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Race for Water Team

Oona Layolle

Operations & partners manager

Oona Layolle was introduced to sailing at an early age, growing up on sailing yachts around the world with her seafaring family.

In 2007, she began her professional maritime career, working on a variety of vessels, from pleasure sailboats to luxury yachts, but these early years lacked cause. Subsequently, her passion for marine conservation has always guided her career choices.

Over the years, Oona Layolle has accumulated impressive experience at sea, totalling over 126,000 nautical miles in officer and captain positions. She has crossed the Atlantic, sailed the North and South Pacific, the Indian Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, the Gulf of California, the Red Sea and the Caribbean Sea. She has also taken part in three expeditions to Antarctica.
In 2013, Oona Layolle joined the Sea Shepherd organization, where she held several key positions. These have included captain, campaign leader, vessel operations manager, and public relations officer. Her work has led her to lead and mount campaigns against illegal fishing to protect endangered marine species, notably to save the vaquita marina in Mexico. Ella has also taken part in investigations to dismantle protected species trafficking networks for the NGO ELI.

In addition to her field missions, Oona Layolle has also mounted and led research projects to study ocean pollution and toxicology levels in whales. She has collaborated with world-renowned marine scientists to assess the impact of microplastics on marine mammals in the Gulf of California and Mexican Pacific Islands.

She also worked for the NGO “Parley for the Oceans” as an international project manager, responsible for projects in Europe, South America, Seychelles and Sri Lanka.

After a career rich in maritime experience and concrete action to preserve the oceans, Oona Layolle now brings her expertise to the Race for Water Foundation. As head of Operations and Partners, she plays a key role in planning our operations, and defining our action strategies, and in developing strategic collaborations to support the foundation’s initiatives.