A Perfect Union

Carolina Skiff partners with 4ocean to remove trash from the Florida Keys shoreline.
Skiff with ghost nets
The Carolina Skiff 25 LS in action during a mangrove shoreline cleanup at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo, loaded with discarded ghost nets, fishing gear, and other debris. This initiative highlights our commitment to marine conservation and protecting our coastal ecosystems. Courtesy 4ocean

Help is on the way! The fragile—and vital—Florida Keys marine environment is under assault from hidden forces. But thanks to a recent partnership between Carolina Skiff and 4ocean, discarded ghost nets, fishing gear and other trash is being removed using a new 25 LS Carolina Skiff specially equipped to access the mangrove shorelines of the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo. Those efforts are having an immediate positive impact.

“The 25 LS Carolina Skiff supplied allows our teams to access sensitive areas to collect trash of all sorts, including abandoned fishing gear, tires, car batteries, and plastics,” says Josh Liberman, the Creative Director for 4ocean, a Public Benefit Corporation that removes trash in four global marine environments, including the Florida Keys. “Anything we can access, we try to remove. Plastic found in ghost nets and polypropylene lines eventually degrades and breaks apart into microparticles of plastic. So we focus on retrieving that trash before it further damages these critical ecosystems.” The John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park encompasses 70 nautical square miles in the upper Keys.

Alex aboard the 25 LS
Alex Schulze, Co-Founder of 4ocean, has been a proud owner of a Carolina Skiff since age 6. This new Carolina Skiff 25 LS is the first addition to their cleanup fleet, enhancing their efforts in removing marine debris and protecting our oceans. Courtesy 4ocean

The Carolina Skiff 25 LS is the first new vessel for the 4ocean fleet. It is ideally suited for its task due to a shallow 7-inch draft, 14-person capacity, and ability to carry a heavy load (up to 3,450 pounds). The skiff is powered by a low-emissions Suzuki 200- horsepower four-stroke outboard. It was equipped with Garmin electronics, and Power Pole shallow-water anchor to get into shallow depths without damaging seagrasses and other critical habitats. Once in position, 4ocean crew members hop overboard to cut out the discarded nets, rope, and other trash from the maze of mangrove roots and shallows by hand. Some of the plastic collected is recycled into bracelets, which are sold to fund 4ocean’s work. Degradable trash is recycled or disposed of responsibly.

There is a natural synergy between Carolina Skiff and 4ocean. The group’s co-founder grew up in Florida and got his first boat, a Carolina Skiff, at an early age.

Skiff in shallow water
The Carolina Skiff 25 LS hull design helps to effortlessly navigate the shallow waters of John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. This boat design capability allows it to reach and clean hard-to-access areas, contributing to the preservation of delicate coastal ecosystems. Courtesy 4ocean

“I’m stoked to announce our partnership with Carolina Skiff, a company that has been part of my life since I got my first vessel at 6 years old,” says Alex Schulze, Co-Founder and CEO of 4ocean. “We’ve been using their boats for our cleanup operations in South Florida because of their durability, large capacity for plastic materials, and shallow draft—perfect for our needs. This partnership marks the beginning of a larger initiative aimed at making a massive impact on the amount of plastic in the ocean.”

In addition to the Florida Keys, 4ocean is working on trash collection in Guatemala, Bali, and Java. The company employs local fishermen for their skills and coastal knowledge. Each is paid a fair living wage and benefits as part of their community-building company policy. To date, 4ocean’s global cleanup operation has recovered millions of pounds of plastic and other debris from the world’s oceans, rivers, and coastlines.

Accessing the skiff
Easy access for clean-up crews! The Carolina Skiff 25 LS features a telescoping ladder at the stern, providing effortless entry and exit even when the bow is fully loaded with debris from the day’s haul. This design ensures efficiency and safety during shoreline cleanup operations. Courtesy 4ocean

“We are proud to support 4ocean in their crucial work to clean up our oceans,” says Robert Sass, of Carolina Skiff. “The Carolina Skiff 25 LS reflects a tool for positive change. Seeing its impact on our marine environments is like watching ripples grow into waves of activism. It reminds all boat owners that even the smallest actions can greatly impact conservation efforts.”

Carolina Skiff LLC is a leading boat manufacturer renowned for its durable, versatile and cost-effective boats. With more than 30 years of experience, the company offers 26 models to suit various boating needs, prioritizing safety, quality and style. All Carolina Skiff boats meet rigorous standards set by the American Boat and Yacht Council and the US Coast Guard, boasting a wood-free, integrated fiberglass stringer system and exceeding Coast Guard flotation requirements. Carolina Skiff delivers unmatched value, performance and comfort for all boating enthusiasts.

Removing ghost nets
Dedicated crews work tirelessly to cut away and haul discarded debris, like ghost nets and polypropylene lines. Removing this waste prevents it from breaking into microparticles and protects the vital mangrove ecosystems. Courtesy 4ocean

“In addition to directly removing trash and debris from the water, we hope to inspire others and remind boaters that we all need to be good stewards of the water to protect what we love,” Liberman adds.

Boaters can do their part by properly securing trash so that it doesn’t blow overboard and getting involved in local coastal cleanup efforts. To learn more about Carolina Skiff and its partnership with 4ocean, please visit: carolinaskiff.com/partnership.