Help Our Kelp

Photo by Jack Atkinson

Help Our Kelp x Arksen Foundation

In late August this year, the Arksen Foundation teamed up with research fellows, Dr Chris Yesson from the ZSL Institute of Zoology and Stephen Long from UCL, to survey the presence of kelp along the south coast of England. A RIB provided by Arksen was used to launch a small remotely operated tethered camera system (the Trident ROV) to survey the shallow areas of the coastline.

Help Our Kelp Campaign

Back in 2019, a survey by Sussex IFCA and ZSL was conducted with the Sussex IFCA patrol vessel, whilst towing a video sled across the deeper waters and along the flat seabed. The video was analysed and found there to be no kelp in the area (approximately 30km stretching from Pagham to Shoreham), despite it being a previous location of abundant kelp forests. It was clear that over the last 40 years, these important habitats had diminished significantly and the majority of kelp had been lost, due to storm damage, changing fishing practices and the dumping of sediment spoils by dredging boats.

This kicked off a kelp restoration project headed by Sussex IFCA as well as the Help Our Kelp campaign in September 2019, in partnership with Sussex Wildlife Trust, Blue Marine Foundation, Marine Conservation Society and Big Wave Productions.

Once stretching along 40 km, from Selsey to Shoreham, the underwater forest extended at least 4 km seaward. The campaign acts to restore the vast underwater kelp forest off the Sussex coast to its previous state.

The Help our Kelp campaign has the full support of broadcaster and natural historian, Sir David Attenborough, who voices the stunning campaign film. The film acts to encapsulate the environmental benefits of kelp and their necessity to ecosystems, as well as the wealth of wildlife to be found in this diverse habitat.

In January 2020, the Help our Kelp campaign had a breakthrough, with the Sussex IFCA, proposing a new bylaw that will see restricted trawling (a fishing method that involves pulling a fishing net through the water behind a boat), in a 304 km2 area along the Sussex coastline to promote kelp restoration.

What is kelp?

Kelp is the name for a group of large brown seaweeds that can form dense aggregations known as kelp forests. They are one of the most biodiverse environments on the planet and much like coral reefs, create an oasis of life wherever it grows. Kelp provides essential nurseries, habitats and feeding grounds for wildlife such as seahorses, cuttlefish, lobster, sea bream and bass.

They also absorb a huge quantity of carbon, meaning these forests are not only vital for sea life, but for climate change. Globally, kelp forests drawdown over 600 million tonnes of carbon, which is twice what the UK admits per year. They are therefore a vital tool that we need to fight the fight against climate change.

Kelp forests can also absorb the power of waves, meaning water quality is improved and coastal erosion reduced. They, therefore, have a huge impact on the world we live in and their restoration is vital to the sustainability of our planet.

Help Our Kelp x Arksen RIB

The aim of August’s 2020 survey was to view places the video sled couldn’t previously reach in 2019, due to its restriction use on the flat seabed. There had been some anecdotal reports of kelp in rockier areas, so the RIB provided by Arksen facilitated, with the use of a small ROV, to help reach these more remote areas.

With the new bylaw for restricted trawling in place, the team also wanted to establish a baseline of kelp coverage so that they could effectively monitor the forest recovery.

If kelp was found to be attached to any fixed underwater structures, such as pipes or old concrete platforms, it would be clear that kelp can still grow naturally in the area. By simply replacing rock beds along the coast, along with the trawler exclusion zone in place, a significant impact on kelp restoration could see the kelp forest start to return to the area.

Photo by Jack Atkinson

The team successfully deployed the camera system from the RIB, despite some challenging weather conditions. There were sightings of a couple of blades of Sugar Kelp, in an area south of Selsey Bill as well as a lot of ‘Dead Man’s Rope’ (brown seaweed formed into long, cord-like fronds) which is much more widespread than the previous year.

Sussex IFCA and ZSL have established from the recent survey that long-term kelp restoration is dependent on both the availability of kelp spores (to seed recovery) as well as a suitable seabed substrate, where kelp can settle and grow into its mature form. To thrive, the kelp forests need strong anchoring points so that they can withstand the ocean waves. The survey helped the team identify if the presence of large rocks was sufficient to allow for kelp growth in the area.

The access to the RIB was a key factor in allowing the team to access the more remote and hard to reach rocky areas of the coastline. The Arksen Foundation will continue to facilitate the research and monitoring of the Sussex kelp forests and are proud to support academic marine research and conservation projects, especially for conservation charities such as ZSL.

