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Who We Are

Who We Are


Life Before ODA

Her name – the Clearwaterdescribes our mission: Clean oceans, clear water.

A former Canadian Coast Guard patrol vessel, the Clearwater is a very solid 40-foot aluminum boat with two massive diesel engines.

In her service to the Coast Guard, she was first launched in the early 1970'sand decommissioned in the 1990's. After that, the boat was owned by a nonprofit called Ocean Defense International and named the Avocet. Among other things, this group used the Avocet to try to stop a tribe of Native Americans from killing gray whales off the coast of Washington state in 1999. The vessel was then donated to another ocean organization – Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. After a short time there, in October 2006, this work-horse of a vessel was gifted to ODA. We are very grateful to Captain Paul Watson and Sea Shepherd for the generous donation of this formidable vessel.

While excited about getting the boat out onto the water, ODA struggled for almost a year to locate a berth in Southern California with reasonable rates and a good location. Volunteer Jared Rubin was finally able to locate the perfect dock for us in Wilmington Harbor, near Long Beach, California.

A New Home and New Mission

<em>Clearwater</em> and crewClearwater and crewThe next step was getting her trucked down from Friday Harbor, Washington, where she had been berthed for almost a year and exposed to the elements, including heavy rainstorms that caused some flooding in the engine compartment. After an extensive search, ODA Board Member Chris Aultman got us a good deal with a transportation company out of Colorado; the Clearwater journeyed on land down the West Coast and into ODA’s physical custody in May of 2007.

Many other dedicated volunteers contributed hours of back-breaking work to get the Clearwater ready for duty. Our heartfelt appreciation remains to this day for these volunteers who all took time off from their paying jobs to help ODA prepare our conservation vessel for free: Chris Aultman, Chris Bell, Erik Burrows, Eric Cabrera, Holly Gray, Jim and Lisa Lieber, John Milligan, Jared Rubin, Phil Robledo, and Reeve.

Outfitted to Save Lives

This outstanding volunteer team outfitted the vessel for ODA’s very specific needs. Here are some highlights:

  • Dive platform: A wide area on the stern (rear of the boat) with a ladder from which the divers safely enter and exit the water.
  • Secure Seating for Divers and Dive Tanks: A safe seating arrangement that has tank holders incorporated into the seats to keep them safely secure. This keeps all the gear off the deck and makes it easy for the divers to suit up.
  • Davit: On the stern of the boat, we installed a davit (a pulley system connected to an electric motor) through which we run a strong rope to haul recovered debris out of the ocean and onto the Clearwater’s deck.
  • Zodiac: A 10-foot motorized, rubber-hulled boat, essential for retrieving divers and debris from target areas during rough seas.
  • Galley: Modest kitchen area (needed to keep volunteers fueled up and energized!).
  • Deck Cover: A canvass cover on the aft (rear) deck to protect volunteer crew and divers from the sun.


A Worthwhile Investment

The Clearwater is a crucial piece of equipment for ODA; without it we could not do our vital protection work. However, there are significant costs for the value it brings. A large percentage of our program costs each year must be allocated for its maintenance and operation, including these monthly averages:

  • $400 for slip
  • $500 for fuel costs
  • $1,000 for general maintenance and upkeep
  • $500 for other costs including debris removal and disposal


We need your financial support to keep this vessel sea-worthy and in operation. The animals and marine environment greatly need our help, and it is only with your generous donations that we can do our work.

Please take a look at our Wish List to find the physical items that we need—and that you may be able to provide to us. Easier yet, please consider making a cash contribution which will be applied to our area of greatest need…which is quite often the maintenance and operations of our boat.

Thank you for helping keep the waters clear!

Clearwater being repaired and given a new paint job

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