We spoke to Declan O Rourke of NatureSafe Marine who reveals how a love for the ocean propelled their production of biodegradable plant-based cleaning products for the marine industry.
How did you come up with the idea for the business?
NatureSafe Marine was born from a love of the ocean, to help protect marine life and reduce single-use plastic pollution. Keith and Cameron are keen sailors from sunny Cape Town and I am a keen surfer from the not so sunny Ireland. Over the past 10 years we have seen the damage unfold before our very eyes and we felt the need to act. With a collective 15 years in the Superyacht industry, we felt that it was a good place to start.
Why does the industry need the solution you're providing?
The Superyacht industry has hundreds and hundreds of cleaning products but 99.9% of them are damaging to marine life and our seas, which accounts for half of the oxygen produced on Earth. We have spent the last 16 months creating a range of biodegradable products that are not only plant-based, but are in sachets. We are the first in the whole industry to introduce the sachet cleaning revolution by using our eco-effective sachet range. We can reduce the carbon footprint in shipping by 94%, save up to 95% storage space and reduce single-use plastic by keeping the same plastic bottle.
What have you enjoyed most about starting your own company?
The most enjoyable and satisfying part of starting our own company is that it all starts with an idea and you get to nurture, build and watch it grow from nothing but a seed. Don’t get me wrong, it is not all rainbows and sunshine, far from it. It takes time, hard work and dedication but most of all you need to believe in what you are doing, and we do.
What challenges did you have to overcome at the beginning of your journey?
I would say that the most difficult part of this journey so far is changing the mind set of those who use chemical cleaning products in the maritime industry. People tend to look at the bottom line or how much money they can make without giving a second thought for the oceans that our kids will inherit. They don’t see the big picture and fail to see that even though it’s a small change, it can make a huge difference if we all join together and just start.
Any bits of advice for entrepreneurs getting started in this space?
If you feel that entrepreneurial energy flowing through you, and are thinking that you would like to start your own business, make sure it is something that you love and are passionate about. Be prepared to wear many hats, to fail, to grow, to get rejected, to fall down, to feel disheartened, and to cry. But most importantly, be prepared to get up and dust yourself off and keep on moving forward.
But before all that, believe in yourself and your vision because if you don’t, who will?
What's the plan for the future of the business? Where do you see the company in 3-5 years?
From day one, our long term vision for NatureSafe Marine is to be a global premium brand that will become part of every yacht’s procurement. In doing so, we will be helping to protect our oceans, marine life and reduce our plastic waste which is destroying our sea. By 2050 there will be more plastic in our sea than fish. If that doesn’t scare you, it should.