port of call, it introduces each boater to a person or group who they can trust and often become more connected with than just at the docks. When safe and possible, we try to connect boaters to opportunities to either visit or volunteer at a project to not only connect boaters to their impact, but to lay the foundation of possible repeat visits and positive relationships between boaters and locals.

Background Checks & Costs: We do significant research and vetting to ensure local partners have integrity and are trustworthy. We must also build trust with each captain, vessel, and crew for safety. If the project is mostly supply delivery, we do ask that at least the captain of each vessel undergo a background check. However, if the project is more handson with locals, we may ask crew members to complete a background check as well (i.e. volunteering with children). The cost is $19 per person and that is completed through a trusted third-party company. Hope Fleet does not receive any revenue from background checks and this is the only cost requirement SSCA boaters should expect from Hope Fleet.

Follow-Up: In order to ensure each project is successful, we ask for boaters and recipients to fill in an online project recap assessment. This allows for us to take on any complaints, issues, or bring to light anything that we can better adjust going forward for future projects. This also allows the opportunity for us to gain better insight into the integrity of both parties without our staff physically being present. After this, we share success stories and make sure that each boater is valued and appreciated for their sacrifices and efforts. We understand that making any passage is a lot of work, so when boaters want to help along the way, we don't take that for granted.

For more information on how you can get involved, please visit

1 min Hope Fleet General Info Video:

Two of our current projects:


Dominican Republic

Dates: Ongoing Location: Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic Main

Port of Call: Ocean World Marina 19.8265° N, 70.7334° W

Project Needs: Humanitarian Supplies Transport: Medical, Educational, Food & Clothing.

Project Notes: We are partnering with and supporting several organizations and churches on the north coast of the DR who are taking care of the immediate needs in their communities. If you have sail plans that include this location, please reach out to us.

-We will load up any vessels departing from mainland South Florida—currently Ft. Lauderdale to Tampa

-We will provide all supplies, documentation, and relevant information to make loading, clearing in, and offloading as smooth as possible.

-If you have donated goods that you would like to donate, please let us know so that we can ensure goods are needed and approved.



Dates: Oct 2022 - January 2023

Location: Grand Bahama, Abaco, Nassau (more details coming soon) Main Port of Call: Grand Bahama Yacht Club 26°31'00.6"N 78°38'14.9"W

Project Needs: Bucket transportation from Florida.

Project Notes: Hope Buckets are backyard agricultural kits to help promote sustainability for the Bahamas. We have 1,400 buckets each including seeds, irrigation tubing, soil, trays and everything needed to create a backyard garden. This project is in collaboration with Convoy of Hope, Hope Seeds, and the Ministry of Agriculture in The Bahamas. All items are self-contained and pre-approved for clearance.

Media: Link to give SSCA access to several applicable photos.


Main Contact:

Danny Moroney/ceo
Cell (321) 427-6651

Our SSCA Main Contact/Point Person:
Rick Peterson
(941) 720-4976


Humanitarian Opportunities

PAYS Mooring Field and Humanitarian Support, Dominica

While some Caribbean countries have resources to support their citizens, some poorer islands have been badly impacted by hurricanes and now COVID.  For Dominica, two hurricanes, and the most damaging, Hurricane Maria in 2017, stripped the land and people of their ability to survive the economic impact. They started recovery, but COVID lockdown, which began in 2020, impacted the fragile recovery.  Offshore Passage Opportunities (OPO) is a key supporting organization for this fragile part of the Caribbean, Dominica. OPO, for the past eight years, has worked to develop not only the safety for cruisers but also the business concept for the Portsmouth community.

When Hurricane Maria slammed into the Island of Dominica, OPO (headed by Hank Schmitt) and others such as SSCA quickly organized a first response helping friends in the Caribbean.  A $6,000 donation to the International Relief Group paid for supplies and fuel for a big shipment via the British Tug, Flying Buzzard.  SSCA assisted in coordinating this "boat lift”.  In November 2017, Hank loaded Avocation, his personal boat, with generators, tools, repair supplies and sailed to Dominica. He worked with the PAYS Team and helped deliver provisions and equipment to help rebuild the PAYS infrastructure. Portsmouth Authority Yacht Services (PAYS) is an organization of local Dominicans who manage the mooring field in Portsmouth Harbor, provide safety, launch service and access to tours to the interior of the island. They coordinate with the Dominican authorities and support community projects. In 2018, SSCA and other boat groups joined OPO efforts in Dominica, and assisted with relief work. Boats carried large boat loads of supplies from Antigua to Dominica, crews supported rebuilding efforts (schools, feeding programs and more). Boats volunteered and helped with the mooring projects and more.

