Ben Tuff Swim 2021

Swimming with Sharks to Improve Ocean Health

Ben Tuff is setting out to be the first person to swim 19 miles nonstop from Block Island, RI to Jamestown, RI through the Rhode Island Sound and into Narragansett Bay on July 31, 2021 to raise funds and awareness for environmental non-profit organization Clean Ocean Access, based in Middletown, RI.

After training every day for the past year, Ben is prepared to take on the challenge of the 19-mile open ocean swim because he has seen firsthand the beauty and fragility of the ocean that he loves. “We can’t sit back and think our oceans will heal on their own. Clean Ocean Access works day in and day out to eliminate marine debris, improve water quality and protect and preserve shoreline access. Their work must advance, so I’m helping to make that happen.”

Ben’s dedication to ocean conservation and passion for incredible feats has gained the attention of Australian technology company Ocean Guardian, maker of the world’s only proven shark deterrent, and he will be wearing it for the entire swim. “It’s nice to have the peace of mind that you are doing something to deter sharks because once you’re out there, you are part of the food chain.”


Ben Tuff in the water during his 2019 swim around Conanicut Island. 

Ben Tuff is a Director Admissions at a private school, a former triathlete, and grew up in Jamestown, where he learned to appreciate the opportunities and experiences that come from an accessible shoreline, swimming waters, and a healthy ocean. In August 2019, Ben took action to help Clean Ocean Access and swam 23 miles nonstop, without a wetsuit, around Conanicut Island, raising over $54,000. As Ben recalled, “I knew there was an awesome opportunity for me to help raise money for a grassroots organization that has lasting effects on our marine environment, so swimming to Improve Ocean Health for Rhode Island is what I’m doing.”

Since 2006, Clean Ocean Access has worked for a clean, healthy ocean that is accessible to all. With all the threats facing our ocean, their work is needed today more than ever. Dave McLaughlin, the Executive Director, shared “Ben’s swim will end on the afternoon of July 31, but our work to protect the ocean never stops. Whether your passion is professional sailing, recreational surfing, casual walks along the shoreline, fishing as a family tradition, or resting peacefully on the beach – our work will take bolder steps and greater strides to improve ocean health for the Ocean State.”


Thank you to our 2021 Sponsors!

We are looking for support from community businesses in Block Island, Jamestown, and the surrounding towns. If you are interested, contact us today.

This year’s sponsors include: 

  • Zero Prophet Coffee, a microroaster in Washington, CT. 
  • Otoro Sportfishing, New England’s premier offshore center console fishing experience.
  • Drink Simple, providing refreshing and ultra-hydrating water collected from maple trees, exploding with plant-powered nutrients.

Thank you to all our Supporters!

Justin & Jessica Jones $1,023
Geoffrey Tuff $1,023
Jonathan Frank $1,000
Pat Tuff: Good Luck Ben! I am so proud of what you are doing but, naturally, as your mother, I am nervous of that big long swim and all the creatures in the sea!! But I know you’ll have a great support team!! XOXO $1,000
Elizabeth Hazard $1,000
Ashley Brokaw $512
The LeFort Family  $512
The Moody Family $512
Jane, Bert & Caroline Lippincott $512
Monica DeAngelis $511
East Coast Construction $511
Stephen Bakios $511
Jennifer & Joe Trautwein $511
Polly Hutcheson $511
Liz Frank $504
Hugh & Susan Balloch $500
Mary Louise Antle: I think the world of Ben Tuff and happy to support any and all help we can give to our precious oceans! $500
David Booth & Jane Garnett $500
Joan & Tom Swift $500
Liz Baretta – Perik $500
The Kreisberg Family $500
Alexander Tuff: Go Ben Go! $500
Monica & Matthew Vogelstein $500
Kevin & Dina Quirk $500
Taran & Natalie Davies $500
Walter & Marguerite Bopp $500
CHris Tuff & Family $500
Elizabeth Edie $307
Jennifer Wu & Steve Louie $300
Kathryn Wooley Dutton $256
Leighton Wood: Go Ben Go!!!! The Wood Family $250
Thomas Greenwood $250
Jenn & Jay Cherosnick $250
Anantvijay Singh: Ben, thank you for championing this cause, which benefits all of us on this planet. Your consistent preparation, effort and resolve is inspiring. We’ll be cheering you on! -Anant and Raji $250
Anantvijay Singh $250
James & Kate Wright $250
Peter Houldin $250
The Booth Family $250
The Nickol Family $250
Ned & Christina Wood $250
Robert Sedgewick $205
Kim & Jeff Westcott $205
Dennis Fulling: Good luck Ben! $205
Joanna Salvo $205
Virginia Reynolds $202
Brigitte Paulick $200
Kim Potter $200
Hannah Swett $200
Basil & Anna Williams: The entire Williams Family is rooting you on in this admirable and challenging venture. Bravo. $190
Chris & Sarah Wood $103
Nicholas Benson $103
Jessica Masters $103
Sandy Burns $103
The Wynns $103
Gregory Matthews $103
Edward Flanagan $103
Kim Ferguson $103
Elizabeth Beisel $103
Anne Garnett: Swim hard! Stay safe! Thank you! You’ve got this, Ben, and Narragansett Bay deeply appreciates you!! $103
The Ryan Family $103
Dennis Nixon $103
Cynthia Hogan $103
John Horton $103
Suz & Dan O’Donnell $103
The Barrett Family Ben, you’re a Hero. The Barrett Family $103
The Mayers Family $103
Geoffrey Flickinger $103
Deborah Wadsworth $103
The Scheidt Family $103
Mary Engelhard $103
Spencer Potter $103
John Aimers $103
John Austin Murphy $103
David Goldsmith $103
Isabel Babcock $103
Dennis Fulling $103
Brett & Chris Bodnar $103
Susan Coffey: Block on!!! $103
Nicholas Lieder $103
Benjamin Pastor $103
Chuck & Leslie Gordon: Congrats, Ben, for all you do for COA. $103
Summer Hornbostel $103
Lily Malcom $103
Karen Estes $103
Carleen O’Brien $103
Andrew & Maria Frank Lira $102
Pen & Fritz Attaway $100
Charles Frank: Way to go, Ben! $100
Michael Schaus $100
Michael Jemiolo $100
Conanicut Marine Services: Best Wishes. All of us at Conanicut Marine Services. $100
The Longley Family: All the Longleys will be cheering you on, congratulations!! $100
Mia & David Fitzgerald Thank you Ben! Mia & David Fitzgerald $100
James Wharton & Mary Hutchinson $100
Martha Milot $100
Jennifer Zaccara: Ben, I believe in you!  $100
Janet Burke $100
Sarah Tuff Dunn & Carlton Dunn $100
Deborah Foppert $100
William Ewing $100
Jerry & Tina McIntyre $100
Maureen Madden-Denney $100
Steven Pack $100
Maria Steck $100
Clay & Jeff Boden $100
Joan Hall $100
Sarah Salmon $100
Carla Cook $100
The Mosenthal Family: We are cheering for you, Ben. Have a safe swim! $100
Amanda McGrew $51
James Carmellini: Good luck Ben. . . may you have fair winds and following seas! $51
James Rawcliffe $51
Samantha Wald $51
Edward Neeb $51
Christian Smith $51
Amanda Bridged $51
Andrej Bogdanovics $51
Jessica Marullo $51
Kate Weiler $51
Arden Reynolds: You’re an inspiration! Good luck, Ben! $50
Candy & Chris Powell $50
John Reumann $50
John McGeehan $31
Kaitlin McCafferty $26
Jessica Selock $26
Mike Michaud $26
Rachel SanFanAndre $25
Karen Sheehan $25
Shiela C. Swett $25
Emily Reynolds $25
James Peterson $25
Richard & Jane Tracy $25
Benjamin Malcom $25
Artur Marciano $21
Virginia Grace $20
Nanette Blish $20
Liza Wood $20
Clara Rodriguez $15
Francesca Morano $10


