Oceanic Society

Creating a more Oceanic Society since 1969

Mission

Oceanic Society works to improve ocean health by deepening the connections between people and nature to address the root cause of its decline: human behavior.

Ruling year info

1990

CEO and President

Roderic B. Mast

Main address

P.O. BOX 844

Ross, CA 94957 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

94-3105570

NTEE code info

Wildlife Preservation/Protection (D30)

Natural Resource Conservation and Protection (C30)

Marine Science and Oceanography (U21)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Oceans generate more than half of our atmosphere's oxygen, regulate the world's weather patterns, and provide immeasurable financial, inspirational, and aesthetic benefits to people. Yet oceans are facing increasing species and habitat loss, pollution, climate change, overfishing, and diminished ecosystem resiliency, all of which are moving us towards a tipping point from which humans and many other species will likely be unable to recover. All of these threats can ultimately be traced to one root cause: human behavior. Simply put, people put too much into and take too much out of the oceans. Oceanic Society works to identify and shift human behaviors that detrimentally affect ocean health at all levels: from corporate board rooms to household habits.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

State of the World's Sea Turtles (SWOT)

Through the SWOT Program, Oceanic Society supports local sea turtle conservation efforts around the world by partnering with hundreds of individuals and institutions to improve sea turtle science, set priorities for research and conservation, and provide needed resources to conservation projects.

SWOT is a partnership among Oceanic Society, the IUCN-SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group, Duke University's OBIS-SEAMAP, and a growing network of devoted conservationists. This powerful group—the SWOT Team—works to compile and publish global sea turtle data that support conservation and management efforts at the international, national, and local scales. These data reside within the SWOT database, which is continually updated and made publicly available. It is widely used by researchers, conservationists, students and teachers, funding agencies, and government officials.

Each year Oceanic Society publishes a new volume of The SWOT Report, an award-winning magazine designed to channel the SWOT Team's collective power by highlighting its success stories, innovations, and new findings. SWOT Report is distributed back to the SWOT Team members around the world who helped create it, free of charge, for use in their own local outreach campaigns in communities where sea turtles occur. For more information visit https://www.seaturtlestatus.org.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Adolescents

The myriad causes of declining ocean health are diverse and difficult to quantify. Yet they all share a common cause: human behaviors.

The Blue Habits program aims to develop and test tools and approaches that deliver measurable pro-ocean behavioral outcomes to a variety of audiences, and make those tools and approaches widely available. Blue Habits is grounded in the behavioral sciences, and draws on social science research, design, and technology to create systems that can change individual human behaviors.

OS's initial audience is the nature-based tourism industry, a powerful and yet vastly underused platform for motivating pro-ocean behavior change, and an industry in which Oceanic Society has been a leader since 1972. OS's goal is to innovate, test, and refine a scalable approach to pro-ocean behavior change among nature-based tourists and to promote its adoption by travel operators worldwide, thereby reaching and engaging millions of people.

We are currently working in partnership with Stanford University and an international network of nature-based travel operators to innovate, develop, refine, and scale ideas that will deliver these outcomes.In the future, we will work to adapt this methodology to target consumers in a wider variety of contexts, and to scale Blue Habits through strategic partnerships.

For more information, visit https://www.bluehabits.org/

Population(s) Served
Adults

Oceanic Society Expeditions, which are offered in over 15 countries, strive to facilitate meaningful, life-changing experiences for our travelers—ones that will inspire them to become more intimately involved in conservation long after the expedition is over.

Oceanic Society Expeditions support local conservation, research, and community development efforts that serve to underpin long-term sustainable relationships between people and the oceans in the countries we visit.

Travelers participating in Oceanic Society Expeditions become active participants in OS's global effort to build a healthy future for the oceans. OS believes that responsibly-conducted nature tourism can help safeguard natural areas by contributing financially to conservation and inspiring lasting commitments to conservation among travelers.

Learn more at https://www.oceanicsociety.org/expeditions

Population(s) Served
Adults
Young adults

Whale watching played an important role in helping society transition away from whaling. Starting in the early 1970s OS was among the first organizations to promote and lead whale watching trips in the San Francisco Bay Area - an effort that continues to this day.

Today, participation in OS Whale Watches attracts both locals and international travelers alike, and helps fund OS's global ocean conservation programs and local programs, including whale entanglement response. Moreover, OS uses Whale Watch cruises as an opportunity to collect photographic identification data on whales, which are shared with a network of researchers throughout the eastern Pacific.