Offshore Passage Opportunities began helping with the donation of the mooring field for over six years, and continues to assist the Portsmouth community. Now OPO is tailoring additional efforts to a specific goal of getting PAYS back up and running after COVID. Currently, OPO is on the ground in Dominica, assessing the needs cruisers could assist with. With other groups like Macario Advantage(NGO), OPO is now helping with donations for humanitarian aid, food/supplies to allow the cadre of boating support people of Portsmouth Dominica to survive this coming season. It's expected there will be few if any cruising tourists and this is an island whose entire economy is dependent on tourism. They are destitute.  OPO efforts exemplify the SSCA Clean Wake philosophy, and deserves recognition as a CW project.

Cruiser Volunteers

The Bay Islands Project, Honduras

The Bay Islands consists of 8 islands and 53 small cays lying 15km (10 miles) to 60 km (40miles) off the northern coast of Honduras.

There was already a tremendous need here in The Bay Islands even before Covid-19. Education, health and just the basic needs of food and shelter were in need of being met. However, due to the worldwide pandemic, The Bay Islands has been seriously affected since the islands depend almost 100% on tourism. Unemployment is extremely high due to so many more people that have been out of work since March 2020.  So, Cruising Station Hosts Bill & JoAnne Harris (s/v Ultra) have been performing fundraising efforts since March 2020 with all donations used to purchase food, prescription medications, Covid-19 tests, medical supplies, monthly bills, personal care items, baby items and much more for families in need.  They have also been collecting new and used items to distribute to the families in need. For Christmas, they distributed 65 bags full of food and fun holiday treats for families in need.

Bill and JoAnne have been leading/volunteering/fundraising for humanitarian efforts around the globe for almost 30 years. Their idea is to always help others get back on their feet in their time of need and eventually support themselves. They cannot help everyone, but they can sure try. Bill and JoAnne welcome monetary donations and wonderful volunteer team players with all kinds of skills to bring along a super fun attitude to help with a variety of humanitarian projects:

1.    Assist in the building and painting of a variety of projects including housing and schools.
2.    Help with disaster responses for food, shelter, medical needs and more when they coordinate along with the authorities.
3.    Help with supplying books, art supplies and other materials needed for school children for a better education.
4.    Help with fundraising efforts around the globe to raise awareness of families in need in The Bay Islands of Honduras.
5.    Improving water pumping systems.
6.    Teaching English to families to better their education and opportunities.
7.    Teaching proper health and dental hygiene along with the assistance of medical professionals.
8.    Teach others to respect the oceans and the sea life in them since they rely on them.
Bill and JoAnne are always expanding their ideas on new projects. Over the years, when they see a need that needs to be filled, they try their very best to fill it. It is a lot of work, but it is all well worth it when they see the smiles on the faces on everyone they help. It is always a super rewarding experience to work as a team and help improve the lives of others!

If you would like to assist Bill and JoAnne in their efforts, you can contact them at

Hondurian Family

Friends of Rio Dulce Guatemala

Cruisers and concerned local citizens have formed a group of visitors, cruisers, SSCA members, family and friends to provide help to the local community. Called Friends of Rio Dulce, they also join forces with other agencies and coordinate with them where help is needed. Pam Redpath of Boatique Hotel and Marina has provided major support, Steve Elliot, Hotel and Marina Catamarine, Chef Eric and staff! And, our SSCA Cruising Station Hosts Tutty and Muriel Lee with many others. From our distance here, we just don't know all the names to credit.

