About Us

OceansWatch North America works with sailors, divers, scientists and the public to help island coastal communities conserve their marine environments, develop sustainable livelihoods and gain access to primary education. 

Our vision

We envision a world with...

Healthy oceans and reef ecosystems, with high levels of biodiversity and resiliency, able to support coastal communities and people that depend on the ocean for their livelihood. 

Sustainable island communities who use ocean and other resources responsibly, monitor fish populations and reef health, and can comfortably maintain their way of life. 

Access to primary education for all children in coastal communities, including environmental education about the importance of protecting the oceans. 

A conscientious sailing/yachting and diving community who take precautions to minimize their impact on the marine environment, and who are willing to assist with humanitarian and conservation projects during their travels.


OceansWatch International began working in the Pacific in 2007, when it was established by Chris Bone, the director of OceansWatch New Zealand, along with Donna Lange, a solo circumnavigator with a like vision, with a group of concerned sailors and environmentalists.  They saw an opportunity for yachts traveling the world's oceans to give something back to the islanders whose homes and reefs they visited.

Donna Lange met Chris in New Zealand halfway through her solo sail around the world and has been involved since the early stages of the organization. When she returned to the United States, she brought her vision to bring the skills and passion of the sailing community to the aid of island communities back with her.  A Board of Directors was formed to set up a North America branch of OceansWatch.

OceansWatch North America has projects run primarily by members in the Bahamas, mainland Haiti and Il à Vache, La Gonave, the Dominican Republic, and Trinidad. We hope to expand into other locations throughout the Caribbean and Central America as well as the west coast of the US in the near future.  Learn more on our projects map.

To see a map of our project locations worldwide, click here.

How It Works

OWNA is a 501c3 non-profit organization with a Board of Directors to oversee management. We are an independent organization partnering with OW international to pursue a shared mission.

Above photo: Donna Lange, executive director of OWNA, with Pam Solomon, Executive Director of Good Samaritan Foundation of Haiti, the Business Women's Group in Ile A Vache, and the Committee to Develop Ile La Vache


OceansWatch 2019

OceansWatch North America has pursued a vision to create IT solutions to creating a hub of information and interaction for cruisers and professionals working in island coastal communities to engage in volunteer opportunities and develop sustainable projects primarily supporting local communities to develop their own future sustainable coastal community needs and environment.

We have participated helping yachts to aid after disasters; the 2010 Earthquake in Haiti, Hurricane IRMA, and now after Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas.



Our role is a supportive role engaging OWNA member yachts as well as any other yacht to participate in volunteer opportunities. We are actively working with local communities via our OWNA Virtual Badge App that allows remote members to feedback valuable information in the areas they are sailing as well as engage in Citizen Research of Marine Conservation Projects; Sargasso Weed, Mammal, Birding, Plastics and trash Surveys along their cruising itineraries.

We are working to promote Volunteer opportunities in a new sponsored relationship with Water Way guide to provide an interactive mapping interface for cruisers to locate volunteer opportunities and plan to volunteer, to fill out a Volunteer Now reservation form.

Oceanswatch 2020

We have new sponsors on board. Virtual Badge sponsored by Disaster Solutions, Eagles Wings Pathfinders First Responders is behind our new APP for data gathering for analysis and coordination of efforts worldwide.

Global Marine Networks/ Pivotel has been sponsoring OW for 10 years and has sponsored both of the solo circumnavigations of our Chairmen of the Board: Donna Lange. Working with VB they have provided the technology for onboard Satellite systems to be able to download the OWNA APP data with very little data use.

WaterWay Guide is the industry standard for providing vetted Navigational Aids to Mariners, as well as the most thorough Guide to Marinas, services, and activities surrounding the Cruising Lifestyle on the Waterways of the US, Cuba, and the Bahamas, reaching farther. They have leant their software expertise to put Cruising With A Cause on their MAP… Providing an incredible interactive medium for cruisers to discover volunteer opportunities along their cruising itineraries.

Via the WaterWay Guide, Volunteer opportunities are easy identify. Booking a reservation to help is as easy as filling out a Reservation on our website… Once in motion, the OWNA App provides continual feedback from volunteers as well as the organizations requesting volunteers on the ground.

Come Join OWNA and Cruise With A Cause! Click here to join

OceansWatch North America | 39 State Street | Bristol, RI