If you would like to know how you can get involved to help with the project please visit the Sussex Wildlife Website. Or if you are a vessel looking to offer time onboard to scientists please register your interest at Yachts for Science.

Sugar Kelp captured by the ROV in low visibility
Yacht of the Year 2021

We’re excited to announce that Arksen is sponsoring the brand new ‘Yacht of the Year’ category at the Ocean Awards 2021

The award will acknowledge vessels, their owners and/or crew that have actively helped enhance the health of the ocean. This could be through allowing access for researchers, conservationists and scientists, or through raising awareness of ocean issues, or through hands-on initiatives of their own. The ‘Yacht of the Year’ award is designed to celebrate the people behind the scenes who work to allow vital ocean-saving work to occur. The winner will demonstrate a commitment to ocean conservation throughout their vessel function, and the people who serve on her.

Arksen founder, Jasper Smith, will also be on the judging panel in January next year.

Entry Criteria: 
Nominees for this award must be able to demonstrate how their vessel and those onboard have provided services to enable work to occur that demonstrably enhances ocean health, either by adapting, or by equipping a vessel, which enables valuable conservation work.  

Nominees must also provide evidence of the kind of impact the research conducted has had, or could have, on ocean preservation.

Think you have what it takes? Enter your nomination here

The Ocean Awards recognises individuals, community groups, organisations and businesses that have made significant contributions to the health of the marine environment. 

An initiative very close to the heart of Arksen, we are delighted to be partnering with the sixth annual Ocean Awards and providing the winner of ‘Yacht of the Year’ with a financial donation to help further their ocean conservation efforts.

If you would like to know how you and your yacht can get involved with providing scientists with vital time at sea, why not check out the Yachts for Science project.

Yachts for Science Launch

BOAT International Media and partners today announce the digital launch of the innovative ‘Yachts for Science’ project, following a successful pilot mission which explored the black corals in the Raja Ampat region of Indonesia in January 2020. Coinciding with World Oceans Day, Yachts for Science, which is backed by BOAT International Media, Nekton, the Arksen Foundation and the Ocean Family Foundation, debuts a digital platform to help marine scientists reach new depths of the ocean, connecting scientists with yachts to conduct research and conservation projects.

Despite centuries of venturing to sea, the human race has only discovered an estimated 9% of the species living within the ocean and mapped a fraction of the ocean floor. The lack of access to the sea is a fundamental problem for marine scientists and conservation experts when understanding the ocean ecosystem.

To advance global knowledge of the state of the ocean, Yachts for Science will unveil a new dedicated website in June 2020 to match yachts with marine research projects to enable critical research and conservation work to progress. The aim is to continue producing findings that will inform decision and policy makers across the world while expanding the knowledge of the ocean.

Sacha Bonsor, Editorial Director at Boat International Media said: “The oceans are critical to the health of the planet and yachts are uniquely placed to help save them by offering access to often inaccessible areas. The ‘Yachts for Science’ initiative will be a leader in pioneering the exploration and understanding of the oceans.”

The first successful Yachts for Science pairing took place in January 2020 to study the black corals in the Raja Ampat region of Indonesia for two weeks onboard luxury charter yacht Dunia Baru. It was led by Dr Erika Gress and her team of four marine biologists from the University of Papua (UNIPA), Manokwari and the NGO Bionesia. The aim was to gain insights into the abundance and diversity of black corals and their role as fundamental habitat providers in Raja Ampat reefs. This study will ultimately provide information on the black coral ecology and the reefs they thrive in.

The main exploration took place in an area known as the Coral Triangle, which is renowned for the density of its marine organisms and boasts the largest diversity of corals on the planet. The topography is stunning both above and below water, changing dramatically from east to west with the north-west dominated by low lying sand atolls and the south-east by cast rock structures with large vertical walls. An abundance of colonies seem to favour the south-eastern region, where reefs were in generally in better condition than on the west side of Misool, outside the protected area. It also appears to support a high diversity of black corals, possibly including undescribed species. “We were only able to do one night dive,” recalls scientist Erika Gress, “but it was one of the best of the whole trip. Many of the marine organisms and invertebrates like shrimps and crabs that use black coral as habitat are more active at night and it was easier see them.”

Future planned expeditions include a study of deep scattering layers led by Professor Andrew Brierley of the University of St Andrews. “Deep scattering layers are almost like an outer space environment,” says Professor Andrew Brierley. “Extraordinary animals hang there in the twilight or total darkness. Lanternfish, for example, with their flashing photophores, wonderful crustaceans and giant shrimp. It will give us a completely new window into an aspect of the world’s ocean that we don’t yet have.”

There is a range of new scientific projects looking for yacht partnerships, including the search for giant manta rays or coral reef ecology post-hurricanes in the Caribbean. You can view some of the live briefs below:

 More detail on the program can be viewed here.

A full selection of the projects can be viewed here.

Olly Hicks calls for more collaboration at Sea Tourism event

“We must be fully awake to the challenges ahead, not least the increasing number of people hungry for a finite amount of resource and the negative impact unmanaged tourism can have on our planets most precious places”

Olly Hicks

Back in early January, Olly Hicks, Executive Director of the Arksen Foundation, spoke at the Economist Sea Tourism event prior to boot Düsseldorf. During the speech he called for a collaborative approach to ensure a sustainable future of sea tourism, and to not close our eyes to the challenges ahead.

“We must also welcome more joined up thinking, innovation and cross fertilisation of ideas. What were once eccentric industries and ideas may now prove critical.”

Olly Hicks
Have you heard about Waterhaul?

As part of the development of the Arksen Foundation projects portfolio, the team have today announced the partnership with Waterhaul, a UK based enterprise which intercepts plastic from our oceans and transforms them into high-quality, functional products. 

The Waterhaul project sits closely with the Arksen Foundation‘s goals in its mission to clear fishing debris from our oceans which are harmful to marine life. Considering that 640,000 tonnes of fishing nets are discarded in the ocean every year, it is not a small task.  

Waterhaul is taking a collaborative approach and working with fishermen, NGOs and community groups to work together to remove the nets from the seas and beaches, either through prevention of them being released in the first place or by the activation of recovery projects. 

It is on this latter aspect that Arksen has joined forces to provide an additional resource to access remote beaches through a project launching in spring this year. To work with local schools and academies to run workshops educating the pupils on the types of plastics recovered in their area to increase engagement with the issue. 

More details about this project will be announced in the coming months.   

New pioneering project developments

With just days to go until the world’s largest boat and water sports fair opens its doors to the public, Arksen is inviting visitors to its official press conference at boot Düsseldorf 2020. A series of project announcements will be made on Saturday 18 January at 10:00CET (local time) at the Arksen stand, in the new location of Hall 7a B24.

A year on from the company’s first introduction to the marine industry at the same show, Arksen is set to present a compilation of exciting new project developments, part of the brand’s three fundamental areas; The Arksen SeriesArksen Foundation and the Arksen Explorers’ Club

A unique, pioneering experiential ownership model, the Arksen Adventure Syndicate will provide a platform to increase access to Arksen’s range of exceptional explorer vessels, encouraging more people to explore the world’s oceans and in turn, create a profound positive impact. This membership will afford families the opportunity to enjoy a shared ownership, alongside other like-minded adventurers, giving them earlier access to life-enhancing experiences, whilst working with Arksen to help change the world through its marine research initiatives.

Visitors attending the show will have the opportunity to sign up to the syndicate at the Arksen stand throughout the week.

Partnering with leading travel and yacht expedition specialists, PELORUS, Arksen will launch a brand-new initiative enabling people to embark on once in a lifetime voyages. The Arksen Explorers Rally powered by PELORUS will provide a number of adventures with the first event scheduled for 2021.

Through the Arksen Explorers Rally, like-minded people will come together to not only challenge themselves but to discover new places by getting off the beaten track, experiencing some of the wilder places the world has to offer. Participants with capable vessels will be provided with all the necessary support and infrastructure to conquer this series of life-enriching expeditions, along with fully-mapped itineraries.

During the Press Conference, record-breaking adventurer, endurance athlete and newly appointed Arksen Foundation Executive Director, Olly Hicks, will introduce the Foundation’s latest campaign, 10% for the Ocean. This pledge, to be taken by the Arksen community, individuals, families and companies, is designed to address a global and systemic problem; that only 1% of all charitable funding goes to supporting ocean-related causes.

“The Arksen project has progressed well since its launch in January 2019 and has been going from strength to strength. The Arksen Foundation and Explorers’ Club have been setting down deep roots and we’re delighted to be returning to boot Düsseldorf to introduce the new developments to the project,” explained Chief Operating Officer, Ewan Hind.

The Arksen team will be on-hand throughout the week, welcoming guests to learn more about the development of the company’s 20-30m range of eco-conscious, hybrid explorer vessels, as well as the latest company updates. To book an appointment with the Arksen team, contact

Follow Arksen on social media: FacebooktwitterInstagram & LinkedIn.

