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Sailing Clubs Should Take Immediate Action Against Plastics

7th March 2019
Damian Foxall Damian Foxall

Sailing and yacht clubs should start appointing Sustainability Officers and every club and boat should immediately “kick out” single-use plastics from every aspect of their sport – both aboard and ashore.

That is the view of one of Ireland’s top international sailors.

“No place for them, not on the family boat, the dinghy, the crewed racing yacht, in the club bar having a drink, let’s kick out single-use plastic immediately, no debate about that.”

"It is a strong, blunt view by Damian Foxall in his role as Irish Sailing’s Sustainability Ambassador"

It is a strong, blunt view by Damian Foxall in his role as Irish Sailing’s Sustainability Ambassador. From the days when I first met him in Kerry and lunched with him at my home in Cork Harbour before he took a ferry to France, many years ago and began his international campaign as a ‘rookie’ in the Figaro Race, to where he is now, Damian has been focussed and determined in what he intends to achieve.

Interviewed for a future edition of my radio programme, THIS ISLAND NATION, about his new role, he was equally forthright. As World Sailing moves towards outlining its approach towards sustainability on the international scene, Damian and Irish Sailing are advancing theirs.

He does not see diesel being replaced in boat engines for some time yet, but there are other initiatives to be taken, he says. Where the marine environment is concerned we can all take some action. His comments follow an equally forthright declaration by another person I interviewed, Professor Michael Jansen at the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences in University College Cork, who is one of the leading scientists investigating the threat of microplastics to the marine environment.

He told me that “microplastics are everywhere” and the main threat comes from freshwater to the marine environment.

• Listen to the Podcast here as Damian Foxall outlines what he thinks clubs and individuals should be doing for protection of the marine environment.

Published in Tom MacSweeney
Tom MacSweeney

About The Author

Tom MacSweeney

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Tom MacSweeney writes a weekly column for He presents the monthly programme Maritime Ireland on Podcast services and Irish radio stations.

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