About Clear Blue Sea

What is Clear Blue Sea?

Clear Blue Sea is a startup nonprofit organization based in San Diego, California. Our goal is to cleanse the oceans of harmful plastic pollution. Our solution to this problem is a Floating Robot for Eliminating Debris (FRED); a solar powered, semi-autonomous marine robot capable of cleaning plastic debris out of rivers, bays, estuaries, and oceans.

What is Clear Blue Sea’s mission?

Our mission is simple: to rid the oceans of plastic pollution. Marine plastic pollution is highly destructive to ocean life, detrimentally affecting species both large and small. Clear Blue Sea’s objective is to collect the massive amount of plastic debris within the marine environment before it is able to degrade into micro and nano-plastics.

How did Clear Blue Sea begin?

Clear Blue Sea was co-founded by two women with a strong passion for sustainability and environmentalism. Susan Baer, a baby boomer with an MBA, and Jessica Gottdank, a millennial with a BSME, came together to combine their expertise in engineering and program management to address the crisis of marine plastic pollution. While establishing Clear Blue Sea’s mission to cleanse the oceans of plastic pollution, Baer and Gottdank acknowledged that ocean plastic is a global crisis that requires a global set of solutions. Therefore, in addition to our FRED technology, we are continuously conducting outreach and educational initiatives to spread awareness while training the next generation of students and recent graduates.

Why is marine plastic pollution a critical threat to the planet’s survival?

The current amount of plastic pollution within the ocean is substantial enough to affect the Earth’s climate. A growing body of evidence shows that the ocean’s ability to store excess carbon is being impaired by the increase in nano-plastics. Our oceans will be unable to sustain life if they continue to be clogged with plastic pollution, and the eradication of ocean life would result in mass extinctions, runaway climate change, and a global ecological collapse.


What is a FRED?

FRED stands for Floating Robot for Eliminating Debris. It is a semi-autonomous, ocean-faring robot powered by renewable solar energy and is designed to clean up harmful floating debris from bays, rivers, estuaries, and oceans. FRED will operate 24/7 as it collects ocean plastic within an assigned geographical area, as well as provide scientific data and physical samples for research purposes.

Why do you consider the FRED a viable solution to ocean plastic retrieval?

FRED was conceived to be a sustainable, non-polluting marine robot. It is powered by commercially available marine solar power systems, which do not require refueling, and is able to work 24/7. FRED is a cost efficient, environmentally friendly solution to the marine plastic pollution crisis.

How does FRED know what to do?

FRED’s software capabilities enable it to receive navigational instructions and relay information reporting its exact location. This allows FRED the autonomy to carry out a normal operating routine on a 24/7 basis. New commands can be sent to FRED via satellite from the mission control facility.

How does FRED interact with marine life?

Onboard acoustic pingers warn marine life of FRED’s approach, giving animals time to move away from the area. The robot’s slow speed also allows animals to avoid being injured or captured by FRED.

What will you do with plastic collected by FREDs?

Once FRED’s trash bins are at capacity, FRED will navigate either to the mothership or an onshore base, where trash will then be unloaded. Clear Blue Sea plans to provide the collected plastic to universities for research purposes and to sustainable recycling organizations.

Will you share the FRED design with others?

Clear Blue Sea’s FRED design was not made to be kept secret from the public. FRED is designed to be scaled up, modified, or replicated by anyone interested in improving their nearby marine waters. FRED can be successfully constructed with readily available commercial products. It is possible for anyone to make their very own FRED and protect their local waters.


How can I get involved?

Visit our “Internship Program” page to learn more about volunteering/interning with Clear Blue Sea and make sure to fill out our form (link) to complete your application.

What do student interns do at Clear Blue Sea?

Clear Blue Sea has provided more than 200 student internships since its inception. Our internship program provides real-world, challenging opportunities for college and high school students, as this generation will bear the burden of remediating marine environments. We provide boot camp training to all student interns to teach them project management, systems engineering methodologies, ocean plastic pollution findings and statistics, FRED engineering architecture, and collaborative teamwork.

What various roles do volunteers play in the organization?

Volunteers comprise the Clear Blue Sea’s Management Team, serve as mentors in technical and business activities, provide subject matter expertise, and serve on the Board of Directors and Strategic Advisory Board.

I would like to donate to CBSea, how do I do that?

You can visit our Donate page and donate via our Paypal Giving Fund – they cover all transaction fees so CBSea receives 100% of your donation!

If you prefer to donate via check please make the payment out to Clear Blue Sea and mail to:

Clear Blue Sea

4450 Pavlov Ave

San Diego, CA 92122

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