Meet Our Marine Debris Specialist: Max Kraimer

I hope to make a difference by using my science background to collect meaningful data that’s accessible to the local community and inspires change.

When he’s not analyzing microplastics and crunching data, Max Kraimer nurtures a love of the deep sea. His fearless curiosity and desire to explore the unknown leads him to the depths of the ocean floor, uncovering shipwrecks and underwater species.  

Max holds a Bachelor of Science in marine biology, with a minor on sustainability studies from Roger Williams University. Initially, his undergraduate studies focused on oyster farming and aquaculture. He soon learned about the pervasive problem of plastic pollution and marine debris in our coastal waters, a challenge that affects all trophic levels in the marine environment, from oysters to large mammals. 

His research focus at Roger Williams shifted to working with plastic pollution and identifying coastal locations along Narragansett Bay with the most marine debris accumulation. Today, Max is in the unique position to realize his undergraduate work and use his research to solve real-world problems.

Since joining the team in 2017 Max has worked to expand marina trash skimmer technology in Southeast New England by leveraging relationships with residents and local, state and federal officials.  He is responsible for maintaining and operating four marina trash skimmers located on Aquidneck Island, with prospects to expand the technology into other cities throughout New England.

“I hope to make a difference by using my science background to collect meaningful data that’s accessible to the local community and inspires change here and now,” says Max, who is also a PADI rescue diver certified in scientific diving by the American Academy of Underwater Sciences.

Before coming on board as a marine debris specialist, Max gained experience with COA as an environmental science intern for three consecutive semesters, performing inspections of the marina trash skimmers, leading the weekly AFTER5 cleanups and organizing events.

“The biggest threat to our oceans is the thought that someone else will save them,” says Max, referring to one of his favorite quotes by Marcus Eriksen of the 5 Gyres Institute. “That’s why I think it’s really important for us, as the next generation, to take action and ensure that our coastal waters are healthy so that we can enjoy ocean activities for years to come.”

Where did you grow up?

I was born and raised in West Hartford, a suburb smack in the middle of Connecticut. With the ocean roughly 50 miles away, I wasn’t readily at the beach and spent most of my weeknights and weekends playing sports with my friends.

What is your first memory of the ocean?

 During my childhood, I have an ingrained memory of not necessarily building sand castles but overall just playing in the sand.  Digging, throwing it at my sister and the occasional full body burial. The more recent memories I have are the relaxing times on simply laying on the beach catching some rays and letting the oceans energy absorb my unwanted stress.  

What is your favorite ocean activity?

Favorite ocean activity would have to be SCUBA diving. I have over 120 logged dives with a max depth of 103 ft.  I love swimming among the fish and observing underwater boat wrecks when the water is clear. Living in RI where the visibility rarely extends past 5ft I enjoy crawling on the seafloor observing the abundant life that Narragansett Bay has to offer.

What motivates you to work in ocean conservation?

 Through my studies I struggled to find exactly what topic to study in the vast field of marine biology.  With an ecosystem as diverse as the ocean, it was hard to really pick just one species to focus on. When I started to learn more about plastic pollution and marine debris it was easy to jump into the study because I realized that this a newly developed, understudied, topic that affects all trophic levels in our oceans.  I saw an opportunity in the ocean conservation field and I ran with it. While growing in this rapidly moving field I get more imbedded within ocean conservancy as a whole, and use it as a way to make personal sustainable changes on land.


COA Ocean Science Speaker Series

This month Clean Ocean Access is launching a monthly Ocean Science Speaker Series featuring scientists and researchers across disciplines, ranging from marine biology and engineering  to marine affairs and pharmaceutical sciences.

COA board president, Monica DeAngelis, kicks-off the first presentation on Tuesday, November 13th at the Newport Public Library from 6:00 to 7:00PM. Monica is a marine mammal biologist at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center. She holds a Bachelors of Science in biology from University of New Hampshire and a Masters of Science in biology from San Diego State University.

Marine animals use sound to navigate, communicate, find food, locate mates, and avoid predators. Noise is a recognized form of pollution and we’ve begun to recognize the threat it poses to marine life. Monica’s presentation will focus on the impacts of ocean noise on marine life, the sources of human-generated ocean noise, and what is being done and what you can do to address anthropogenic (man-made) ocean noise.

All presentations will be held at the Newport Public Library from 6:00 to 7:00PM.

2019 speaker dates coming soon!

Meet Our Program Coordinator: Jessie Frascotti

I want to help preserve these marine environments so that 50 or 100 years from now other kids and adults can experience the ocean the way I have.

If you ask Jessica Frascotti, she learned to swim before she could walk. Since she was a child Jessie has nurtured a deep love of the ocean, an appreciation that has become her lifelong passion. She’s been snorkeling in the U.S. Virgin Islands since the age of twelve, returning to dive in the same spots off the island of St. John each year.

