May 5, 2022, SANTA MONICA, CA—Nikolaus Thomas Grohne has turned his longtime passion into a personal mission with purpose: He recently launched his charitable business initiative, The Ocean Liner Conservancy, intended to generate support for nonprofit entities conducting scientific projects exploring and preserving shipwrecks for future generations.
Over the past 100 years, many famous ocean liner wrecks, such as the RMS Titanic, RMS Lusitania, or HMHS Britannic, have been disintegrating at an ever-increasing pace, and time is running out to save them. But iconic ocean liners that have been spared the ultimate sacrifice, the scrapyard, like the SS United States, and the Queen Mary, are in bad shape and require urgent repairs to stay afloat.
Mr. Grohne, who had been a fundraising volunteer with the late Mr. Gregg Bemis — the American explorer and previous owner of the RMS Lusitania — in his planned expedition to the wreck, gained insights into the challenges nonprofit entities tend to face when trying to secure funding for their scientific research and conservation projects. Subsequently, he started devising various business concepts by speaking with deep-sea divers, people from maritime organizations and other nonprofits.
Instead of creating just another nonprofit entity looking for corporate sponsors, Mr. Grohne has taken the reversed approach: In June 2021, he registered Ocean Liner Endeavors, L.L.C., a California for-profit entity, with the ultimate goal of becoming a corporate sponsor for nonprofits struggling with the extremely high costs associated with underwater expedition projects.
To qualify for funding, nonprofits will be required to meet certain criteria; they will have to be properly registered in their respective countries, plus, all projects need to be scientific as well as licensed by local governments, if applicable.
Referring to the official launch of his charitable business initiative, the former financial manager-turned-entrepreneur has pledged to adhere to strict ethical business practices. “There are some for-profit companies out there that have consistently been exploiting maritime tragedies commercially by selling rather questionable and distasteful products,” said Mr. Grohne. “Shipwrecks, unfortunately, are silent witnesses to and remnants of maritime disasters,” he added. “While it is our mission to generate funding for undersea research and conservation projects, it is of the utmost importance to us that the respect for, and the dignity of, the victims will be preserved at all times.”
Mr. Grohne has launched a brand-new website, TheOceanLinerConservancy.com, to raise awareness about the importance of shipwreck exploration and conservation. In addition, the website includes an online store featuring a collection of beautiful ocean liner themed artwork created by up-and-coming artists from around the world. From every product sold, a share of the proceeds verifiably will be collected for future shipwreck conservation projects.
“Launching The Ocean Liner Conservancy has just been the first phase of our charitable business initiative. But to accomplish such an ambitious mission, we will need the support from ocean liner enthusiasts around the world. It is our vision to not only share the wonder of deep-sea wreck exploration and conservation projects, but also to provide them with opportunities to get actively involved in this unique adventure,” an excited Mr. Grohne explained.
To learn how to become part of his mission, visit TheOceanLinerConservancy.com or follow @TheOceanLinerConservancy on Facebook and Instagram.
Gilboa Quarry Installs First Underwater Freshwater Farm in the US
by Stephen Luchon
Gilboa Quarry in Ottawa, Ohio, is considered one of the premier Midwest dive locations. Offering spring-fed clear waters, an impressive marine life population, and numerous underwater attractions to explore, Gilboa has long been revered among scuba divers since opening over 30 years ago. Part of Gilboa’s appeal is its variety for divers of all levels. Boasting depths ranging from 10-43 m/30-140 ft, Gilboa Quarry provides ideal conditions for both novice and technical divers looking to develop their skills further.
Adding to its impressive feature list, Gilboa recently achieved a US milestone partnering with underwater technology innovators OCEANREEF to bring its “Nemo’s Garden” technology and experience to Ohio. In 2012, OCEANREEF pioneered Nemo’s Garden to grow plants underwater in transparent “biospheres.” After achieving considerable success with this technology in Italy and beyond, Gilboa Quarry installed the first fresh and cold water Nemo’s Garden biosphere in the United States. Installed approximately 2.4 m/8 ft below the water, the Nemo’s Garden biosphere benefits from significant sunlight, easy access for marine farmers, and has already become a beloved and much talked about and photographed attraction at Gilboa.
Working closely with OCEANREEF, Gilboa Quarry is working to provide visitors with exclusive tours through Nemo’s Garden, immersing visitors in an underwater world where herbs such as basil and a variety of microgreens and produce thrive beneath the surface in a controlled and heavily monitored environment.
Visitors participating in the guided tours will experience various exciting activities including:
• Use of specialized diving equipment: With specially tailored diving gear designed to complement the aquatic biosphere environment, guests will fully immerse themselves in an extraordinary underwater adventure.
• Tending to the Plants: Tour participants will gain hands-on experience caring for aquatic plants, exploring all of its intricacies.
• Scientific Studies: Guests will document plant growth and participate in scientific studies that increase their knowledge of underwater ecosystems and sustainability.
• Underwater Photo Ops: Thanks to underwater FaceTime access through WIFI, visitors can capture unforgettable moments in this captivating environment.
• Live Stream Feature: Nemo’s Gardens @Gilboa Quarry will showcase some of its most breathtaking moments during tours, enabling visitors to share their unforgettable experience with others via various social media platforms and websites.
Ocean Reef’s innovative approach to underwater biospheres combined with Gilboa Quarry’s breathtaking natural beauty and bountiful marine life provides an unmatched, immersive scuba experience for aquatic enthusiasts seeking adventure, wonder, and a better understanding of the underwater world. With Nemo’s Gardens previously predominately installed in warm salt water, Nemo’s Garden @ Gilboa Quarry stands as an important milestone in underwater farming research as the technology tackles a new environment. Gilboa looks forward to welcoming visitors from across the globe who wish to witness how nature meets innovation in such stunning fashion.
Stephen Luchon, a 38-year-old web developer and graphic artist from Pittsburgh, PA, enriches the scuba community with his technical expertise and artistic flair. He is also the IT Director at Gilboa Quarry in Ottawa, Ohio. An avid CCR Mixed Gas Diluent Diver with a passion for deep wreck exploration, Stephen shares his adventures and knowledge on his YouTube, Dive Current, inspiring fellow adventure-seekers worldwide.