Ocean Rafting Skipper, Environmental Manager and Master Reef Guide, James Unsworth.
Ocean Rafting Skipper, Environmental Manager and Master Reef Guide, James Unsworth. Phill Gordon

How this man turned his passion into a career

THE WHITUSNDAYS has another Master Reef guide in its midst.

Ocean Rafting' James Unsworth has joined the ranks, to become an accredited Master Reef Guide.

Master Reef Guides are recognised as the world's leading reef guides, interpreters and story tellers, sharing the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

These reef ambassadors provide up to date information on the reef, share stories of the magical World Heritage Area and explain what guests can do to make a difference.

The Master Reef Guide program is delivered by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators and Tourism and Events Queensland, and is the first of its kind for the reef.

The skipper and environmental manager underwent a rigorous selection process and in-depth training and field course, training with national and international experts who are leaders in a variety of different fields.

Mr Unsworth now has access to information and skill sharing opportunities through a private guiding network and will proudly wear the distinctive professional uniform that will identify him as a leader in the Great Barrier Reef tourism industry.

Along with his fellow guides, Mr Unsworth will become the voice of the Great Barrier Reef.

Mr Unsworth also holds a Geography and Ocean Science degree which encompasses all things ocean, from coastal morphology and tidal systems to marine biology and global ocean patterns providing him with a comprehensive understanding of the ocean system.

"I am so fortunate to work in the beautiful Whitsundays. I'm able to appreciate this amazing ecosystem as my nine-to-five, but I have also become incredibly aware of the stresses that the Great Barrier Reef faces,” he said.

As part of his role with Ocean Rafting, James also conducts weekly Eye On The Reef surveys for GBRMPA and is involved in the reef restoration project in Mantaray Bay.

"I hope to use my influence as an eco-host to help maintain this incredible part of the world for future generations to enjoy,” said James.

James and the Ocean Rafting team are passionate environmental ambassadors, committed to sustainability and minimising threats to the Great Barrier Reef's health, proudly presenting the values of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area to visitors and investing in important environmental initiatives.

Ocean Rafting was recently inducted into the coveted Ecotourism Australia Hall of Fame for being continuously certified for 20 years or longer. There were only 14 operators Australia-wide who have been acknowledged with this achievement, with Ocean Rafting being the only one in the Whitsundays.