OS Whale Watches also help transport biologists and staff members to and from the Farallon Islands in support of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Point Blue Conservation Science. Learn more at https://www.oceanicsociety.org/whale-watching

Population(s) Served
Adults
Adolescents

The Captain Roger Thomas Scholarship Fund (CRTSF) aims to give life-changing first-hand experiences seeing (and hearing) Pacific humpback whales to groups and individuals in the San Francisco Bay area that otherwise might not have the opportunity to do so. Through such experiences, the CRTSF contributes to Oceanic Society's larger efforts to improve ocean health by deepening the connection between people and nature to address the root cause of its decline—human behavior. Learn more at https://www.oceanicsociety.org/projects/roger-thomas-fund

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
People with disabilities

OS provides administrative services and fiscal sponsorship to multiple projects that align with and advance OS's mission.
California Whale Rescue organizes and unifies the whale entanglement response network in California by disseminating best practices and working with stakeholders to reduce entanglements through gear modification, training, and education. Learn more at https://www.oceanicsociety.org/projects/california-whale-rescue.
The Drifters Project works to mobilize individuals and communities across the globe to recognize, remediate, and prevent plastic pollution through beach cleaning, education, and large-scale art production. Learn more at https://www.oceanicsociety.org/projects/drifters-project

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

At Oceanic Society, we believe there is a need to go beyond education and awareness-building to motivate and amplify measurable behavior change to conserve the oceans. Our diverse portfolio of initiatives is geared towards bridging what we see as a large gap between awareness of marine conservation issues and tangible pro-ocean behavior.

Through our Expeditions and California Whale Watch programs, we bring people into direct contact with nature and the oceans with the goal of positively influencing their environmental behavior post-travel. We view these programs and the global network of connections they represent as invaluable platforms for testing, refining, and amplifying the results of our organization-wide “Blue Habits” initiative.

Our State of the World’s Sea Turtles (SWOT) Program acts as a convener and a unifying force in one of the most active, ardent, and conservation-focused scientific communities in the world. It aims to ultimately bring data-driven solutions to decision makers that influence major threats to ocean wildlife and ecosystems. SWOT operates on the principle that sea turtles are a charismatic species threatened by choices that we all make as individuals. They are flagships for ocean ecosystems worldwide, and powerful ambassadors for the adoption of “Blue Habits”.

Through our work, we aim to "move the needle" in ways that measurably improve ocean health and reduce the hazards that humans pose to oceans over time. Specifically, Oceanic Society works to drive engagement and activate behavior change three focus areas: pollution (plastic and toxins), climate change (carbon footprint), and sustainable fisheries and aquaculture (seafood choices).

In short, we aim to create “a more oceanic society.”

1) Connect: Connecting people to oceans through travel, and motivating personal actions to improve ocean health.

Tourism is one of the largest industries on the planet. Nature-based travel is considered the fastest-growing tourism sector and is the perfect venue for breaking down the perception of separation between people and nature, for spiking peoples' motivation to act, and for introducing behavior change ideas and interventions to receptive audiences. Through our Expeditions and California Whale Watch programs, Oceanic Society strives to facilitate meaningful, life-changing experiences for our travelers and the local communities we visit, and to simultaneously inspire and invite them to become more deeply involved in conservation after the expedition is over. The SWOT Program serves as a connector within the sea turtle community, bringing together passionate conservationists from all over the world.

2) Activate: Defining and implementing the strategy, tools, and goals to activate, sustain, and measure human behavior change.

Oceanic Society seeks to convert today's unprecedented levels of awareness into unprecedented levels of action, and to help individuals discover and adopt new habits and behaviors that support healthy oceans. We are building upon our half-century of experience by teaming up with education, marketing, social science, and behavior change experts to define the types of behaviors we hope to change, the specific audiences to target, and the methods and tools we must employ to motivate lasting pro-ocean behaviors.

3) Amplify: Leveraging and amplifying our impacts to an ever-increasing audience

Building corporate, non-profit, and tourism industry partnerships that are committed to supporting Blue Habits and conservation efforts will be integral to expanding ocean health impacts beyond Oceanic Society. Broadly, we aim to bring together relevant stakeholders, including governments, intergovernmental organizations, international financial institutions, non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, academic institutions, the scientific community, the private sector, philanthropic organizations and other actors to assess challenges and opportunities in ocean conservation and behavior change.

