Dec 14, 2020

“This donation (to help purchase MAKO) made a long-time wish come true.”

Pascal van Erp, the Diving Coordinator at Healthy Seas in the interview: insights on their first official recovery boat MAKO

to read

Can you give a quick background on this new boat, MAKO, and why you picked it?

With MAKO, it was love at first sight! During our operations, Ghost Diving volunteers are required to jump off and get back on the boat, so we were looking for a catamaran because this type of boat is very stable.  All other boats we found on the market didn’t even come close to MAKO.

How long has Healthy Seas wanted its own boat?

This donation made a long-time wish come true. We knew that having our own boat would make planning our cleanup operations easier but it was an investment we were not ready to make. The MAKO will bring our work to the next level.

How significant is MAKO to Healthy Sea’s long-term mission?

Till now, we chartered boats for our cleanup operations. Besides being costly, booking charters is very complicated due to the limited availability of North Sea charters in The Netherlands. Because of the unpredictable weather conditions in the North Sea, having our own boat means that we are now free to schedule our operations, even in the last minute. With MAKO we are more flexible.

"The first priority however is always safety."

Pascal van Erp, Diving Coordinator at Healthy Seas.

How is a ghost net recovery boat different from a regular boat?

The ideal boat for our operations needs to be well equipped with ample space for the technical divers and for temporary storage of the collected fishing gear. On top of that, the boat must have 2 engines and be relatively fast since our projects take us far away from the coast. The first priority however is always safety.

What came to your mind when you first saw MAKO in person?

It was bigger than we thought, which was a good thing. Other than that, she was exactly as we expected! The process went through to select the MAKO was very thorough and the cooperation of the previous owner was excellent.  It was obvious she had been well looked after in previous years.

What are the key things to look out for when inspecting MAKO?

The state of maintenance, overall optical condition of the ship including all equipment on board. Then the safety materials such as 2 life rafts and 12 life vests. In addition, we naturally wanted to see and hear the engines, they are also in top condition as expected since they have relatively little running hours (1800 each engine). Overall, everything above was what we could check when MAKO was in the water. The rest could be done when she was out of the water in The Netherlands.

At this stage we’re working on typical maintenance jobs like engines, batteries, cleaning and some modifications as we need to be able to use it like we want. All small changes actually - it goes from replacing the UK 220v wall outlets to EU variants to modifying the outside divers-bench a little bit to create more space and make room for diving suits to dry properly. After that, and after the whole boat is clean from all old stickers, we can start with the redesign.

Pascal van Erp

Diving Coordinator at Healthy Seas.

What is the plan for MAKO’s first recovery mission? When and where?

That would be an easy decision! During the previous diving season, we surveyed several shipwrecks and located a large amount of ghost nets. We are going to target one of these wrecks to remove the enormous net that covers it. It’ll be in the North Sea at an unidentified shipwreck laying at 25 meters depth. We have no information about the approximate date since that all depends on the work being done on the MAKO and of course, the weather.


What’s your vision for Healthy Seas with MAKO?

Having MAKO means that Healthy Seas will become more efficient in our operations in the North Sea and increase the number of diving trips per year significantly. More than that, we can expand our awareness raising and educational events by organizing small workshops on board. We look forward to welcoming DWS staff on board as well!

What are the next steps for Healthy Seas?

Healthy Seas activities have the potential to be expanded and replicated more widely. Now, thanks to MAKO, we made a big step in this direction. We can expand geographically and intensify our activities at the same time: Ghost Diving volunteers can do more surveys and sea cleanups and this boat will also be used for educational and awareness raising purposes.

CIO View