Record-Breaking Environmental Cleanup By US Sailing Team In Miami


January 16, 2018

Miami, Fla. – The US Sailing Team and US Sailing’s Olympic Development Program (ODP), together with Debris Free Oceans and US Sailing Center Miami partnered to remove nearly 2,500 pounds of trash and debris from the shorelines of Coconut Grove, Florida as part of last week’s national team training camp. Dozens of America’s top Olympic hopefuls took a break from an intensive training schedule to care for the environment surrounding their primary training site in the United States.

“This is one of my proudest moments since taking this job,” said two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Malcolm Page, Chief of U.S. Olympic Sailing. “The national team joined with the ODP for this special cleanup project, and really made a difference in the environment surrounding the US Sailing Center Miami.”

Utilizing US Sailing Team coach boats, athletes and coaches combed through the mangroves and removed a wide range of human-made debris, much of which was deposited in the area by recent hurricanes.

“Sailors are connected to the environment in a profound way,” said US Sailing Team athlete and 11th Hour Racing Ambassador Steph Roble (East Troy, Wisc.). “We all care a lot about the waters and habitats around the places where we sail, and especially at home here in the U.S. It was really exciting to watch our whole team fully commit to the cleanup project during this training camp, and to provide an example for other sailors around the world. This was a great opportunity for me to support the work of 11th Hour Racing that takes place on and off the water – as an Ambassador, I am out in the field to research and execute ways sailors can improve the health of our oceans and promote positive change.”

Prior to the cleanup, participants were inspired by Debris Free Oceans Co-Founders Caiti Pomerance and Jeremy Waks, who gave a talk about plastic pollution to over 60 US Sailing Team athletes, ODP participants, staff, and coaches. Among other facts, the group learned that by 2050 it is expected that there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by weight.*

Thanks to LUSH Cosmetics, all cleanup members also received a zero-waste toolkit, including a reusable bottle, reusable bamboo silverware, and reusable bag, so they could not only remove trash from the surrounding waters but also prevent more single-use plastics from entering the waste stream. After the prep session, all involved put their strength and athleticism to the test and broke the record for most trash collected during a Debris Free Oceans cleanup.

“This has blown our [previous] cleanups out of the water. It’s been incredible,” said Debris Free Oceans Founder Caiti Pomerance (Miami, Fla.). “We’ve cleaned up at least 1,500 pounds more [trash] than our average cleanup. These [sailors] are strong, they’re competitive, dedicated, and passionate people. It clearly showed by picking up so much garbage.”

*2016 report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in partnership with the World Economic Forum.

About the US Sailing Team

The US Sailing Team is managed by the United States Sailing Association (US Sailing), the national governing body for the sport of sailing and sailboat racing. The top boats in each Olympic class are selected annually to be members of the US Sailing Team. US Sailing helps these elite athletes with financial, logistical, coaching, technical, fitness, marketing and communications support. US Sailing Team sponsors include gold partner Helly Hansen, silver partners Harken, McLube, and Groupe Beneteau, and supplier Marlow Ropes. For more information, please visit

About US Sailing

The United States Sailing Association (US Sailing), the national governing body for sailing, provides leadership, integrity, and growth for the sport in the United States. Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Bristol, Rhode Island, US Sailing is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. US Sailing offers training and education programs for instructors and race officials, supports a wide range of sailing organizations and communities, issues offshore rating certificates, and provides administration and oversight of competitive sailing across the country, including National Championships and the US Sailing Team. For more information, please visit

About Debris Free Oceans

Debris Free Oceans ( is a volunteer-run, Miami-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring local communities to responsibly manage the lifecycle of plastics and waste through education, outreach, research and policy initiatives. Since its inception in 2014, Debris Free Oceans has removed over 19,000lbs of marine debris from our South Florida beaches, educated over 2,900 students in Miami about how to live a zero-waste lifestyle, engaged over 1,600 people in lifestyle awareness events, such as Debris Free Ocean’s annual eco-fashion show, and provided sustainability consulting services to leading local businesses causing nearly a million straws to be removed from the waste stream.

About 11th Hour Racing

11th Hour Racing establishes strategic partnerships within the sailing and maritime communities to promote collaborative, systemic change benefitting the health of our ocean – one degree at a time. Since 2010, 11th Hour Racing has been harnessing the power of sport with an innovative and comprehensive approach through three primary areas of engagement: grants, partnerships, and ambassadors. For more information, please visit

Contact: Will Ricketson, Olympic Communications Manager, US Sailing
Phone: +1 978 697 2384 (USA)

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