Fundraising Goal


Current Funds Raised


Our Impact in the Jamestown Community

Volunteers take our inaugural Jamestown water samples.

We established a zero waste education program at Melrose Elementary School in 2020. Through this program, schools received both financial and programmatic support to start a sustainable composting program within their school lunchrooms. Students, teachers, and school staff worked together to learn best environmental practices and to divert food scraps that were turned into nutrient rich soil amendment for local gardens. The finished product was sold at a “Bake Sale” at the end of the year to raise money for continued composting. We raised over $600! 

In 2020, we initiated weekly summer beach cleanups at Mackerel Cove, engaging visitors and locals in removing potential marine debris. Every Tuesday evening throughout the summer, our programming team provides cleanup materials to beachgoers. This initiative is instrumental in keeping our coastlines clean and healthy.

Volunteers roll a wheel barrow full of debris at the 2012 Hull Cove Cleanup. 

Two years ago, your generous support of Ben’s swim around Conanicut Island made a huge impact. Since that time, we have expanded our programming on Conanicut Island in several areas. In April 2021, we took our inaugural water samples in Jamestown! Every week, we now test Fort Getty, Dumpling Cove, and Potter Cove on Conanicut Island to monitor and improve water quality. Expanding our OCEAN program to Jamestown was possible due to our dedicated volunteers and the support of the whole Jamestown community.

The student ambassadors are pictured here accepting the check from the sales with their composting champion teacher Julie Westall.

Through Healthy Soils Healthy Seas Rhode Island, we provide over 100 residents and businesses of Jamestown with composting. Diverting food waste from landfill is one of the impactful actions we can take to promote ocean health with our actions on land. Thanks to our composting partners and the dedication of Jamestown residents to zero waste, we are able to offer this service across the Island.

Commercial compostis picked up by partners such as The Compost Plant using these large yellow bins. 


A family participates in our Mackerel Cove weekly AFTER5 cleanup. 

In addition to our new summer cleanups, we have been hosting an annual beach cleanup at Hull Cove since 2006. Over time we have seen a shift in the debris collected- from larger discarded items to smaller pieces of persistent pollution.Though this is a positive change and we love seeing cleaner beaches, there is always more work to be done. We are glad to play a continued role in keeping Jamestown’s coastlines free of marine debris, and are grateful for the dedication of the community to do the same!

We have also been assisting the town with plastic bag ordinances, signage at state parks, long term planning, and energizing stewardship action for all shoreline access points. We played a key role in pushing for and instituting the plastic bag ban in the town of Jamestown on Earth Day 2018. Together with an informed and impassioned community, we worked with the Town Council to pass an ordinance that influences a change of behavior in which residents bring their own reusable bags when they shop. 

We are grateful to our Jamestown ocean champions, and look forward to pushing forward in each of these areas together! 

2019 Swim Jamestown Event

As mentioned above, this year’s swim is not Ben Tuff’s first major swim for COA! In 2019, Ben swam around Conanicut Island to raise over $50,000. To learn more about his past feats, visit our past events page. 

Ben Tuff speaking with reporters after his 2019 swim.