Blue Ocean Watch (BOW) is a Scottish based non-profit organization committed to protecting and promoting our planet’s most valuable asset: water.

Our team consists of world class research scientists in oceanography and marine biology, award-winning filmmakers and writers, and specialists in digital technology, 360° and extended time-lapse filming, media and education.


Corals support about 25% of marine life and fisheries depend on the reefs for up to 40% of the catch globally. Coral reefs are places for fish to breed, feed, grow, and live.

Coral reefs absorb an average of 97% of wave energy and therefore naturally protect coasts from storms and tropical cyclones by reducing the impact of large waves before they reach the shore.

Every year, eco-tourists spend over $30 billion in tourism dollars visiting coral reefs and the communities that surround them.

Climate change is putting coral’s future in danger along with the millions of species that inhabit the reefs and the half a billion people who rely on reef fish for food. The warming of the ocean has led to coral bleaching and the destruction of coral habitats all across the planet.

Over 50% of the world’s coral reefs have died in the last 30 years and it’s estimated that without significant action, 90% of reefs will be dead by 2050.

Watch your coral grow

BOW will install video cameras on the reef sending live video 24/7 back to TV monitors in the client’s office or boardroom.

BOW will cost effectively analyse, plan, restore, and protect a coral ecosystem. Our scientists establish the condition of the reef then decide on the correct strategy.
Every reef is different and requires specific coral species that will survive rising sea temperatures and the variation of acidity. Appropriate growing and planting techniques are chosen that maximise reef recovery.
For instance, for slow growing corals, advanced micro fragmentation techniques are used that stimulate coral growth at 25 – 50 times the normal growth rate.
As well as producing time-lapse videos of the growing coral, these monitors will also be linked to the time-laps and progress videos being produced.

Heading up all BOW initiatives is Professor Alex Moore, our chief climate change scientist with Harvard University.

Leading the coral growing and restoration are Dr. Sebastien Hennige and Professor Murray Roberts, experts on tropical and cold-water coral reefs, both with Edinburgh University.

Our partners Operation Wallacea (OpWall) headed up by Dr. Dan Exton, provide and supervise PhD students to run all site operations.

OpWall is allied to countless universities worldwide.

Research is supported by three types of students:

  • SCHOOLS – groups of 16-18-year-old school students from thirty-five countries, led by their teachers, who are generally studying biology, geography or environmental science.
  • RESEARCH ASSISTANTS – university students who join to get broad experience in field research.
  • DISSERTATIONS – university students who join to collect data for their undergraduate of masters level dissertation/thesis projects.

Sponsor a reef … and watch your coral grow.

The Mesoamerican Reef in Honduras is the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere and is in dire need of help.

Coral View reef, part of the Mesoamerican Reef, on Utila Island in Honduras is an excellent site. It’s in need of restoration and has a great deal of research history. The sponsor’s stretch of reef will have fixed quadrats to facilitate the measure of its progress by comparisons at different times. It’s also manageable and surveyable during a dive and will contain some charismatic coral stations.

Cameras will be placed along the section to also include time-laps photography to condense time and show the restoration evolution over months and years.

The sponsor will have a dedicated camera placed on their section of the reef with a live video link to a TV monitor in their boardroom, office or home. This monitor will also have access to the documentaries, progress videos and time-laps films produced on the reef.

Educational research platform

As well as restoring the coral, a database and interactive website will be produced of all coral growing and restoration along the reef for the use of students at all levels anywhere in the world. They will have access to on-site instruments measuring, salinity, sea temperature, PH, currents, light absorption, tides and meteorological conditions.
A remotely controlled 360º VR camera on a U/W drone is also being developed which can also be controlled by the student.

The website will also allow interactive communication between students and the onsite teams. The database will gradually include more and more information from other reefs for comparisons.

This takes “online learning” out of the range of passive consumption (e.g. videos, remote lectures, electronic examination etc.) and into to the vibrant world of real field research.

