America’s Cup Healthy Ocean Project Will Give the Ocean a Voice

After months of anticipation, San Francisco will finally get a taste of what the America’s Cup races are all about during the America’s Cup World Series this August and October.

By Mallory Johnson

Published: August, 2012

After months of anticipation, San Francisco will finally get a taste of what the America’s Cup races are all about during the America’s Cup World Series this August and October. These races will set the stage for the main events in 2013, introducing Bay Area residents and visitors to the races, athletes and boats, and focusing the public’s attention on the Bay and the ocean.

Recognizing the races as an extraordinary platform to highlight the importance of our ocean and the threats it faces, the America’s Cup Event Authority partnered with leading ocean-conservation non-profit and environmental organizations to create the America’s Cup Healthy Ocean Project, aimed at inspiring people to care about the ocean and to take personal action to improve ocean health. Global partners include conservation leaders such as Ocean Elders, Sailors for the Sea, One World One Ocean, IUCN and Dr. Sylvia Earle’s organization, Mission Blue. In addition, in each host city, the race works with local partners to address environmental issues at the regional level.

Local partners of the San Francisco events include Aquarium of the Bay, Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, the Marine Mammal Center and Save the Bay. These local partners are focusing their America’s Cup Healthy Ocean Project activities on three core areas: Marine Protected Areas (or MPAs), sustainable seafood and ocean trash and plastics. Through special exhibits, outreach and education efforts, and a powerful call to action campaign called Act Blue, the Healthy Ocean Project expects to reach thousands of visitors before, throughout and after the race events.

Brian Baird, advisor to the Aquarium of the Bay and former Assistant Secretary for Ocean and Coastal Policy for the State of California, is working with the America’s Cup Healthy Ocean Project Local Advisory Board to promote actions that make a difference. "Protecting our bay, coast and ocean resources is not only critical for the environment, but also for a thriving ocean and Bay Area economy," he said. "I’m delighted to be in this campaign for the health of our ocean. I believe we can make a difference."

Specifically, the local partners are working to support and expand California MPAs, or special ocean zones of protected habitat; to encourage market demand for ocean-friendly seafood at restaurants and food stores; and to reduce trash in the ocean by increasing awareness of this vast problem. America’s Cup Healthy Ocean Project is dedicated not only to raising awareness, but also to leading by example. For instance, America’s Cup Healthy Ocean Project hosts regularly scheduled beach cleanups to keep trash off the streets and out of the ocean. The race has also made the decision not to offer single use water bottles at any America’s Cup events (for more green measures see pages 12-13), including the races being held August 21-26 and October 2-7.

"The America’s Cup Healthy Ocean Project is a great way to focus attention on the oceans. Everyone needs to be aware of the problems facing the oceans and then do something about them," said Maggie Ostdahl, Sustainable Initiatives Manager at Aquarium of the Bay. "A lot of people think about going green and what they can do for the land instead of the ocean. We need to start thinking more about going blue for the ocean, which makes up most of the planet. You can’t have green without blue."

America’s Cup Healthy Ocean Project Lecture Series

For times, locations and details visit

September 20
Plastic in Our Ocean
Just How Bad Is It? Can We Stop It? What Can the Public Do?
Jean Michel Cousteau, Ocean Futures Society
Melanie Nutter and Jane Lubchenco, NOAA


October 5
Oceans in Crisis
Can We Save the Fish?
Dr. Sylvia Earle, Mission Blue


October 25
Sharks! Man-Eaters or Our Friends?
A Case for Global Conservation of Sharks
Kip Evans, Mission Blue
John McCosker, California Academy of Sciences







Mallory Johnson is the Public Relations Coordinator for Aquarium of the Bay, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting, restoring and inspiring the conservation of San Francisco Bay and its watershed.