Inextricably bound up with the sea

A matter of Britain’s wellbeing and security

Desmond Wettern on the bridge of HMS Battleaxe in 1981

Maritime Media Awards 2008 Brochure

The purpose of the Maritime Media Awards is to promote awareness of maritime issues and the dependence of the United Kingdom on the sea, and in particular to honour the contributions of those who have helped most, through their writing, broadcasting or film-making, to deepen public understanding of the importance of our relationship with the sea.

The Awards were established by the Maritime Foundation in 1995 in memory of Desmond Wettern, the celebrated maritime author and Daily Telegraph naval correspondent. Over the years the awards have steadily evolved, as interest in them and the level of participation have grown, and the Maritime Foundation now presents awards in three categories: the Desmond Wettern Media Award (for maritime journalism), the Mountbatten Maritime Award (for literature) and the Donald Gosling Award (for film, television and radio). This year a total of 61 nominations have been received for these three awards.

This year two further awards will be presented. The Desmond Wettern Fleet Award, which has been awarded annually by the Royal Navy since 1993, honours the Royal Navy or Royal Marines unit that has contributed most to a positive image of the Navy. The Maritime Fellowship Award is new. Established by the Maritime Foundation, the award will be made each year in a different sector of the maritime industries, marking an individual’s outstanding lifetime service. For 2008, the focus is on the marine leisure sector, and the award is sponsored by the British Marine Federation.

The pages that follow contain contributions from distinguished commentators on various aspects of Britain’s close relationship with the sea. Economically, the UK depends heavily on the sea, but the importance of shipping is not adequately recognised, either politically or publicly. Greater public understanding is also critical in the case of our fisheries, and the offshore oil and gas industries, since both represent declining resources that need to be developed in sustainable ways, with new technologies in less hospitable marine environments. From the point of view of naval defence, the outreach of Britain’s interests, and global political alliances, means that the Royal Navy’s multifunctional role needs constantly to be explained and presented to the public. And environmentally, the sea exercises a major influence on our climate, as well as nourishing public health and providing recreation for millions. It is vital that the nation’s seas should be protected, and the importance of this needs to be clearly communicated.

The Maritime Foundation is most grateful to those who have contributed to these pages. We also congratulate the winners of the awards, and are grateful to all who were nominated. Every one of them has played a part in raising public awareness of maritime issues and the dependence of the United Kingdom on the sea – and that is the purpose of the Maritime Media Awards.

Desmond Wettern on the bridge of HMS Battleaxe in 1981. A celebrated writer on maritime affairs for over 30 years, he was also the Daily Telegraph’s naval correspondent. In 1993 the Royal Navy established the Desmond Wettern Fleet Award in his memory. The Maritime Foundation, of which he was a founder member, created the Desmond Wettern Media Award to commemorate his dedication to the belief that the United Kingdom’s economic wellbeing and security are inextricably bound up with the sea.