The result is a dynamic, custom research platform that makes science come alive!



The BOW Philosophy

Blue Ocean Watch began life as a rallying call to arms amongst a group of filmmakers and scientists who were united in a deep passion for engaging with and ultimately seeking ways to resolve the precipitous situation the planet’s oceans face due to decades of pollution, overfishing and dumping of waste.

BOW is a formally established non-profit association consisting of award-winning filmmakers and writers, vastly experienced sailors and explorers alongside world class research scientists in oceanography, marine biology, technology and education. All are seeking to create and support the BOW online platform which acts as the portal for oceanic and marine research to reach educational institutes and social media, to translate complicated scientific endeavours into understandable, actionable, accessible information. Due to the diversity of our contributors, the resources of scientific knowledge and data that we will accumulate over time will be unparalleled.

BOW is not simply a platform for distribution, but it will actively encourage and foster a dialogue and interaction with its audience, for example enabling university students to talk live with on-board scientists and also remotely operate probes and measuring instruments on the boats.

Our objective

At no other times in man’s history have we been so well equipped to document and communicate our scientific observations, activities and findings. Blue Ocean Watch will take you beneath the waves to explore this special environment, this extraordinary world. Through the eyes of marine biologists, oceanographers, palaeontologists, and maritime biochemists, we will see this submarine world in a new way. Not alien, but familiar. Not hostile, but intrinsic to our survival. Historically, research scientists have mainly worked alone within their own agenda unable to benefit from a wider sharing of their results with other scientists – until now.

Education is a free right

BOW’s goal is to research, produce and deliver engaging educational pathways from pre-school to postgraduate studies that will be delivered free of charge to any educational institution.

Our educational videos, documentary films and social media postings will cover every aspect of our ocean’s health.

Acting for a living science

There are other tremendous philanthropic and government sponsored projects creating amazing media material and scientific insights – we intend to partner with many of them – however, what is missing currently is a co-ordinated, dedicated organisation whose central aim is to take this material and provide an education-focused distribution platform for its dissemination truly worldwide and actively engaging with those who matter most in education, the teachers and their students. Science seems to have lost its identity of discovery through adventure, while cold sterile laboratories are not inspiring or engaging. We need to rekindle this spirit of adventure in science, to make children want to tune in to what’s happening. Sailing ships, free, under sail on the ocean, is as much a symbol of adventure as it is a marine research facility. It is the focus of our foundation, its identity, and it will inspire students to participate in our work. It will help make education active, living and exciting exploration instead of a passive assimilation of data.

Green tech in operation

Everywhere the vessels dock will give occasions for scientific events, increasing awareness of our work. Students will be able to participate in research on board, bringing their studies to life in a life-changing experience. Our sailing vessels, as working facilities have minimal carbon footprints so our platform presents itself clearly as part of the solution and not a part of the problem. It showcases green tech in operation in the real world on a daily basis. Theory put into practice. The Blue Ocean Watch boats also afford us an unparalleled level of autonomy, where we can study what we want where we want without the possible constraints of another organisation’s agenda or the special interests of their funding stream.


Having UNESCO as our partner provides BOW an unprecedented worlwide network of educational institutions across more than a hundred of countries.

BOW’s goal is to research, produce and deliver engaging educational institution.

Our educational videos, documentary film and social media posting will cover every aspect of our ocean’s health.

We are truly global organisation with a growing fleet of sailing research vessels with onboard scientists, video production facilities below deck, underwater film teams, the latest technology including drones, ROVs, 360 degree and fluorescent cameras.

"I am pleased that the IOC - UNESCO and Blue Ocean Watch have found each other and I can see clear benefits in our collaboration. It is clear that we are embarking on the same endeavour and we cannot miss the opportunity to cooperate and leverage our district and complementarity competencies to achieve our common goals. We look forward to working with Blue Ocean Watch!"
Francesca Santoro
Program Specialist, IOC - UNESCO


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