A research and expedition vessel has been named in honour of the late Rob Stewart, the director and environmental activist behind the award-winning documentary Sharkwater.
Marine research and conservation non-profit organization Fins Attached has partnered with Stewart’s Sharkwater team to christen the boat and help them finish the film, Sharkwater Extinction.
Stewart went missing in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of the Florida Keys while undergoing an incredibly deep night dive while on a shoot for Sharkwater Extinction earlier this year. The 37-year-old Toronto-based filmmaker disappeared under the waves on Jan. 31. Sadly, his body was discovered deep in the water on Feb. 3.
Stewart’s parents Brian and Sandy were on hand for the christening ceremony on July 27 in Fort Lauderdale.
“The Sharkwater team is proud to be a part of the Sharkwater research vessel and we know Rob Stewart was thrilled to have been involved in this significant initiative. It’s imperative we support the oceans and all its creatures and this boat will provide an excellent resource for researchers, scientists, and conservation groups for years to come,” the Stewarts said, echoing their son’s environmental message. “As Rob said, ‘’Conservation is the preservation of human life on earth and that above all else is worth fighting for.’”
Stewart’s family and friends gathered at the christening, spreading his ashes in the water to bless the boat’s mission.
“Fly free Robbie, and bless this mission. This vessel will be a phoenix to rise from your ashes. Thank you brother, for all you have instigated and inspired,” the team wrote on Instagram.
The Sharkwater boat is available for science students and film crews to conduct expeditions and fieldwork on the water that supports Fins Attached’s mandate of marine conservation with particular focus on sharks.