A Legacy of Conservation - Oceanic Society is America's first ocean conservation nonprofit organization, founded in San Francisco in 1969. Our legacy is one of building public engagement to address ocean threats through effective communications strategies and nature-based tourism programs. Since our founding, we have inspired thousands of ocean advocates who shaped the ocean conservation movement that exists today.

Deep Expertise in Experiential Nature Travel - Leading nature travel worldwide for 50 years, we’ve helped to build a more oceanic society by immersing travelers in nature and helping them engage in conservation. We have strong ties to the tourism community, a network of expert naturalist guides, and credibility as a longstanding nature travel operator in dozens of destinations worldwide.

Ambitious Behavior Change Focus - With the organization’s recent shift to focus on behavior change (i.e. Blue Habits program), we have successfully completed a $250,000 Blue Habits Phase I program with leading behavioral scientists and are currently in Phase II of this work.

Global Expertise in Marine Conservation - Oceanic Society is a leader in sea turtle conservation as the conveners of the IUCN Marine Turtle Specialist Group and the State of the World's Sea Turtles (SWOT) network; and has been a pioneer in marine mammal research and conservation since the 1960s.

Oceanic Society helped put ocean conservation on the public radar. Some of our many accomplishments include:

Creating the Oceanic Society Patrol and Farallon Patrol—The patrols were innovative programs that turned yacht owners into citizen scientists who monitored the seas and collected valuable ocean data.

Pioneering ecotourism and volunteer vacations—Our founders knew that building a “more oceanic society" would require first-hand participation by the public. They began the Oceanic Society Expeditions program in 1972, an effort we proudly continue today.

Inspiring a generation of ocean lovers through Oceans magazine—From 1974 through 1988, we published the popular Oceans magazine that was distributed to tens of thousands of people worldwide.

Leading the way in whale watching—Whale watching played an important role in helping society transition away from whaling. Among the first organizations to promote and lead whale watching trips, Oceanic Society ran our first whale watching trip in the early 1970s out of San Francisco, and soon began to offer regular whale watching trips out of Sausalito, Pillar Point, and Bodega Bay, California, and eventually to Baja California out of San Diego.

Responding to the Exxon Valdez oil spill—Our staff were instrumental in coordinating the response to the Exxon Valdez oil spill (1989) and advancing legislation that requires double hulls on oil tankers.

Co-founding the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, CT—Under the leadership of Chris duPont Roosevelt, Oceanic Society helped establish this top-notch educational facility, which opened in 1988 (as the Maritime Center at Norwalk).

Pushing for protection of Turneffe Atoll, Belize—We established a field station at Blackbird Caye in Turneffe Atoll, Belize in 2001 to bring a permanent environmental presence to the area, to do marine research for conservation, and to build an eco-tourism program that would demonstrate Turneffe's value as a protected area. In 2012, Turneffe Atoll was declared a marine reserve, and our work played a major role in its definition.

Advancing community conservation in Ulithi Atoll—We worked alongside the community on Falalop in Ulithi Atoll (Micronesia) in their efforts to study and conserve sea turtles (starting in 2007) and to establish a locally managed marine area (starting in 2011).

Strengthening local sea turtle conservation, globally—Through our State of the World’s Sea Turtles Program, we have been supporting local sea turtle conservation efforts worldwide by partnering with hundreds of individuals and institutions to improve sea turtle science, set priorities for research and conservation, and provide needed resources to conservation projects since 2012.

Innovating a focus on behavior change—In 2014 we launched our Blue Habits program, an innovative effort that aims to go beyond merely raising awareness to deliver measurable behavior change that positively impacts ocean health. In partnership with Stanford University, we are now

Financials

Oceanic Society
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Oceanic Society

Board of directors
as of 07/28/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Zachary Rabinor

Journey Mexico

Hari Balasubramanian

EcoAdvisors

Finn Longinotto

Green Cross International

Marilyn Pearson

Independent consultant

Chuck Betlach

Sano Corporation, Betlach Family Foundation

Sylvia Earle

Mission Blue, The Sylvia Earle Alliance, National Geographic

Mark Stanley

Microsoft, Playful Studios

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 7/28/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data