Our Story

Breathe was founded by Sarah Ferguson in 2018.

After retiring from competitive swimming, Sarah discovered a new found love of the ocean, inspired by people like Lewis Pugh and Diana Nyad (both extreme open water swimmers) she wanted to use her love and talent of swimming to do swim for something bigger than herself. She tackled her first open water swim in Hawaii in 2017 becoming the first African women to successfully swim the ‘Kaiw”i’ channel (58.9km in 17 hr 54min and 25 seconds) This swim laid the platform for Breathe and future World Record swims- read more about those here

Sarah chose to use the publicity from this (and other swims) to put Breathe on the map. In her search for something to swim for he research showed that the three biggest threats to our planet at the time were: climate change, over fishing and plastic pollution. No one was actively talking about plastic pollution back then and there were no organisations specifically dedicated to tackling the issue. Sarah saw the gap and decided to start her own Non-profit organisation. Breathe conservation.

The name Breathe is all encompassing. In order to live we need breath. It is essential for life, without it we cannot function. Breathing helps reduce pain and facilitate child birth bringing in new life.

We need to learn to breathe slowly to get through the chaos of life. God breathed His life into the world at the very beginning of time. While we still have breath, we have potential, opportunity, purpose and responsibility to make a difference.

Breathe aims to breathe life into people.

Breathe Conservation is a South Africa based non-profit marine conservation organisation, created by record breaking swimmer Sarah Ferguson. The ocean covers 70% of the Earth’s surface – we cannot survive without it. It regulates the climate and gives us life; if we don’t protect the ocean, we will die. Sarah has used her gift of swimming to travel the world, organising swims and educating people about our oceans and plastic pollution.

Previously, Breathe focused on ways to reduce plastic in our oceans through eliminating single use plastics, and on engaging local communities to help them work towards this goal. We are now working to spread the message “Live Deeply, Tread Lightly”. With this motto, we aim to inspire future generations to reconnect with nature and be conscious of their impact on the earth. We want to encourage curiosity about where things come from (such as water, electricity, food, clothing) and where things go (such as waste management), and to consider how to eliminate single use plastic from our lives.

Breathe Conservation encourages this curiosity and consideration through multiple approaches: they offer school and corporate education talks, they promote sustainable products to use instead of plastics, we provide education resources on this topic, and they run monthly beach and reef cleans, amongst other events.


live deeply, tread lightly

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