Headed Off On Our Ocean Research Ship the Bold!

I’m not sure why, but getting on this ship always makes me smile. Maybe it’s the familiar faces among the crew that I’m lucky enough to see every so often, the feeling of the ship when it’s underway, or the smell of Amanda’s cooking. Surely it’s a combination, but above all else, I know the underlying reason this beautiful ship makes me so happy – the sheer fact that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has it to learn more about our world.

Of all U.S. vessels and ships supporting our missions worldwide, this one of ours isn’t gray, anymore. The OSV Bold is bright blue with a proud green, blue and white sash down the bow. This is no ordinary ship.

Today, ferries full of Boston tourists have passed us and I can’t help but wonder what they’re thinking as we wave back and forth.

Just heard a horn blast from the Coast Guard station; we’re off! The tone is serious, but excited as crew members untie and Captain Jere heads up to the bridge.

It’s all for science. This is all to have a better understanding of the
impacts we’ve had on our oceans and coastal environment.

These impacts aren’t just from activities on the water, they’re mostly from what we do far, far away on land. Rainwater and storm runoff carries pollution from our roads and paved areas to rivers and coasts. That pollution can be found miles offshore. It’s not the most beautiful topic, but our sewage ends up out here too. Treatment helps, but it doesn’t make elements of it disappear.

How much can the environment take? Well it varies.  For a long time, dilution was the solution, but our oceans are only so big. The life they support, which we treasure so deeply, can only take so much.

Today through early Thursday of next week (August 11) follow my updates about our trip. Ask questions here or reply to our tweets while I’ve got the ear of some of our best scientists.

At the very least we hope to give you an idea of why we feel this work is so important.

About the author: Jeanethe Falvey, U.S. EPA Office of External Affairs,
Washington D.C. Based in Boston, Massachusetts.