The social enterprise Sea Ranger Service has successfully recruited the UK’s first Sea Rangers: young people who will be given the chance of a lifetime — a paid position on a sailing work boat, working to protect the environment whilst gaining invaluable work experience. 

The Sea Ranger Service, which has already seen success in collaboration with the governments in the Netherlands and France, has set out to restore 1 million hectares of ocean biodiversity by 2040 whilst training 20,000 young people towards a maritime career. 

The project is now underway in the UK, working with The Crown Estate to support its programme of environmental surveys as it prepares to lease three areas of seabed off the coast of Wales and South West England for new floating windfarms. 

An initial eight young adults from the UK have now been selected following an intense bootcamp run by veterans of the Royal Navy, in which they were tested on their motivation, teamwork skills and learning abilities. 

The recruits graduated at an official launch event last Friday (May 3rd) in Port Talbot before their training gets underway. Their first sail date will be May 17th.

We went along to meet the magnificent eight aboard their new home, Fantastiko.NL. We also spoke to Dan Benham Head of Communications for the Sea Ranger Service.


The choice to focus the recruitment in Port Talbot is no coincidence.

Wietse van der Werf, Founder and CEO of the Sea Ranger Service told us…..

“We are proud to bring these new green jobs to Port Talbot, where anticipated scaling back of the steel works operation will see job cuts within the community. These first Sea Rangers have undergone a rigorous bootcamp to get to this point and their hard work really starts now. They are thrilled to be setting sail in May and kickstarting their maritime careers.” 

The Crown Estate, which manages the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland, has set out ambitious plans for a new generation of floating windfarms in the Celtic Sea, off the coast of South Wales and South West England. With the potential to produce enough renewable energy for more than 4 million homes, it is set to be one of the biggest schemes of its kind in the world. 

In order to help de-risk the opportunity for developers and accelerate the deployment of the new wind farms, The Crown Estate is conducting a multi-million programme of surveys to better understand the physical and environmental properties of the seabed around the areas where the new wind farms will be located. 

Working in partnership with The Crown Estate, to supplement these surveys, the Sea Ranger Service will be working out at sea to monitor sea birds and other marine animals in the Celtic Sea. They will receive training from The Crown Estate and its specialist contractors, helping them learn best practice for observation, monitoring, recording and data processing. 

Sea Rangers get the opportunity to transition into a full-time seafaring career after six months. Researchers found that young people growing up in rural and coastal regions are half as likely to go to university and twice as likely to give up pursuing aspirational careers as those in city and suburban areas. 

Sea Rangers training in Port Talbot

Two of the new recruits, who grew up in Port Talbot, are excited to set sail. 

Selina Rees, one of the selected Sea Rangers who joined the programme to work on protecting the ocean environment, said……

“This is such an amazing opportunity. I have not seen jobs like this before, where I get a full salary for sailing out to sea and protecting our oceans. I can’t wait for May 17.” 

Andrew Barry, another selected Sea Ranger who previously served in the Army, said….

“I am used to the discipline and structure which Sea Rangers need too. Now I can use my skills to make a difference and help protect our UK seas. It’s a dream come true”. 

The Sea Ranger Service first launched in 2016 in the Netherlands to support the government with the management and restoration of oceans while offering young people, particularly those in coastal regions, a unique start to their careers. Since its launch, the organisation has already had over 170 young people participating in its work in the Netherlands and France. 

Rebecca Williams, Director for Wales at The Crown Estate told us….

“Everything we do at The Crown Estate is about laying the foundations for a brighter future for future generations, whether that’s our work to catalyse the UK’s transition away from fossil fuels, creating thriving communities or supporting nature recovery. 

It is these future generations that will truly reap the rewards from the growth of offshore wind, We know how vital it is to build new skills and inspire more young people into green careers, and we look forward to be working with the next generation of the maritime workforce who share our passion for protecting and enhancing the marine environment.” 

The work of Sea Rangers includes climate research, restoring seagrass, monitoring Marine Protected Areas and using drones and underwater robots to collect data on the ocean environment. All of which are essential for protecting our oceans, which are vital for our existence as they generate the majority of the oxygen we breathe, help regulate climate, and are home to much of the Earth’s biodiversity. The Sea Ranger Service carries out these assignments for government agencies.

For more details, go HERE.