However, in 2011 when she returned to her beloved island and its surrounding waters, she knew the reef was struggling. Jessie was troubled by how much the coral had changed and how few fish she saw when snorkeling.

It was on that trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands that Jessie realized she wanted to pursue a career in the field of ocean conservation. She later went on to study abroad at the School for Field Studies on South Caicos, a small island in Turks in Caicos, where she studied tropical marine ecology and researched the behavior of spotted eagle rays.

After graduating from Holy Cross in 2015 with a degree in marine biology and environmental science, Jessie returned to the island of St. John once again, where she began working as an eco-tour guide providing kayaking, snorkeling, paddle boarding and hiking tours. She also educated tourists about the native fish, plants, coral and wildlife species on the island and how visitors could help preserve these different species and ecosystems.

In addition to working as an eco-tour guide, Jessie also served as a first mate on several charter boats and helped design a coral restoration program. After two years working on St. John, Jessie returned to the United States where she began her career at Clean Ocean Access in January 2018.

As the program coordinator Jessie hopes to educate people on the challenges our ocean faces and be the voice of change in a community that can be a leader in sustainability. She brings five years of experience in marine and environmental science program management, as well as environmental science education. Jessie is a PADI certified divemaster and holds a United States Coast Guard 50 ton Captain’s license.

Where did you grow up?

I was born in Needham, MA and grew up spending summers in Martha’s Vineyard where my love for the ocean began.

What is your first memory of the ocean?

My parents had me in the ocean since I was a baby and I was no older than 5 or 6 when my mom and dad bought me my first snorkel mask. I remember immersing myself in the water and immediately seeing little fish including a small puffer fish at State Beach in Martha’s Vineyard. From that day on I spent most my summer days in the ocean.

What is your favorite ocean activity?

Scuba diving and snorkeling are my two favorite ocean activities. There is something so special and breathtaking when I get to swim with turtles, sharks, eagle rays, and all kinds of fish all in their natural environment.

What motivates you to work in ocean conservation?

I want to be able to share these experiences and the beautiful ecosystems we find in the ocean with future generations to come. In my lifetime of 25 years I have already seen drastic change in the spots I use to swim and snorkel as a child. I want to help preserve these marine environments, not only to help sustain life on the planet, but also so that 50 or 100  years from now, other kids and adults can  experience the ocean the way I have.

Meet Our Development Coordinator: Garrett Russ

My lifetime experience of never living farther than a mile from the ocean has made me aware of the intrinsic value of the ocean

For Garrett Russ spending time near the water has been a lifelong habit. His youth consisted of crabbing, fishing, sea kayaking and boating whenever possible. When he was not on the water, Garrett was out hiking in the coastal forests of southern New England with his Golden Retriever, or in the classroom at Project Oceanology, a marine science educational organization in Groton, Connecticut.

Garrett first came to the Ocean State to attend Roger Williams University, where he studied international relations and sustainability. Since graduating in 2016 he has come to call Aquidneck Island home. Garrett comes to Clean Ocean Access with two years of experience in the renewable energy sector having worked as an energy advisor at Tesla, Inc.

He also brings five years of experience in business management for an antique shop, where he focused on sustainability goals through the relationship of reuse of art and antiques. As development coordinator at Clean Ocean Access Garrett hopes to advance the organization’s mission by furthering its impact in the community and strengthening local partnerships.

Where did you grow up?

I am from Waterford Connecticut where I grew up a stone’s throw away from Long Island Sound. I now call Aquidneck Island home.

What is your first memory of the ocean?

The first time I experienced the ocean I was a few weeks old when my parents brought me down to the beach. This constant exposure makes it hard for me to recall a “first memory” of the ocean. I have countless memories of trips to the beach as far back as I can remember.

What is your favorite ocean activity?

I enjoy ocean activities ranging from scuba, surfing and sea kayaking to leisurely swimming and enjoying the water.

What motivates you to work in ocean conservation?

My lifetime experience of never living farther than a mile from the ocean has made me aware of the intrinsic value of the ocean. This understanding led me to study issues related to sustainability with a focus on marine issues. I have now dedicated myself to a career of preserving and protecting the ocean for future generations to come.

Last Chance to RSVP to Our Hallowine Wine Tasting Fundraiser at Greenvale Vineyards

Join us for our fall fundraiser at Greenvale Vineyards Thursday, October 25th from 5-7:30pm and come mingle with good people for a good cause. Enjoy local wine, tasty treats from Scratch Kitchen & Catering, and live music by local artists Melissa Chaplin and Nate Farrar.  COA gear will be available for purchase! Advanced tickets are $30. Door Tickets are available at $40. RSVP online at: