Sub Sea Systems — Our World is a blog dedicated to the unique experiences of Sub Sea Systems — Immerse yourself in our incredible adventures, company culture, and innovative programs and products.

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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Trash Free Seas- Fighting to Make Our Oceans Clean

Trash Free Seas- Fighting to Make Our Oceans Clean
A healthy ocean means clean, beautiful coasts for vacationers. If the ocean isn’t healthy, neither are we. The food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe all come from our waterways. Our oceans provide us with one sixth of the animal protein we eat, and give us half of our oxygen!

plastic accounts for 60-80 percent of ocean trash

Our Oceans Are in Danger
Unfortunately, the world’s most precious resources are threatened by the very humans who rely on them for survival. Toxic metals, oil spills, and industrial waste such as acids and toxins, pollute waterways and harm sea life. Trash, especially plastic, accumulates in our oceans at an alarming rate. Plastics now pollute all dimensions of our waterways from the sea surface to the seafloor, on remote beaches and in Arctic sea ice. It is estimated that there are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. About 60%-80% of all marine debris is composed of plastic. Much of the waste that is dumped into our oceans will wash up on coastlines, polluting everything it comes into contact with, including beaches, animals, and sea life.

turtle sea life stuck in plastic trash

Cleanups Matter
While this information seems discouraging, conservation efforts can make a difference.  The Ocean Conservancy, founded in 1972, is committed to the cause. Each year, the Conservancy sponsors the International Coastal Cleanup, a worldwide effort to clean our waterways. Nearly 12 million people and counting have been part of the effort since its inception. In 2016 alone, over 750,000 volunteers collected over 18 MILLION pounds of trash for waterways and covered over 25,000 miles. That’s equivalent to traveling from Athens, Greece to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil four times! The amount of trash collected weighed more than 100 Boeing 737s. Volunteers from across the globe, including the US, the Philippines, Kenya, Sweden and more have made a difference by collecting and removing trash from our precious oceans!

top 10 items trash found in oceans
Courtesy, Ocean Conservancy

You Can Make A Difference
You can help protect valuable resources by participating in the annual International Coastal Cleanup, sponsored by the Ocean Conservancy. You’ll join millions of volunteers who love the ocean and want to protect it.  Check out local cleanup efforts and sign up to clean up. Or, start a cleanup of your own! The Ocean Conservancy offers tools to help you plan your cleanup and record data. You can make a difference by joining this amazing effort.

Sub Sea Systems is contributing by organizing our annual corporate Reef Alliance Day cleanup event, in coordination with The Great American River Cleanup. SSS staff will be working to clear trash from Nimbus Fish Hatchery, Gold River, CA, on Saturday, September 16th, from 9-noon. We would love to have you join us for this year’s cleanup. For more information on this effort, email us. With you, we can make a difference and help our waterways stay healthy for generations to come.

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Thursday, August 24, 2017

Sailing Through the Language Barrier on Your Next Cruise

It’s so exciting to head to a brand new vacation destination. Exploring new territory and making new friends across the globe often builds the best memories!

However, heading into a cruise port where the language is unfamiliar can seem daunting. How will you communicate if you don’t know how to ask for even basic necessities? Check out a few common phrases, and get some helpful suggestions on how you will be able to “talk the talk” and feel like a local!

Cruisers headed to Spanish-speaking destinations such as Cozumel, Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic will exclaim “I’m happy to be here!” by saying “¡Estoy feliz de estar aquí!” If you’re headed to Guadeloupe or Martinique, the French version is “Je suis heureux d'être ici!” While in Aruba and Curacao, you’ll declare in Dutch, “Ik ben blij om hier te zijn!“

You will be glad to know that you can find the nearest restroom by asking “¿Dónde está el baño más cercano?” in Spanish; or “Où est la toilette la plus proche?” in French. The Dutch equivalent is a bit easier to remember- “Waar is het toilet?” However, be careful not to use “Waar is de badkamer?” which actually means where is the shower!

Another phrase you may want to memorize, especially if you are out on your own experiencing an unfamiliar area, is “where is the cruise port?” In Spanish, you’ll say “¿Dónde está el puerto de cruceros?”; in French, “Où se trouve le port de croisière?”; in Dutch, “Waar is de cruise haven?”

