Many signs point to a growing awareness of maritime issues, and of the vital importance of the maritime sector to Britain’s economy
This year we received a record 95 nominations for the Maritime Media Awards – and comments from the judges indicate that the standard was higher than ever. This is just one sign of what looks encouragingly like a steady increase in maritime awareness.
2014 has seen several important reports and noteworthy events. In March, the UK government published A National Strategy for Maritime Security, a truly all-encompassing study of the threats we face and the responses available. Shortly afterwards the Global Ocean Commission released From Decline to Recovery: A Rescue Package for the Global Ocean.
In June, Seafarers Awareness Week, organised by Seafarers UK, attracted wide media coverage, and next September London will again be hosting International Shipping Week. The Maritime Foundation, in conjunction with the Marine Institute of Plymouth University, ran the latest in a series of conferences entitled Britain and the Sea, generating widespread discussion on the development of maritime education.
The boat shows in London and Southampton are always popular with the public, attracting much interest from all over the world. Our DVD this year, Boat Nation, highlights this important part of Britain’s national economy – which is also the key theme of this brochure. The nation’s involvement in all aspects of ‘messing about in boats’ and seafaring training is respected throughout the world. Britain remains a world leader in boat-building technology and innovation.
Less in the public eye but equally valuable are the marine equipment manufacturers who export their products to shipyards in China, Japan and Korea. This sector is a major contributor to the UK’s balance of payments.
The Marine Industries Leadership Council has been working hard to convince the government that support for exports and research is a sound investment for the future.
The naming of the new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth in June was a major cause for celebration. The carrier construction project has not only regenerated vital industrial skills across the country, but it has also produced a whole raft of new technology.
The Marine Management Organisation is making steady progress in designating protected areas to guard against overfishing in territorial waters, and in changing EU Common Fisheries Policy concerning the wasteful discard of bycatch. This year marked the centenary of the start of the First World War, and there were many events and lectures to commemorate the crucial role played by the Royal and Merchant Navies.
This year the Royal Naval Air Service also celebrated its centenary, and the Royal Marines 350 years of unbroken service.
Make no mistake. Few of these events would be known without the contribution of the media in all its forms. This year sees the introduction of the First Sea Lord’s Digital Media Award, extending recognition to this rapidly developing sphere of influence. In so many ways, the sea matters to Britain, and public engagement and media coverage are a vital part of the equation. Contributing to this important work are the nominees for this year’s Maritime Media Awards, whose exceptional range of talents is a cause for great celebration.