Some of the projects in towns such as Sebol, Morales, Cocales, Loa Amandes and other areas concern education assistance for communities without formal schools, helping with orphanages such as Casa Azul, rebuilding infrastructure. Chef Eric and his staff are making 1000 meals a day! The many volunteers in the community and on cruising vessels are providing labor, love and concern along with needed supplies of food and materials for hurricane recovery such as shovels and wheel barrows, cleaning products and materials and economic support. Schools in some areas, such as Sou, El Bongo, Arapahoe are being cleaned, fixed, and supported as only volunteers can do. See the ongoing story at, with admin Steve Elliot. A truly cruiser helping cruiser effort.

As mentioned, SSCA Cruising Station Hosts Tutty and Muriel Lee are located in Rio Dulce and are providing major assistance and coordination with this cruising community. They are coordinating volunteers and projects to support this community.  If you would like to help, you can contact Tutty and Muriel at

Watch this video of devastation in Guatemala

 Mudslide Devastation in Guatemala

Floating Doctors

Floating Doctors is currently based in Panama and spending time in Haiti and Honduras. Our volunteer medical team is building a permanent health and development program for indigenous communities spread across 10,000 square miles of jungle covered mountains and mangrove mazes in the Bocas del Toro region of Panama.

Many of the communities we serve live in remote poverty without access to basic health care. Poorly charted waters and rugged terrain, political factors, social disenfranchisement, poor health knowledge, poverty, and lack of infrastructure separate these communities from the proper health care they need. The Floating Doctors medical team was developed to overcome the barriers to health access that these communities face. Volunteer medical teams deploy by boat, packhorse, or on foot to remote under-served areas.

The highest expression of charity comes not from simply giving, but rather enabling the recipient to become self-reliant. Without health, no forward motion is possible, and the gift of health means that a people can grow and become empowered. Floating Doctors strives to foster this self-reliance by providing healthcare and emergency services, donating medical supplies, educating and training community members and leaders, conducting community development projects, and building sustainable capacity.
Regular visits to more than 30 key communities has allowed us to maintain detailed health records, develop community profiles, and strengthen the relationship we have in the area. To date, over 80,000 patients have received care from Floating Doctors, numerous community projects have been completed, and five permanent, remote medical outposts have been built.

Fair Winds,
Samantha Horn
Executive Director, Floating Doctors
Website:, Donations:

Yacht Relief Alliance

Register your boat to deliver supplies, volunteers or identify available cargo to the storm-ravaged Caribbean.

In 2015 Dominica suffered badly from Tropical Storm Erika. In 2016 Haiti was severely devastated by Hurricane Matthew, and in 2017 Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria did major damage to the USA and a number of Caribbean islands. Many islands, including Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, St. Martin, Barbuda and Dominica have suffered from lack of power, healthcare, shelter and even food or clean water; in some cases that will continue through 2018.

International Rescue Group (IRG) is working in partnership with the SSCA to provide an information system to register available yachts anywhere in the world that can carry much-needed cargo to storm-hit destinations and source supplies. IRG is funding this Project and providing the data.

The Yacht Relief Alliance (YRA) is a coalition of disaster relief and humanitarian aid related organizations, agencies, NGOs, charities and individuals who provide services involving cruisers and boats. Members of the Yacht Relief Alliance work together to coordinate aid efforts worldwide and share resources. The SSCA is proud to host this Clean Wake Project as a founding member of the YRA.

Getting Donated Supplies to Shore

Sea Mercy

If the South Pacific is on your cruising horizon, here's Sea Mercy, a humanitarian Clean Wake organization with several project categories that welcome volunteers with the kinds of skills and willingness to help that are second nature to SSCA members. You can enlist via online registration before you cast off.

An example of SSCA's global reach was the response of SSCA members in the South Pacific and coordination cooperation stateside to help in the disaster response efforts of Sea Mercy on Vanuatu in the aftermath of the level 5 Cyclone Pam in March 2015. That Sea Mercy was able to step in quickly to assess the destruction and marshal necessary resources whether human, vessel or material, was an astonishing achievement and a solid introduction for SSCA. The organization learned the ropes in 2014 with Cyclone Ian in Tonga.

A relatively young but growing organization, Sea Mercy's vision is "to be the most effective preventive, curative, promotional, and rehabilitative floating health care provider to (11) remote island nations" in the South Pacific and deliver health care, education, and economic development assistance. In three years Sea Mercy has targeted 3 of those island nations: Kingdom of Tonga, Republic of Fiji, and Vanuatu.