Jasper speaking at the Superyacht Forum

Taken from Superyacht News:

We are delighted to announce that on Monday 18th November at the RAI, Amsterdam, Jasper Smith will open The Superyacht Forum 2019 and inspire over 800 delegates with his invaluable experience as a venture capitalist, investor, technological entrepreneur and advocate of doing things differently with The Arksen Foundation.

In order to build for the next generation, we must seek out role models who have successfully navigated their way through business, to understand the lessons they have learnt along the way, and the ways in which they keep the momentum going when times get tough.

The Superyacht Forum welcomes Arksen founder, Jasper Smith, who will share a personal insight into his career to date, including his motivations to build a new business in the yacht space with sustainability, adventure, and discovery as the project’s DNA. Smith will reveal what he believes is on the horizon for the next generation, as well as what the customers of the future will want from the sea and yachting, and the new type of journey they will be requesting.

“Our mission is to inspire a new generation of explorer, sailor, adventurer and scientist; motivating them to go further, for longer and in support of projects that empower global audiences to better understand, protect and nurture the world’s oceans” – Jasper Smith, Founder – Arksen

SuperyachtNews spoke to Jasper Smith and Ewan Hind (COO – Arksen) about the businesses various updates as we approach and the key goals for the company. “Arksen is a technology and adventure company designing the ultimate marine exploration vessels, with the aim to develop the world’s largest fleet of research capable vessels. Our mission is to inspire a new generation of explorer, sailor, adventurer and scientist; motivating them to go further, for longer and in support of projects that empower global audiences to better understand, protect and nurture the world’s oceans.”

Created out of a deep-rooted commitment to help promote behavioural change in the way that we use and understand the ocean, Arksen places a focus on showing the industry and the world that it is possible to re-think the way we do things, and that holding sustainability and technology at the core of a business is a must if businesses want to be guardians for future generations – a focus that will be explored over the course of the three days at The Superyacht Forum 2019.

When considering our theme for this year’s Forum, Building for the Next Generation, Smith commented, “My children were at the climate protests in London this summer. They, and millions like them around the world, have done a better job at provoking change in the last 12 months than we have done in the last decade. The level of change that we need can only be delivered by governments cooperating unilaterally and globally. But our children are doing a great job at stimulating the debate and communicating. They are a powerful catalyst for change. We should be universally proud of their achievements and rally behind their efforts.

“We feel that owning an Arksen vessel is not a status symbol, but a statement of intent and we are looking to build a like-minded community of owners.” – Jasper Smith, Founder – Arksen

“There are numerous reports released recently that demonstrate…..[Read more here]

Science & Philanthropy

Words by Jasper Smith, Arksen Founder – edited from the speech given at the Explorer Yachts Summit.

The ocean is by far the largest and least understood ecosystem on earth. Scientists believe that over 90% of all ocean species are yet to be discovered. Every second breath we take is generated by the ocean and it lies at the core of the earth’s stability, regulating our weather and absorbing carbon. We, as ocean explorers, have a duty to respect and protect it.

As James Hansen and Al Gore said almost 20 years ago, global warming is an inconvenient and terrible truth. The next 10 years are fundamental to the survival of life on earth as we know it today. Many say that we humans are hard-wired to self-destruct and perhaps we are, but if we don’t accept that premise, immediate and profound behavioural change is required; in the way that we build, operate and consume almost everything around us.

The unrelenting growth of CO2 emissions continues unabated. The rate of emissions is growing not decreasing – and that is happening despite the Paris Agreement and over $1 trillion of investment in carbon curbing initiatives. In the last 100 years, we have released more carbon into the atmosphere than in the previous 2,000 years.

If we carry on, business as usual, we are close to five degrees of warming by the end of the century. We may see over two meters of global sea level rising – the impact of which is hard to predict, but would result in the mass global migration of hundreds of millions of people and possible conflict and war as people struggle to relocate and find shelter and food.

The last five years have ranked as the five warmest for ocean heat. The ocean is absorbing heat 40% faster than previously thought. Between 30% and 60% of all coral reefs have died in the last 100 years. Coral bleaching has risen from 8% to 31% since the 80’s and a failure to achieve the Paris Agreement (2.5C to 3.1C of warming) will result in the near-total loss of coral reefs within 25 years. Not to mention that up to 12.7 million tonnes of plastic waste enter the marine ecosystem annually. This number is rising, not falling.

Time is running out. At the moment 92.6% of the world ocean is unprotected. 91% of all species unknown and 92% of the deep ocean remains unexplored. There is a massive shortage of funding and sea time for scientists to conduct research.

