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Ben Fogle’s Atlantic swim - helping save our seas

24 May 2012

WWF ambassador and adventurer Ben Fogle has announced he’ll be attempting to swim all the way across the Atlantic Ocean next summer. Ben will be working with WWF and the Plastic Oceans Foundation to highlight the fragile state of the world’s oceans.

Ben Fogle's Atlantic swim

Billed as “A Great British Adventure”, Ben’s target is to swim across the Atlantic from North America to Cornwall in 100 days. It will mean swimming up to 12 hours per day - the equivalent of the English Channel every day.

Ben will use a support yacht for sleeping and eating, logging his stop and start position each day to make sure he swims more than 3,000 miles.

The National Oceanography Centre and the University of Southampton will also be turning Ben into a human mini research vessel during his swim. Scientists will attach micro-sensors to his body and use his long periods in the water to track marine temperature, currents and algae in the thin surface layers of the ocean - a layer that’s usually disturbed by ocean-going research ships.

Louise Heaps, head of our marine team, says: “We’re proud to support Ben’s challenge to raise awareness of the issues affecting our seas - which are under severe pressure from overfishing and unsustainable development - and the urgent need to protect them.”

Ben will also be working with homeless charity Centrepoint, giving several young homeless volunteers a chance to pick up new skills by working on the project as shore team and yacht crew, and helping with apprenticeships afterwards.

Ben, who was also an Olympic torch-bearer this month, says: “In this Olympic year, it’s important that we leave a lasting legacy, and I hope the swim will continue to inspire people to push their boundaries, to aspire and to achieve. I hope that it captures the imagination, reminding us that adventures can still be had.”

Just one person has swum across the Atlantic Ocean to date. Ben himself has limited open-water swimming experience, and will spend the next year working with experts and swimmers to prepare him for the physical and mental challenge.

He admits: “I am daunted by the magnitude of this challenge, but I have never been one to take the easy option. You get out of life what you put in, and the greatest achievements come from the biggest challenges.

“If I can complete it, it will be the culmination of a childhood dream.”

You can…
Find out more about Ben’s Atlantic swim
See how you can help WWF’s urgent work to protect our oceans and seas




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The sea around Sennen Cove, Cornwall