Sea Mercy engages the attention of volunteers with the tag line "Sailing with a greater purpose. One vessel can make a difference... Our fleet can change the world". There is an extensive menu of ways in which cruisers in the South Pacific, based on their resumes, skills, talents, and interests, can participate in different programs whether long term, periodically, or in a quick response mode.

Enlist as a volunteer online by visiting .

Daily Catch

Hands Across the Sea

Hands Across the Sea is a US-based international NGO dedicated to raising the literacy levels of Eastern Caribbean children since 2007.  Working directly with our stakeholders - principals, teachers, children, and communities, and in close partnership with the Ministry of Education and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States - Hands is committed to ensuring access to literacy resources for children everywhere in the Eastern Caribbean.

Hands is a successor to a previous SSCA Clean Wake project, "Boaters for Books". Hands realizes its mission through two main programs: CLASS (Caribbean Literacy and School Support) Program builds on a three-step approach to ensuring library by:

1) Sending new, culturally responsive, and relevant books,
2) Creating or rejuvenating school and community libraries, and
3) Ensuring the sustainability of each project through ongoing support, mentorship, and innovation.

The CLASS program deploys a methodology developed from best practices over sixteen years' experience and outlined in the Hands Across the Sea Library Manual for Primary Schools which can be found in more than 435 schools across the Eastern Caribbean. In 2020, Hands launched the first universal preschool program in the Eastern Caribbean, the Early Pages Programme which serves children ages 3-5 with an integrative library program; at the core of this program is the goal of capturing the hearts and minds of early learners and setting children up on a winning trajectory for life. The preschool program makes literacy an explicit component in early learning and activates parental and community involvement in supporting youth literacy.

As of the 2022-23 school year, Hands has reached nearly 197,000 children on the islands of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines with over half-a-million new books as well as mentorship programs. Hands has helped create or rejuvenate over 938 school and community libraries and is focused on long-term sustainability of libraries and instilling a love of reading in children's and families' lives.

There are many ways to help Hands. The most direct way to support the program is through cash donations that enable the organization to purchase library collections and to pay local literacy experts -Program Officers known as "Hands Across the Sea Literacy Links" - who are on the frontlines working directly in the schools and with the children, families, and educators. If cruisers are in the Eastern Caribbean during the winter months, there are hands-on needs such as painting, building bookshelves, culling a library collection; and working directly with children (reading aloud) or educators that we are happy to pair you with.

Hands Across the Sea, Inc. is a US-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization. Donations to Hands Across the Sea are tax-deductible to the extent which is allowed by law.

Hands Across the Sea

Our Lady of Guadalupe - Clinicians Needed in Ecuador

Internists, pediatricians, family physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, dentists, gynecologists, otolaryngologists, general surgeons, ophthalmologists, and anesthesiologists are being recruited to volunteer at a rural health clinic in the tropical highlands of Ecuador along the Peruvian border. This clinic serves a poor indigenous population with few other options for care. This modern facility is located on the grounds of a Catholic mission in the pueblo of Guadalupe. There are three examining rooms, an operating theater, two dental suites, optometric services, a pharmacy, and a laboratory. They have also organized mobile health fairs to other remote under-served regions. A hospital can be reached in two hours. 

Volunteers have come from the United States, Great Britain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Canada, Austria, Australia, Germany, Ecuador, and Ireland. Surgeons have generally been accompanied by an anesthesiologist and nurse. Volunteers of all faiths are welcome. Knowledge of Spanish is helpful; however a bilingual nurse is on premises. Health care workers may come for a minimum of two weeks or for several months. Transportation is not covered but lodging and meals are supplied, with a separate residence overlooking the river valley and Andes. For information on how you can help, contact Padre José Gonzaat

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Mexican Medical Missionaries