The good news is that you don’t have to memorize these phrases to travel successfully through a foreign port. There are many websites and apps that can help you translate phrases and communicate with service workers and other travelers. One of the most accessible is Google Translate. Simply go to Google and search “translate.” You will see two boxes. The first “detect language” box is where you enter the text or phrase you wish to translate. The second box is where you select the language that you want your phrase translated, and it's where your translation will appear. Google Translate is not a perfect translator. Sentence structure may not be ideal, so Google Translate should be used as a guide to get the basic concepts of a piece, not as an accurate translation. You can learn more about Google Translate here:

itranslate voice logo
If you’ve got your phone in your pocket, you’ve got a portable translator! The iTranslate Voice app translates what you say right after you say it. You can even save your most commonly used phrases in a “phrase book” for easy access. You will want to check this app to ensure your language is available, as iTranslate only offers approximately forty options.

triplingo app logo

If you’re looking for additional bells and whistles, check out Triplingo. Triplingo combines a translator with lots of handy extras. It includes language-learning tools, cultural information, free international calls with wi-fi and more. Triplingo is available from the App Store or Google Play.

Papago logo

If you’re headed to Japan, China or Korea, you may want to check out Papago. This app focuses exclusively on translating the “big 3” Asian languages (Korean, Japanese and Mandarin). It provides visual clues to ensure the correct context is utilized. It also provides a currency converter and offline mode.

You can travel confidently with these handy tools. You’ll be exclaiming “¡está excelente!” by utilizing these great apps. “Moet je proberen” one before you head off to your next destination!

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Marvelous, Magical Manatees!

Manatee and snorkeler in Florida

If you’ve ever cruised along the coast of Florida, you may have encountered a gentle giant. The Florida manatee, the official marine mammal of the state of Florida, is a large aquatic relative of the elephant and is found in freshwater rivers, estuaries, and coastal waters.

The Florida manatee is a subspecies of the West Indian manatee. They are grayish brown in color and have thick, wrinkled skin, much like their dry land cousins. Their front flippers help them steer, or sometimes crawl, through shallow water. They also have powerful, flat tails that help propel them through the water. Despite their small eyes and lack of outer ears, manatees are thought to see and hear quite well. Manatees are calm herbivores that spend most of their time eating, sleeping, and traveling.

In 1973, the manatee was placed on the endangered species list, hovering on the brink of extinction. At that time, only a few hundred manatees resided in the state. Today, thanks to conservation and humanitarian efforts, there are estimated to be over 6,300 manatees living in Florida’s waterways. In 2016, manatees were moved from the endangered species list to “threatened” status, which allows the population to continue its recovery while federal commitments to its protection are maintained.

Manatee Mom and Baby swimming in Florida

Manatee populations continue to face two long-standing, serious threats:  fatal collisions with watercraft, and the loss of warm-water habitats that provide them with refuge during the winter. (Manatees lack an insulating layer of fat, so water colder than about 70 degrees can kill them.)

A variety of efforts are being made to protect manatees and ensure their continued survival and population growth. One unique approach is the development of an audio alarm called “the Manatee Alerting Device,” which emits a low intensity, highly directional, narrow band of sound directly in front of approaching boats. The selected signal exploits the manatees' best hearing and localization abilities, and is only audible to manatees in the direct path of an approaching vessel. The alerting device is showing great promise in trial- without the alarm, 95 percent of the wild manatees tested did not change their behavior as the boat approached them. They did not respond or avoid the boat, and the boat was forced to veer away to avoid a dangerous collision. With the alarm, 95 percent of the manatees moved away from the oncoming vessel! Read more about the Manatee Alerting Device. 

Additionally, a number of rehabilitation facilities exist to help manatees injured by boats. Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo has a rehabilitate and release program, where manatees are nursed back to health. Recently, a severely injured manatee mother and her calf named Pascow and Cotee were rushed to the facility. The manatee mother’s tail was sliced open by a boat propeller, creating deep gashes. The pair were then rushed to the zoo’s David A. Straz Jr. Manatee Critical Care Center for medical attention and around-the-clock monitoring. They recovered quickly and were released back into the wild.

Swimming Florida Manatee

North Florida Ecological Services Office also supports a manatee rescue, rehabilitation and release program, with a goal of rescuing and treating sick or injured manatees, then releasing them back into waterways. The Office transfers injured animals to several different facilities: Lowry Park Zoo, Miami Seaquarium, and SeaWorld Florida. Following treatment, the manatees are transferred to other Program partner facilities for additional rehabilitation, while awaiting release. These include the Cincinnati Zoo, Columbus ZooEPCOT's The Seas, the South Florida Museum, and Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park. 

You can help protect manatees! The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission offers a wildlife hotline and text line for boaters to report injured animals.  You can find these numbers and read about other ways that you can support manatees here.  Miami Seaquarium’s website also has helpful information on how you can contribute to the wellbeing of these amazing animals.

Keeping our waterways clean and free of trash also helps manatees and other sea life stay safe and healthy.  Join Sub Sea Systems, Inc. in the fight for trash free seas by participating in Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup on Saturday September 16th. Over 12 million people have participated in this annual effort, cleaning up over 220 million pounds of trash. Click here for this year's event and activities.

