As the largest resort watersports operator on Grand Cayman, Red Sail Sports is also a leading advocate for marine conservation. Well-trained staff and a sizeable fleet give Red Sail Sports the flexibility to support environmental programs that require volunteers and boats for beach and reef cleanups. Local conservation initiatives, such as the newly-launched non-profit Plastic Free Cayman, find a willing partner in the dive company that has been offering services on Grand Cayman for 30 years.
Red Sail Sports Training Manager Beth Hiryok is helping organize monthly volunteer beach cleanups for Plastic Free Cayman and developing plastic-free practices within the company. The beach cleanups have collected 7500 pounds of plastic trash during the past six months, fueling volunteer passions to help remove the toxic materials from the ocean – something that is spreading across the Cayman Islands.
“It’s the visual impact of the cleanups that is making people think,” said Hiryok. “They see the littered beaches before they get to work and then the clean beaches after their work is done. These volunteers are going home and trying to figure out what they can do to help to keep plastic out of the ocean.”
Next month on Cayman’s Earth Day, April 21, Red Sail Sports and Plastic-Free Cayman are teaming up to clean up the mangroves in the canals around the company’s Safehaven facilities. Red Sail Sports is asking volunteers to bring kayaks and paddleboards for the cleanup.
“It’s great that Red Sail Sports is supporting Plastic Free Cayman with manpower,” said founder Claire Hughes, “but they are also helping educate the public about plastic and its harmful effects on the environment.”
Education has long been recognized as the key to changing behavior that leads to less ocean pollution and conservation. As standard practice, Red Sail Sports informs its customers about how to protect the reefs and sea life.
“As part of every dive briefing we tell people that they are in a Marine Park and ‘no touching, teasing or harassing,’ said Dive Manager Clive Webb. “We also don’t let guests wear gloves as some think that means they can touch corals.”
Webb and his team recently sponsored a reef cleanup for the Eco Club at University College of the Cayman Islands working on a documentary on the proposed cruise ship terminal. The Red Sail Sports team, working with Plastic Free Cayman, also videotaped the cleanup for the non-profit. Red Sail Sports also runs monthly lionfish culling trips to remove the predators from Cayman’s dive sites and the fish end up on the menu of a local restaurant. They will also have another reef cleanup dive on Earth Day, April 21st, and will be looking for volunteers to come along and help. The dive will be complimentary for those that wish to assist this great cause.
Red Sail Sports as a company some time ago shifted to biodegradable cups on the dive boats and catamarans, and affiliate company, the Rum Point Club, is now using paper straws instead of plastic. At the retail shops, the company is phasing out plastic bags – now asking customers if they want a bag with their purchase, thus giving them a choice. When Red Sail Sports customers check in for watersports activities they are asked to bring reusable water bottles, and all reservation confirmations include a clause about conservation efforts in Cayman.
With the sheer number of dive and watersports customers that enjoy Cayman’s stunning underwater marine world on Red Sail Sports dive boats and catamarans, Operations Manager Rod McDowall says they have an opportunity to educate more people about conservation.
“We are blessed with the success the Cayman Islands has had as a tourist destination, and Red Sail Sports as a watersports operator over the past 30 years, so it is our obligation to care for the marine environment, which is the very thing that attracts visitors from around the world,” he said. “We need to keep it pristine for future generations.”
This summer, Red Sail Sports staff will be spreading that conservation message to divers taking advantage of the company’s popular Summer Spectacular package again. With a 30% savings on the dive package they will enjoy:
5 Days Diving starts from $465.00
The dive package is valid for travel May 1 – November 17, 2018. Applicable to all Red Sail Sports locations including East End, however please note the Kittiwake Dive included as part of the package departs from Seven Mile Beach and transportation to the departure point is not provided. Customers can book online https://www.redsailcayman.com/packages/#category/546.
To find out more about the Earth Day mangrove cleanup at Safehaven contact Beth Hiryok firstname.lastname@example.org.