Bringing healing and hope to the people of Mexico. Learn more at

Mexican Medical Missionaries

PATA - an Animal Welfare Organization

Located in Manzanillo, Mexico, PATA emphasizes free spay/neuter clinics for dogs and cats (still an unusual concept in Mexico). PATA became a non-profit organization with the help of former cruisers Stan and MJ, previously of s/v SolMate, who are now permanent residents in Santiago. Stan and MJ are also responsible for developing and maintaining the PATA website. Cruisers anchored in the Manzanillo area are encouraged to volunteer for any clinics that are held during the winter cruising season. Go to


Sail Fest 

The annual Zihua Sail Fest fund-raising party for the education of disadvantaged children in Zihuatanejo, Mexico is held each February in the beautiful Zihuatanejo Bay located at Lat: 17.6° N, 101.5° W. In the true spirit of a rendezvous, vessels begin arriving in November from as far away as Alaska and the Caribbean and drop anchor until February to participate in what is becoming one of Mexico's premier sailing events, the Zihua Sail Fest. SailFest is a five-day festival that combines fun and games, heart-felt volunteerism and an outpouring of international friendship. Although the tone of the event is light-hearted, the cruisers’ goals are serious – to raise funds for the education of Zihuatanejo’s poorest children. Learn more at

Second Life Sails

The Second Life Sails project planned to assist Haitian fishermen who rely on sail-powered boats is now an SSCA endorsed Clean Wake project.

“Frequently people find themselves with used sails and surplus sailcloth as well as fishing gear that have useful life in them, but no way to get them to folks who would put that second life to good use,” said Frank Virgintino , author of A Cruising Guide to Haiti and frequent visitor to the enchanting Ile a Vache.  “A contribution of materials and gear that supports the principal livelihood of the island is a priceless 'thank you' to a community that has been very welcoming to cruising boats for generations.”

Ile a Vache fishermen build their own boats and are already talented at sailmaking and recycling, using materials from bed sheets to tarpaulins for their sails. Sailcloth would provide a more durable and reliable resource.

Cruisers’ used sails and fishing gear can have a second life. It starts when the donations are delivered or sent to either Marina ZarPar in Boca Chica, Dominican Republic ( or to Minneford Marina on City Island, New York ( 

The first delivery of used sails took place in February, 2013, to Ile a Vache where they were distributed by a free raffle. Second Life Sails is jointly sponsored by Free Cruising Guides and Marina ZarPar, which will handle the logistics and underwrite the cost of transporting donated sails and gear to Ile a Vache, Haiti.

If you have a used sail - or a stash of sails - too beaten up to use, but with sufficient life left to not just throw away, please consider donating it to the Second Life Sails project.

To read more about the Second Life Sails project and life on Ile a Vache, visit All at Sea's June, 2013 issue "Second Life for Used Sails Project". For further information on how to participate in Second Life Sails, email

Second Life Sails


Amateur Radio Safety Foundation is the umbrella that funds Winlink 2000. All donations made to ARSF go to Winlink 2000.

Environmental Opportunities

Argo brings Ocean Wonders to landlocked students and public!

Arizona and landlocked students around the world are virtually sailing, exploring and learning about the Ocean with a highly innovative science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) online program featuring applied science to the environment and conservation.  SciTech Institute, a Tempe, Arizona-based education non-profit providing STEAM resources for schools is excited about their trailblazing collaboration with long time drone developer and manufacturer, Douglas Thorpe, and his education and conservation Research Sailing Vessel (RSV) Argo, Arizona’s first.

The education and research sailing craft was launched 15 June 2021 in Huntington Harbour, California where the vessel is nearing completion for her fitting out and installation of specialized equipment.  Soon she will be operating in the Channel Islands before making her way south along Mexico’s coast.  Students and the public are free to look in on Argo’s adventures as the research sailboat goes from place to place, island to island.

An example of reclaimed/repurposed solid waste
Despite entering the water just last year, Argo took form as a deck and hull molded by defunct Alajuela Yachts in a building just 2 miles from her launch site – 40 years ago!  The hull and deck languished in a junkyard near Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona ever since with no chance to get an owner up for the challenges to design, build and get her on the water.

The “junkyard” boat was built by a small group of volunteers since 2018 and has found a growing following on social media with millions of views on TikTok.