Manatee Rescue

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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Part 2, Get to Know Sub Sea Staff!

SSS Regional Coordinator Javi diving

Operating and managing an international company is not an easy feat– from time zone differences to language barriers and distinct cultural customs, international business requires a global team with a diverse skill set. At Sub Sea Systems, we’re extremely fortunate to work with exceptional regional managers who oversee our widespread network of operators and seek out new business opportunities. Javier “Javi” Fortunato is the Regional Coordinator for the Riviera Maya and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, as well as Belize. His easy-going nature, sense of humor, multilingual abilities, organization and attentive communication make him a tremendous asset to the Sub Sea team! We interviewed Javi so that you could learn more about him. Clearly, you will see his upbeat attitude shine through!

What is your job title and what do you do?
My job title is “Regional Coordinator” and I represent (proudly) Sub Sea Systems in “my area,” which is southeast Mexico (Xcaret, Xel Ha, Cozumel) and Belize. I’ve also had the pleasure of working with operators in Curaçao and Cabo San Lucas. I’m in charge of training, ensuring operations meet standards, and some P.R.- mostly spreading our vision and promoting the high level of safety and customer service at which all Sea TREK locations operate. I strive to provide first class service while performing these activities, every single day.

How long have you been working at your current job?
Since March 2014

How would you describe your job to someone you just met?
Me: “Have you seen those white helmets used to walk under the ocean?”
Someone: “Yes!”
Me: “Cool! That’s what I do” :)

What is your favorite part of the job?
Hard to pick a part when you love what you do! I’m also a Scuba Instructor, so I’m going to go with training, (especially the underwater part!).

What is the most challenging part of your job?
Ensuring operators maintain our high standards.

Sub Sea Systems Regional Coordinator Javi

What do you do in your spare time, away from work?
Spend as much time as I can with my 5-year-old son and my wife. In other words, enjoying my family.

What kind of music do you like?
Rock, pop, oldies (I’m from the 80s!) – Argentinian and Mexican Rock, anything with good rhythm.

What are you most proud of?
My son, Luca

Javi in a Clear Lounge t-shirt

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Everything that my father taught me, and said, and did… he’s right!

If you happen to visit a Sea TREK destination in Mexico and you see a gentleman in a Sea TREK polo– it’s likely Javi! You may also spot him driving around town in his custom Sea TREK car. Give him a big wave and shout “hola, Javi!”

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Thursday, August 3, 2017

A Different Kind of “Human Resources”

Visit Sub Sea’s Corporate Office, and you’ll likely be greeted with a wag of a tail and a sniff or two. That’s because SSS office staff includes furry companions who make our work environment far more interesting and definitely less stressful. Meet our canine colleagues, Oliver, Cali and Gunner!

Cockapoo Oliver at Sub Sea Systems

Oliver (Oli) is a cockapoo, but in spite of his small stature, is a force to be reckoned with. Smart and sassy, and about as cute as it gets, Oli struts around the office as if he owns the place.  The tiniest of security guards, Oli is always on high alert for a scary mailman or mystery vehicle.  However, in spite of being on guard against strangers and squirrels, Oli is easily bribed by an offer of treats from the FedEx delivery driver or regular UPS guy. Oli keeps us laughing with his Hollywood attitude and frequent downward dog yoga poses. Check out Oli's big screen debut!

Boxer Dog Cali at Sub Sea Systems

Cali the boxer can usually be found lying behind our lobby chair or stretching out upside down in the middle of the office. Living up to her name, Cali is typically laid back, although she’s not a big fan of the noises from the manufacturing bays. In spite of her woeful expression, we can count on Cali for a kiss or two to kick start our mornings. She enjoys foot massages and shared snacks. She’s a fantastic big sister to her new (human) brother, Wyatt.

Gunner, the chocolate lab, who just celebrated his first birthday, is full of boundless energy. Always eager to play or be petted, his huge personality lights up the room. Given the opportunity, he will play fetch non-stop. Gunner helps keep our office free of empty cardboard boxes by ripping them into smaller, more manageable pieces. Recently, Gunner was a pivotal part of his parents' engagement, carrying out the huge responsibility of helping his Dad propose. Watch Gunner keep our office in top shape.

According to research by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, about 20 percent of all companies in the United States allow employees to bring their furry friends along to the workplace. Expectedly, the most common pet guests at workplaces are dogs, at 76 percent.  Some of the most successful companies, such as Google, Amazon and Ben & Jerry’s, welcome pets on their premises. Pets improve teamwork, job satisfaction and lower employee stress levels. Who wouldn’t like to pet a cute pooch every now and then?

Want to learn more about Oli, Cali and Gunner? Of course, they have their own Instagram account! Check out their antics here:

Do you have an office dog or pet? Share a photo below!

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