Philanthropy is perhaps the most powerful tool on the planet to help solve this issue.

Some of our greatest achievements have been delivered through philanthropy, and none more significant than the core science that sits behind the analysis of global warming, was funded and generated, initially at least, through scientific philanthropy 30 years ago.

Slowing the climate crisis requires immediate behavioural change but it also requires massive scientific investment and technical innovation. To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 it has been estimated that it will cost $7 trillion. After government commitments, there is a $2.5 trillion funding gap.

The charitable sector raises about $410 billion per year and generates non-profit revenues of around $2 trillion. So, conceptually we have the funds, but only 3% of those funds are currently directed at environmental and climate science.

Philanthropy has been, and can be a powerful tool for change but, the ocean remains the least funded of all the Sustainable Development Goals, receiving less than 1% of philanthropic funding since 2009. Majority of which is coming from only 20 foundations.

My children were recently at the climate protests in London. They, and millions like them around the world, have done a better job at provoking change in the last 12 months than we have done in the last decade.

The level of change that we need can only be delivered by governments cooperating unilaterally and globally. But our children are doing a great job at stimulating the debate and communicating. They are a powerful catalyst for change. We should be universally proud of their achievements and rally behind their efforts.

One of the most positive impacts so far is that governments are engaging (the UK has recently declared that we are in a climate crisis and that its carbon target is ‘net zero’ greenhouse gases by 2050). But, let’s make no mistake there are some very significant challenges ahead – and this industry – (the marine industry) like all industries – but perhaps more so – needs to adopt profound behavioural change immediately.

As David Attenborough said, “What we did to save the whales, we must now do for all nature, and that is a communications challenge, as much as it is a scientific one.”

Looking out over the ocean it is impossible to ignore its connectedness; to land and to ourselves, to our wellbeing and that of the planet. As Richard Branson said, “There is no ocean B.” It is the foundation for all life on earth and how we use, understand and preserve the oceans over the next decade will determine the future of humanity over the next millennia or more.

Be part of the change

This is why we have set up the Arksen Foundation as a platform for research, conservation and creativity in support of:

Through our foundation we provide project funding, sea time on Arksen and associated vessels and media production, storytelling and marketing expertise to help research and science projects, education and exploration or sport with purpose. 

Our Foundation acts as the hub for our community, bonding owners and users, researchers and creatives through a common set of beliefs. We require all owners to sign up to at least 10% of their vessel’s sea time to be dedicated to the Arksen Foundation and the projects it supports.

Our vessels are not just about the hybrid systems, efficient hulls or solar capacity. Or about the lifecycle management of our yards and products or the new ownership model. It’s about creating a purpose to an owner’s experience through philanthropy and a contribution to science.

Our work is to change the existing paradigms of luxury travel, by facilitating more mindful explorations and ensuring collaboration between owners, scientists, ocean advocates and activists. It is changing the meaning of owning a boat from a self-serving endeavour to a powerful statement of intent to use these vessels to drive behavioural change.

As David Attenborough said “I’ve always believed that few people will protect the natural world, if they don’t first love and understand it.”

The good news. 

We are adventurers and explorers working with some of the most sophisticated people on the planet. We have time, and I hope, the motivation to drive the profound behavioural change required to win this battle.

There are wonderful signs of progress. A new report suggests that evolution may yet save our coral reefs, we can stem climate change and the global population is now awake and motivated. If we work together, we can raise philanthropic funding and provide a true research platform that will fundamentally improve our knowledge and empower better decision making.

Help us discover projects that will make a difference. Despite the challenges, there has never been a better time to act. We have 10 years.

Let me leave you with this wonderful quote from Judith Rodin, president of The Rockefeller Foundation.

“In the last century, philanthropy changed the world in ways many thought never possible. Our capacity to create transformative change has never been greater. We have more resources, more connections, more possibilities than ever before. And by leveraging the explosive capabilities of new technology, we have the power to ensure that diverse voices are included in solving the problems that humanity will face over the next 100 years. This is our opportunity, our obligation, our moment, and I have every confidence that together we will rise to meet it.”


Our Shared Seas 2019 / CEA Consulting / Lucile Packard Foundation

Arksen Foundation

There is more to Arksen than just the range of Exceptional Explorer Vessels. The Arksen Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation that provides project funding, facilitates cutting-edge scientific research and creates new media through the application of dynamic and innovative technology to inspire a greater understanding of, and a positive impact on, the ocean eco system. Find out more here.