Students from grade school to universities are able to have Argo assist them in their education and research projects: from Flat Stanley and Stacy adventures to reef surveys and conservation projects.  Even student built underwater ROVs can be deployed from the research boat complementing commercial ROVs and drones flying high overhead to help collect research information for scientists.

SciTech has rolled out K-12 Lesson Plans to complement Argo’s interactive sessions with students as part of their STEAM school activities.  The students learn how lifestyles at home affect the Oceans and how to be better stewards to protect the environment.  Regularly, students and the public can talk with the crew on board Argo via live streaming sessions to learn more about various projects underway.

Argo features unique capabilities of interest for marine scientists, conservationist, educators, students and the public alike.  These include an aft equipment deck and variable height platform for scuba divers to enter and exit the water, launch and deploy underwater ROVs, deploy and operate state of the art field instruments and sampling gear, with masthead and underwater cameras providing unique views through satellite communication equipment to enable live streaming sessions with students and public on land.  Complementing these capabilities are land and ship-based drones that fly overhead to assist rookery population surveys, observing whale behavior and sampling biologic specimens for analysis.

Uniquely for a vessel her size, Argo will make passage between areas of operation using sails only – “no ‘inboard iron sails’ allowed” according to Thorpe!  One of two outboards mounted on an aft deck slider provides harbor maneuvering when required, the other drives the boat’s 13 feet long tender.

Shortly, Argo will be conducting beta sessions with students in person and online while cruising the Channel Islands off Los Angeles prior to making its way south along Mexico’s Baja California desert coast from Ensenada to Cabo San Lucas.  From there, Argo will sail north stopping along the way at small villages and towns that line the Gulf of California coastline arriving in Puerto Penasco in Sonora, Mexico.  Scores of SciTech Institute’s student Chief Science Officers from Arizona, surrounding states and Mexico will participate in projects aboard Argo in the north end of the Gulf of California.

Argo resumes heading south again along the west coast of mainland Mexico stopping at several more coastal towns and cities before sailing on to Costa Rica and Panama.  In Costa Rica and Panama, Argo will participate with research and conservation work on sea turtles and Blue Whales, the world’s largest animal, before positioning for an extended stay in the Galapagos Islands to participate in Research and Conservation efforts there.

Argo is crewed by seasonal and “semi-permanent” crew that serve rotations as needed to support projects along her route.  Some crew will stay aboard for several months at a time, while others may be just weeks, a month or two.  Research and project guests, SciTech personnel and students will similarly crew on the vessel, typically for short periods of time up to several weeks.

Of particular interest to crew aboard are students from underserved, disadvantaged communities and regions, many seeing the ocean for the first time, let alone sail a vessel Argo’s size, to expand their horizons and aspire them to pursue careers in STEAM and foster stewardship for the Earth.

Retired Chile Navy Captain (8500 tons) and successful commercial aquaculturist Luis Caffi will command Argo on its maiden voyage from Los Angeles to the Galapagos Islands as the first year of a 5-year voyage ultimately sailing around the world.  His physician Son and other members of his Family, including adult Grandchildren, will join him from time to time.

Bluewater sailor Cole Streba, working on Argo since 2018 along with his aerospace engineer and educator Father, Jeff, will be alternating his shipwright training coursework with seasonal time afloat “commuter cruising.”  Like Luis, his Family will also join him aboard to crew from time to time.

Novice sailor and accomplished mountaineer adventurer, Master Chef Eli Fuhrman will be commuter cruising bringing with him Family and friends.

Thorpe, along with his Son and Grandson, Steven Castro and Zachary Lippert, respectively, will commuter cruise aboard Argo.

Shoreside, Thorpe and Ben Wilbur, MD, a teaching physician at a Southern California pharmacology school, when not crewing aboard Argo, will be coordinating and performing continued operations including liaison with K-12 Educators, University Researchers and Conservation projects leadership.  They will also coordinate physicians to participate with medical assistance in underserved communities along Argo’s route.

Open call to all crews!

Argo is looking for volunteers to participate with the Argo mission aboard and ashore.  Interested readers should simply write Thorpe at thorpe.seeop@gmail and list their background and skills, what time frame available to participate, contact information including phone number and if able to participate aboard or ashore or both.  It is not necessary to have experience sailing: only a willingness to help people and a love for the sea.

