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

After training every day for the past year, Tuff is prepared to take on the challenge of the 19-mile open ocean swim between 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,”  Tuff says in a statement provided by Clean Ocean Access.

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,” Tuff said. 

Tuff is a Director of 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, Tuff 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.”

According to McLaughlin, Tuff will be in Jamestown all month training for the swim.

For more information and updates, visit www.cleanoceanaccess.org.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What's Up Newp. He was born and raised in Rhode Island and graduated from Coventry High School. He serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and serves on the Board of Directors for Potter League for Animals. Ryan also is currently the Senior Editor - North America for Mountain News, publisher of OnTheSnow. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).