Surfers working to end pollution in world waters

Posted at 11:31 PM, Nov 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-25 02:31:19-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- An innovative environmental product that will help keep marinas, yacht clubs, and ports clean from unwanted trash and pollution is making a huge difference in San Diego. 

The Seabin, a two-pound floating vacuum-filter device, has been successfully tested for much of 2017 at Cabrillo Isle Marina, located on Harbor Drive and operated by Safe Harbor Marinas. 

Friday, the team at the Seabin Project installed a second Seabin at Cabrillo Isle Marina. 

"They used to call it 'Scum Alley' because it just collected a lot of flotsam on top of the water and different scum," Project Operations Manager Sascha Champman said. "The little Seabin just sort of ticks away and works 24/7. It's similar to a vacuum, and it just sucks in all the floating debris."  

Seabin was developed by two Australian inventors, Andrew Turton and Pete Ceglinski. The pair are surfers and share a passion for protecting the world's oceans, as well as lakes and waterways. 

Ceglinski says it was amazing to see how clean the water was after just a few months of the Seabin's work. 

"When we installed it, all along this back alley it was just all this scum, and you couldn't see a reflection anymore," he said. "And then when we arrived yesterday and we saw it this morning we're like 'Ah it looks really clean.'"

Water is filtered from the surface and through a catch bag inside the Seabin, powered by a submersible water pump. The water cycles through, leaving trash and debris trapped inside. 

"They're getting like 20, 40 pounds [of trash], sometimes they're said to get 60 pounds," Ceglinski said. 

He says the catch bag holds up to two pounds of debris and should be emptied twice daily. The Seabin also collects surface oils that often plague marinas and boat owners. 

"It's something that you feel passionate about," Ceglinski said. "We're pretty happy with how it's all going."

Safe Harbor Marinas is a Global Pilot Partner with the Seabin Project, and will install them at their five marinas along the West Coast. Next year, Safe Harbor Marinas plans to install them in their 60 marinas across Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, South Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, and throughout the Northeast. 

Ceglinski says about 80 marinas all over the world have signed up for a Seabin. They are also collecting and logging data about the debris collected from each Seabin for research. 

Ceglinski says another big part of their project is education, and they will take students out for field trips to see the Seabin in action and teach them about pollution and how to prevent it. 

Cigarette butts are the number one piece of trash found in Seabins, followed by plastics, then food wrappers. 

For more information, visit