press release
Published: 30 May 2024

University of Surrey lecturer rowing unsupported around Great British coastline to learn more about pollution in sea 

A Surrey vet is part of a team that will row unsupported around the British coastline to collect data on microplastic pollution, underwater man-made sound, water temperature, salinity and biodiversity. The ambitious team also aims to become the first mixed team to row unsupported around the UK.  

During this test of endurance, Hannah Davies, Senior Lecturer in Veterinary Clinical Practice at the University of Surrey, will join a crew of six taking part in the GB Row Challenge, who will row non-stop and unsupported for 2,000 miles around the British Coastline. Setting off from Tower Bridge in London, the team, who are partnering with The Crown Estate and Marine Data Exchange, will have to tackle fast-changing tides and the wind, testing their stamina and strength of character. 

On the journey that could last 40-45 days, the team hopes to build the first-ever complete picture of the state of the UK coastal waters, collecting data on microplastic and underwater man-made noise pollution, species biodiversity, water temperature and salinity.  

Microplastics (pieces of plastic <5mm) have been known to negatively impact the growth and health of many ocean species and possibly pose risks to human health. The team will also explore the impact of underwater man-made noise pollution. Sound travels much further in water and is used by many marine species to communicate, hunt, find a mate, navigate and avoid predators. Human activity from boats and machinery creates a lot of noise in the sea, which can impact marine animals, causing them to get lost/stranded, fail to find mates and become vulnerable to predators.  

Team Coastal Odyssey is undertaking the GB Row Challenge in partnership with The Crown Estate, the national landowner which manages the seabed and much of the coastline around England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Once analysed, the data the team collects will be hosted on the Marine Data Exchange, the world’s largest collection of marine industry survey data. A spokesperson from The Crown Estate and Marine Data Exchange

The team, made up of Patrick Deacon (skipper), Adam Ravenscroft, Joe Benson, Hannah Davies, Lia Evans and Daisy Lucker, will depart from Tower Bridge on 9 June. They will be raising money for Surfers Against Sewage.  

This is an example of the University of Surrey contributing to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, in particular SDG 14 (Life Below Water). 

If you would like to support the team, please visit their Just Giving page. 


  • Senior Lecturer Hannah Davies is available for interview on request 

Related sustainable development goals

Image for Clean Water and Sanitation Sustainable Development Goal Image for Climate Action Sustainable Development Goal Image for Life Below Water Sustainable Development Goal

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