To follow along and join the adventure or for more information, readers can go to and and follow social media @SailWithArgo (IG&FB) @thorpekingofdrones (TikTok).

Parties interested in funding or in-kind donations to the Argo Initiative are encouraged to contact Argo’s Team or go online to and write in the comment box “Argo.”

Argo Fun Facts
Length Overall: 59 feet
Length on Deck: 48 feet
Width: 14 feet
Height: 7 story building
Crew Size 6 – 10
Drones: small and large, ship and land-based
Underwater ROVs: Student made, commercial and Research Institutions
Floorspace: About the same as a 2-bedroom apartment
Sustainable Propulsion: Sails using the wind, NO installed engine in the boat
Electrical Power from Solar Panels storing electrical energy in lithium battery bank
Onboard cooking with electric induction stove powered by the stored solar energy
Used for: STEAM Education resource, Basic Research, Conservation and medical assistance in underserved communities or on remote islands

Douglas Thorpe
(623) 265-8911

Intercultural Center for the Study of Deserts and Oceans

CEDO is the Intercultural Center for the Study of Deserts and Oceans. The acronym CEDO comes from the Spanish name: Centro Intercultural de Estudios de Desiertos y Océanos. Located in Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, Mexico, CEDO is a center for the study of the ecosystems of the Sonoran Desert and the Gulf of California.
Intercultural Center for the Study of Deserts and Oceans collaborates between non profit organizations in Mexico and the US.  CEDO pools resources and experiences to offer realistic environmental and community solutions.   CEDO explores the creatures habitats and cultures of the Sonoran Desert and the Sea of Cortez

CEDO  integrates people, knowledge and solutions; to promote resilient communities and ecosystems. The organization is committed to improvement based on the continuous strengthening of communities and the natural environment, through: i) knowledge for decision-making; ii) the dissemination and application of tools for promoting community participation and consensus; iii) education; iv) conservation, sustainable use and dissemination of the regional biocultural heritage; v) adaptation to climate change and vi) the design and promotion of ecosystem-based harvesting and management schemes.

Nelida Acosta is the Executive Director of CEDO.  She is very passionate about her work and has already given a very interesting presentation to cruisers in San Diego as a guest speaker for Seven Seas Cruising Association.   She is extremely interested in continuing to connect with cruisers who can act as citizen scientists while in the Sea of Cortez.   In addition, Nelida and her team have developed a kit project for cruising kids that helps them to be involved in the nature around them.

Nelida Acosta

New Citizen Science Opportunity for SSCA members in the Tropics. 

SSCA members can report on  a new coral disease, Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD), as seen in your favorite Caribbean dive spots, or in near shore reef areas. Cruisers can report sightings along with photos and GPS locations at the AGRRA reporting system:

First identified in Florida in 2014, Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease,  or SCTLD, has become prevalent across the Caribbean tropics, affecting over 30 varieties of corals.  Per Atlantic Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment(AGRRA), at least 20 Caribbean countries have confirmed infections, 19 countries  are being monitored and 11 have SCTLD treatment efforts in progress.   If potential SCTLD infections are seen in corals, its advisable to report them (with backup underwater photographs), it possible you could become the first to report new areas of impact! See SSCA Cruisers Bulletin for a short description and a more indepth article at March 1, 2022, for information on how to help.

By developing maps of infections, discovering rate of spread, and  validating successful treatments, organizations hope cruisers can help identify potential causes, treatments and additional ways to alleviate this disaster occurring in our beloved tropic waters. Contact for further information.

AGRRA Desktop

Research Sargassum Weed Infestation in the Atlantic and Caribbean

Sargassum weed is an increasing problem in the Atlantic -- the Americas, Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean – ruining beaches, boat engines, rudders, and watermaker systems, etc. Some vessels have been reported being stuck in over five feet of mat, and on Virgin Gorda the watermaking system for the island was shut down for weeks.

Read more about the threat posed by sargassum in this article by Joan Conover, published in the September, 2017 Caribbean Compass. Cruisers are uniquely situated to collect and post data, e.g., Lat/Long, description of the mat (stream or horizon-to-horizon), as well as photos.  For the predictions about sargassum for 2019-2020, read this article also by Joan Conover.

