eXXpedition Round Britain 2017

Circumnavigation of British Isles by sail, trawling for plastics and toxics, raising awareness of ocean plastics pollution in 7 shore stops

£9,502 raised of £10,000 target 95 %
137 supporters 8 days left
This project will only be funded if at least £10,000 is pledged by 5:15pm 1st July 2017

The problem of marine plastic pollution

Microbeads in toiletries, cosmetics and cleaning products, single-use packaging, water bottles, nurdles, persistent organic pollutants found in most everyday products are devastating in their effects on oceans, ecosystems, aquatic life, mammals – and us.

"In the ocean, plastic debris injures and kills fish, seabirds and marine mammals. Marine plastic pollution has impacted at least 267 species worldwide, including 86% of all sea turtle species, 44% of all seabird species and 43% of all marine mammal species. The impacts include fatalities as a result of ingestion, starvation, suffocation, infection, drowning, and entanglement."

We are building on this growing awareness by researching and publicising what is to be found in the waters closest to our home in the British Isles, where we swim, surf, sail, snorkel and fish.

eXXpedition Round Britain 2017

Our project will

  • Highlight the extent of the pollution all around the UK through sampling
  • Highlight how purchases of single-use or unnecessary plastics contribute to the problem
  • Provide opportunities for discussion of purchasing choices with communities around Britain, connecting to personal and environmental health and to disposal and recycling
  • Connect with NGOs and community groups to join up dots and support each others campaign goals to STOP OCEAN PLASTIC
  • Provide opportunities to discuss devolved policies with UK governments


We sail from Plymouth on 8th August on Sea Dragon, a 72 ft yacht equipped for scientific research. Over 30 days we will carry out the first continuous trawl for plastics and toxics in UK waters sailing over 2000 miles of the UK coastline. Our voyage takes us into the heart of the four UK capitals, as well as Arran, in the Clyde, and Stornoway.

Sailing into each capital city draws attention to individual national policy-making roles. We will talk to politicians and media, and involve the public in seeing our trawl results, engaging with these under-researched and under-talked about issues. We will link this plastics sampling to narratives of ecosystem and personal health and the products we consume.

Our activities

Onshore activities in every port will include citizen science workshops, film screenings, school visits, creative art and storytelling events, beach cleans, engagement with local academic communities, campaigning community groups and local politicians and media.

Part of global scientific studies

Data from our manta trawling and beach surveys & clean up activities will be fed into wider global 'Citizen science' studies. Water samples will be collected and analysed for the presence of toxics and microplastics by Dr Jenna Jambeck, University of Georgia, a leading authority on marine debris reaching the oceans worldwide and crew member on eXXpedition Atlantic 2014. We are also collaborating with Professor Richard Thompson at Plymouth University for sample analysis. 

What we will do

  • bring together an all-women crew – scientists, artists, journalists, businesswomen, filmmakers, activists and educators – to create a Round Britain story about women in science, research, sailing and adventure.
  • add data and footage to the worldwide data set on plastics and toxics in the ocean, especially around Britain.
  • engage with communities through public workshop, giving information about the implications of ocean pollution, from making everyday choices to political action for a cleaner, healthier environment.
  • participate in beach clean ups and arrange series of public events to showcase the issue.
  • broaden awareness of the unseen - plastics and toxics; disease; women as changemakers.


Activities in each port

Plymouth - 7th August 2017

  • Launch reception hosted by Plymouth University
  • Launch of the month long project researching plastic debris in the harbour
  • beach clean

Cardiff - August 10th and 11th

  • Storytelling evening with Sea Dragon crew
  • film showing
  • launch dwrdimplastig
  • Kids against Plastic event - youth education outreach

Belfast - August 14th and 15th

  • Interactive displays, both science and creative art, venues near Harbour Marina
  • beach clean
  • meetings with media and politicians

Arran - August 17th

  • Beach clean up with project partners COAST
  • Storytelling and music event: Women and the Sea at the PHT
  • High School visit - scientific work in labs
  • Interactive workshop with microscopes and creative work with plastics at Lifeboat Station, Lamlash
  • Kids against Plastic event - youth education outreach
  • meetings with politicians and media

Stornoway - August 21st

  • beach cleaning
  • interactive workshops and displays at An Lanntair Arts Centre, Stornoway
  • storytelling evening - at An Lanntair

Edinburgh - August 25th and 26th

  • Reception at Holyrood 12.30 - 2.30, 25/8
  • Interactive display at Ocean Terminal Shopping Centre with Leith Labs
  • Kids against Plastic event with Leith Labs - youth education outreach
  • Arts and science immersive event  at ASCUS labs
  • Beach cleans with Marine Conservation Society

London - 29th August until 1st September 2017

  • Sea Dragon sails up the Thames and through Tower Bridge to City Hall
  • Fish survey on slack tide
  • Kids against Plastic event on Pier house - youth education outreach
  • Flotsam weaving workshop with renowned artist Jo Atherton
  • Welcome reception on Tower Pier at Totally Thames festival 
  • Sea Dragon open day for public viewing
  • Storytelling event at Greenwich Maritime Museum
  • Artist Maria Arceo installation with plastic recovered from the Thames tide line

Plymouth -  4th September

  • Return to harbour
  • Beach Clean
  • Assessment of a month's worth of waste collected in Plymputh harbour during the Round Britain circumnavigation and creation of unique artwork
  • Film showing

Disclaimer: Events and timings subject to change. 

Lets change policy!

Long-term change requires action at all levels, personal, local and political, from consumer decisions to local policies and national policy changes. This voyage will speak to people in ways that engage at all these levels, by giving information, inspiration and encouragement.

Next steps

After the voyage we will continue our engagement with the issues, now armed with the story of our voyage, with film, photographs, writings, artwork and blogs – and with data. The 24 adventurous women from all backgrounds who have cared enough to make this voyage, on one, two or three legs, will be eXXpedition Ocean Ambassadors, carrying back an experience that will have changed them forever.

Don't worry - you are not funding a holiday!

The funding raised through this initiative will be used directly for public outreach and engagement in the series of ports we will be visiting.  Your generous support will help us cover the costs of venues, travel costs for land-based support, materials for activities like the beach clean-ups, and science equipment. None of the funding from this crowdfunding initiative goes towards the costs of crew members onboard the vessel or the vessel operating costs (these are covered personally by the participants themselves). 


OUR fabulous REWARDS

Example of the plastic debris art to be used on eXXpedition customised products

 More pictures coming soon!


This project has been approved for funding through the Heritage + The Crowd match funding. It has received a bridge of 50% towards its fundraising target from the Heritage Lottery Fund.