Rayon Carruthers shares the joy of the seas with young children
RAYON CARRUTHERS, a marine research vessel captain, admits that he has been fascinated by the sea since he was a small child. That love, he says, has since blossomed into his dream career. Today, he works to nurture and develop that same passion for young children, in essence paying it forward.
“I was only about four years old, on vacation with my family. My sister and I went on a boat ride on River Rhone in Geneva, Switzerland. It dawned on me that anyone, could step onto this floating thing and take to the seas. I was hooked, entirely engulfed by this notion that I could be out there. On that day, I swore to keep going out there (the sea),” he said.
Shortly after graduating from high school, he decided to pursue his dreams and went to the University of the West Indies, where he studied environmental and marine biology. But after working as an environmental officer at the National Environment and Planning Agency, he realised that he was still not fulfilling his purpose.
“Years later, I recognised that I hated a lot of what came with being a scientist working with the government. Then, in Florida, United States, I was working with a private environmental consulting firm, and I hated a lot of what came with that too,” he shared.
It struck him, however, that he loved being at sea and so decided to pursue a career as a ship’s captain. It was not, however, an easy decision for the young father.
“The responsibility of having to make a living makes it scary to take risks especially when you have a newborn child. But I wanted to teach Meadow (his daughter) not to be afraid to chase her dreams. I couldn’t stomach having to, one day, tell her that I didn’t chase my dream because I was afraid,” he said.
The journey had its challenges. He did various jobs on various vessels – from sailing, scuba diving boats, towing boats, fishing boats to party boats, all preparing him for his ultimate dream job of a marine research vessel captain.
Having realised the dream years later, he has chosen to gift the same experience of the seas to young Jamaican children through an organisation which he has set up.
“I wanted every Jamaican child to have opportunities to enjoy the sea, be out there on the ocean, see the wildlife, feel the motion, communicate with the spirit of the sea. So, I started Oceans For Everyone Jamaica to provide them with exactly that,” he said.
The organisation has been offering boating experiences to Jamaican children at no cost since 2017. The programme has served to enrich the educational experiences of the many Jamaican children who have participated, while fostering good character building.
Oceans for Everyone Inc. offers customised boating tours that are centred on fun and education about boating and sea exploration for small groups of children. There are also demonstrations and activities by the captain and crew. The intention is to build a platform for all kids to discover boating, learn the craft, gain new experiences, build new skills and self-confidence while having fun, said Carruthers.
Five-year-old Adam Miller, who went on one of the trips in 2022, was elated after his first experience on the boat. “I enjoyed it. I was given a chance to also steer the boat and that was exciting for me,” he said.
Carruthers says he is hoping to raise funds to organise a trip in December. Persons may donate to the activities of Oceans for Everyone by visiting the website at https://ofejamaica.org