To post your sargassum sightings, use this link to enter your data--

Sargassum Weed

EPIC - Environmental Protection in the Caribbean

Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC) is an independent non-profit founded in 2000 with the mission of protecting the Caribbean environment through research, restoration, education and advocacy. EPIC is a results-driven organization that works on challenging, under-addressed issues through holistic programs resulting in strategic community-based actions.

The organization works on islands throughout the Antilles. Their Grenadines Seabird Program seeks partnership with sailors who can assist with transportation to conduct research and conservation projects on offshore islands where globally and regionally important populations of seabirds nest. Individuals can join or assist a trained group of citizen scientists named the Grenadines Seabird Guardians, which conducts periodic surveys of seabird populations as well as litter cleanups and searches for invasive mammals which threaten native wildlife.

Citizen Science

A new Citizen Science study developed by scientists at Plymouth University, UK, is asking sailors to help scientists study and understand the phytoplankton. You can take part in this global study by downloading a free mobile app available for iOS and Android, and by using a self-made piece of equipment called a Secchi Disk. You can find out more at the project’s website or by downloading the Secchi App.

The phytoplankton, tiny plant-like cells that live at the sunlit surface of the sea, begin the marine food chain. From their position at the base of the marine food chain their productivity governs the productivity at every step above them, from the numbers of fish in the sea to the abundance of crabs on the seabed, and from the number of polar bears on the ice to the seabirds in the sky above. In 2010 three Canadian scientists published research that suggested the phytoplankton were declining in the oceans due to climate change and a warming of the sea surface. Their study proved controversial however, not least among other scientists, some of whom thought they saw contrary results. Part of the controversy stemmed from a lack of data - the oceans are a vast place and there are not that many scientists to cover them - and this is where any sailor can help advance phytoplankton research. The Plymouth scientists hope that sailors everywhere will participate in the Secchi App Citizen Science project to help build a long-term and spatially extensive dataset of phytoplankton observations form the World’s oceans. In addition to the website you can also follow the project at the Secchi Disk group on Facebook Why not take part?

Richard Kirby
Marine Institute Research Fellow
Plymouth University
Marine Biological Association,
Citadel Hill,
The Hoe,
Plymouth PL1 2PB
United Kingdom

Oceans Watch

Oceans Watch promotes marine conservation projects through partnerships between yachting and diving enthusiasts, coastal communities, and marine biologists. This is a fantastic opportunity to pitch in while you cruise. See


WhaleForce is an international cetacean (whales, dolphins, porpoises) survey that was established in 1986 by the Cochrane Ecological Institute (CEI),, a registered charity. SSCA member Clio Smeeton, founder of WhaleForce, was reared on a boat and, from experience, knew that blue water and coastal racing and cruising yachtsmen and women (and children) are in an ideal position to monitor cetacean occurrence and movement because they are sailing the sea for pleasure. Because the sea belongs to no country, no country takes responsibility for maintaining the health and the integrity of its (especially migratory) wildlife populations (invertebrates, fish, mammals, reptiles and birds). One way to address this is by undertaking non-intrusive monitoring of the seas and oceans.

Cruisers can participate in this important census by sending to Clio ( the GPS co-ordinates and a brief description of sightings of cetaceans and also significant pollution/garbage, and if possible, accompanying photographs, as well. A fascinating aspect of sending photographs is that there are still unidentified cetacean species in the sea, known to science only by a few bones. Thus the scientific opportunities presented by digital photographs of living examples of these, thus far, rare species accompanied by date, location, and description are vast. As cetaceans are at the top of the food chain they are the first to suffer from accumulated pollutants and from overhunting. When WhaleForce was started, information packages were placed on Tall Ships as well as Blue Water and ARC Rallies, and then on international yacht races; but the ideal respondents are those people who are not competing; who are sailing for the love of it and are therefore inclined to observe all about them.

The CEI can provide a cetacean identification book and a Burgee, and more information on WhaleForce itself can be found on the CEI website,

Editor’s Note: Clio is the daughter of Miles and Beryl Smeeton, s/v Tzu Hang, recipients of the 1988 Seven Seas Award.

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