West Marine Announces Winners of 2016 World Oceans Day Bag Design Contest

Winning artwork will appear on reusable, eco-friendly bags available in select stores across North America this June; proceeds benefit nonprofit BlueFuture Fund

Watsonville, CA, May 19, 2016 –West Marine, the world’s premier Waterlife Outfitter, has announced the winners of its inaugural World Oceans Day Bag Design Contest. Twelve-year-old Elsa Simenstad of San Anselmo, California, won in the 5-12 age category; and 16-year-old Amber Davis of Key Largo, Florida, won in the 13-18 age category.

For this contest, the company invited children and teens to submit original artwork inspired by the 2016 World Oceans Day theme — Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet. In keeping with that theme, Simenstad’s artwork depicts a healthy ocean with colorful, vibrant sea life.

“I am a sailor, so the ocean is a big part of my life,” she writes. “I want to keep it as healthy and beautiful as possible.”

In Davis’ piece, a sea turtle glides past two objects, a jellyfish and a plastic shopping bag, accompanied by the words: “Do you see the difference? A turtle does not.”

“I created this piece to represent how plastic pollution easily can affect the ocean and the wildlife living in it,” Davis writes. Regarding plastic bags, she adds, “Their thin, transparent plasticity gives them resemblance to jellyfish, fooling turtles and other marine life that eat them, creating deformities and often (causing) fatality.”

A panel of West Marine judges selected the winning artwork based on originality, interpretation of the theme and age-appropriate technical skills. Both pieces of winning artwork and the artists’ signatures will appear on reusable, eco-friendly bags, which will be available for purchase in select West Marine stores across North America starting Wednesday, June 1, at a cost of $5 each. All proceeds from bag sales will be donated to West Marine’s BlueFuture Fund, which provides much-needed grants to community-based, nonprofit organizations across North America that are dedicated to youth waterlife adventure, education and stewardship.

Each winner of the World Oceans Day Bag Design Contest also is receiving a $250 West Marine gift card as an additional thank you.

“We’re deeply grateful to all the talented young artists who took the time to create special pieces of artwork for this contest,” says Lindsey Johnson, West Marine’s Director of Communications. “Not only are they supporting community-based youth programs on and around the water, they’re inspiring others through their own artistic vision and passion.”

In addition to selling its reusable, eco-friendly bags starting next month, West Marine also will encourage customers to take part in The Better Bag Challenge, an official event sanctioned by World Oceans Day. Starting Wednesday, June 8, West Marine will challenge customers to take the “Better Bag” pledge to stop using disposable bags for an entire year — until June 8. 2017.

“To register your name as an official ‘Better Bag’ participant, and to get more info, visit www.worldoceansday.org/challenge-organizer/,” Johnson says. “You also can share your commitment via social media using the hashtag #betterbagchallenge. We’re hoping people who want to support West Marine’s BlueFuture Fund will purchase our reusable bags during the June 1-8 fundraiser, then continue to use those bags throughout 2016-17 as part of The Better Bag Challenge.”

World Oceans Day is a major annual fundraiser for West Marine’s BlueFuture Program, allowing it to grow the BlueFuture Fund, reach more nonprofit organizations across the country, and, ultimately, have a greater impact in the lives of today’s youth.

To learn more about the BlueFuture initiative and how you can help, visit www.westmarine.com/BlueFuture.

About West Marine
Each person has a unique connection to the water. At West Marine (westmarine.com,NASDAQ: WMAR), our knowledge, enthusiasm and products prepare waterlife adventurers to foster that connection and explore their passions. With more than 260 stores located in 38 states and Puerto Rico and an eCommerce website reaching domestic, international and professional customers, West Marine is recognized as a leading Waterlife Outfitter for cruisers, sailors, anglers and paddlesports enthusiasts. Since first opening our doors in 1968, WestMarine associates continue to share the same love for the water as our customers and provide helpful advice on the gear and gadgets they need to be safe and have fun.

Media Contact

Margo Donohue | press@westmarine.com | 917.679.6945