From Block Island to Jamestown
A Swim to Protect Our Ocean
July 31, 2021
The Ocean State has its own superhero, and his name is Ben Tuff.
His superpower? He swims. No special fins or wetsuit, just a fierce determination to swim long distances across open water, all for a cause: the ocean he loves.
By day, Ben Tuff is a private school administrator, but when not at the serene Connecticut campus, you’ll find Ben swimming for hours at a time. He’s training for the challenge of his life – a swim from Block Island to Jamestown, RI- to help fund the work of the environmental nonprofit Clean Ocean Access.
When asked why he wades out into freezing open waters with ripping currents, Ben says, “Growing up enjoying the water, I learned to appreciate the environment that Narragansett Bay provides. However, we’ve watched our oceans fill with debris, been barred from accessing our favorite fishing spot, and have been prohibited from swimming at our local beach because of bacteria counts. We can’t sit back and think our oceans will clean themselves. Clean Ocean Access works day in and day out to eliminate debris that will end up in our oceans. They also reach hundreds of local students every year to inspire the next generation to be good stewards of our environment, and they advocate for better policies.”
Ben Tuff in the water during his 2019 swim around Conanicut Island.
Since 2006, Clean Ocean Access (COA) has worked for a clean, healthy ocean that is accessible to all. With all the threats facing our ocean, this work is needed today more than ever. COA’s co-founder and executive director Dave McLaughlin shared, “Ben’s vision of how to help COA and his laser focus on training for success aligns perfectly with our vision. Training is like our mission: it never stops. Funds raised will allow us to greater expand the work we do on Conanicut Island, bringing more of our education, outreach, and environmental action to benefit the entire island for years to come.”
Ben’s passion for challenging swims has gained the attention of Australian technology company Ocean Guardian, maker of the world’s only proven shark deterrent, and he’ll be wearing it during his Block Island to Beavertail swim on July 31. “It’s nice to have the peace of mind you’re doing something to deter sharks because once you’re out there, you’re part of the food chain,” Ben shared when talking about getting ready for his incredible fundraiser. “To warm-up for my Rhode Island swim, I’ll be swimming around Key West on June 12th, but my heart is in Jamestown and making a difference through supporting Clean Ocean Access.”
Block Island to Jamestown: 19 miles, 2 islands, and Rhode Island’s local superhero. This is going to be an interesting summer!
Thank you to all our Donors!
Current Funds Raised
Current Funds Raised
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.