Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Marine Affairs and Policy (Marine)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

David Letson

Second Committee Member

Maria Luisa Estevanez

Third Committee Member

Daniel DiResta


Due to limited public funding for scientific studies and data collection, private sector entities increasingly fill the gap by facilitating research inquiries. Specifically, coastal, oceanic and marine conservation nonprofit organizations (NPOs) play a direct role in research by both funding and orchestrating research missions across the globe. Through the examination of existing organizations and vessels involved in such efforts, this study examined the practicality of a NPO managed program that provides marine scientists with suitable mobile research platforms and evaluated the overall benefits of such a program on the ocean research community. One such organization, the International SeaKeepers Society (SeaKeepers), remains the primary focus as the author was employed to design, test and implement the SeaKeepers Discovery Yachts Program (SDY). Through SDY, SeaKeepers enables the yachting community to take full advantage of their unique potential to advance marine sciences and to raise awareness about global ocean issues by making unconventional vessels, member yachts, available to the scientific community. SDY intends to augment current knowledge about the state of the oceans, rouse significant scientific discovery, raise awareness about critical ocean issues and inspire a passion for the seas.


Research; Yachting; Ships of Opportunity; the International SeaKeepers Society