Solent seagrass symposium

It was exciting to learn about the full scope of seagrass research and restoration projects underway in my home waters last night, as many of the organisations involved came together at an event in Cowes. These plants’ remarkable ability to store carbon, stabilise sediments, filter out excess nutrients and act as nursery grounds for juvenile fish make them invaluable to the future health of the Solent.
Although over 90% of the UK’s seagrass coverage is believed to have been lost during the last century, it was reassuring to hear that some of the Isle of Wight’s meadows are currently in good health. Restoration trials and planting initiatives to combat previous losses are taking place on the island’s northern shores and on the mainland near the mouth of the Beaulieu River and at Langstone Harbour.
A range of different planting methods are being used to ascertain the most effective technique, with options including placing seeds in hessian bags or large seagrass pillows, putting seeds in a silicone injection gun to insert into the seabed, and transplanting germinated seagrasses.
Greater understanding of the presence and location of seagrass meadows is needed to aid conservation initiatives and anyone can get involved, wherever you are in the world, by photographing seagrass and logging its location on Project Seagrass’s Seagrass Spotter.
Charities and organisations involved in Solent seagrass restoration projects include: Natural England, Ocean Conservation Trust,  Marine Conservation Society and the RYA who are partners in the Life ReMEDIES project, working alongside Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, Project Seagrass, Blue Marine Foundation, WWF, Isle of Wight Estuaries Office,  CHaPRoN, University of Portsmouth and Boskalis Westminster – do let me know if I have missed anyone out! Last night’s meeting can still be viewed on Project Seagrass’ Facebook page.
I look forward to helping out, and hopefully getting muddy, with Project Seagrass soon. 

Writing the right language

Beware the pitfalls of direct translation

I’m frequently in awe of international clients with whom I collaborate who shift between a handful of languages with enviable ease. But, no matter how well they’re able to converse in English, these clients approach me because they recognise the importance of getting things right when it comes to the written word.

In the days when it’s all too easy to conjure up an electronically produced approximation of what you want to say in another language, I value these clients who understand ‘almost right’ simply isn’t good enough. If someone takes the time to visit your website or read your brochure, it’s vital to ensure they get the best possible first impression and take away the messages you intended.

Writing is a craft

Creating effective marketing content takes time and skill. If writing in a language other than your own, hiring a native-speaker to cast a trained eye over your copy will remove the risk of unprofessional and potentially embarrassing errors. In an industry like yachting, this is more essential than ever with its plethora of specific and often obscure terms. Just try putting ‘bulwarks’ into a well-known search engine translation tool, and ask for a French equivalent, and you’ll come up with a number of options – none of which fits the bill.

No style fits all

During the years I’ve been involved in yachting, I’ve been fascinated to see the differences in the way marketing content is written from country to country. For example, a style and tone of voice popular for superyacht brochures in one part of Europe may strike entirely the wrong note, and actively put off clients, in the UK and US.

To ensure your marketing content hits the mark, why not get in contact. The Marine Copy Agency is happy to take on any size of project from proofreading press releases to comprehensive brochure-writing and web text commissions. For more information call: +44 (0) 7720 287145.   

Southampton Boat Show

Having a great time at Southampton Boat Show this week seeing boats and equipment I’ve been writing about and catching up with what’s new. Even after a couple of decades writing about boats, I’m still like a kid in a candy shop surrounded by all these fantastic yachts. Yesterday I fell in love with a Discovery that had me longing to sell up and set sail again!