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Press Release: University of South Florida Partnership

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Tampa Bay Beaches, FL – Ballyhoo Media continues to redefine the out-of-home advertising industry by placing a strong emphasis on its sustainability efforts.This past month, Ballyhoo joined forces with researchers from the Center for Ocean Mapping and Innovative Technologies (COMIT) at USF’s College of Marine Science and The International SeaKeepers Society to install data loggers on its digital billboard boats. This collaboration aims to support the Seabed 2030 Program, a global initiative dedicated to mapping the ocean floor for a sustainable future.

Aligned with the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, this groundbreaking partnership will harness the potential of Ballyhoo Media’s fleet of digital billboard boats to gather essential data. This data will not only drive scientific research but also pave the way for lasting solutions to Florida’s environmental challenges.

By delving into seabed studies, scientists anticipate gaining deeper insights into the impacts of climate change on waterways and identifying at-risk marine habitats. Despite progress, as of May 2023, only a quarter of the ocean floor has been mapped. The ambitious goal of the Seabed 2030 project is to achieve comprehensive mapping by 2030, enhancing our understanding of the world’s oceans and supporting sustainable marine resource management.

Underpinning these efforts is Ballyhoo’s Blue Beacon program, launched last year. This dedicated division is committed to championing environmental technologies and initiatives, including carbon offsetting, water testing, and cleanup campaigns.

Reflecting on Ballyhoo’s journey, Helen Roldan, Director of Communications & Public Affairs, remarked, “Since our inception in 2016, Ballyhoo has been at the forefront of promoting environmental awareness and education through our digital screens. Our involvement in the Seabed 2030 program, an integral facet of our Blue Beacon Program, signifies our unwavering commitment to driving tangible progress in ocean sustainability. We take immense pride in contributing to this transformative endeavor.”

Launched at the UN Ocean Conference in 2017, the Seabed 2030 program involves equipping data logging technology integrated into boats’ navigation systems. Every two months, the University of South Florida will collect and integrate data from Ballyhoo Media’s boats into the Seabed 2030 database, enhancing the understanding of Tampa Bay Beaches’ seafloor ecosystems.

“The International SeaKeepers Society is thrilled to partner with Ballyhoo Media in the Seabed 2030 project,” said Katie Sheahan, The International SeaKeepers Society’s Citizen Science Manager. “SeaKeepers is proud to continue our mission of protecting and advocating for our oceans. With Ballyhoo’s involvement in the Seabed 2030 project, we will be better equipped to map Florida coastlines and contribute valuable data to this initiative.”

“Ocean depth collected by boats in the crowdsourced bathymetry program helps to produce better nautical charts for safer maritime navigation,” remarked Dr. Mark Luther, Associate Professor of Physical Oceanography at the University of South Florida.

The data collected through Seabed 2030 holds the potential to bridge scientific research gaps, enhance navigational safety, identify hazards, and support ocean scientists and mariners. This endeavor is made possible through the generous support of the Nippon Foundation and the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO).




The water is full of potential that’s yet to be explored. Ballyhoo Media is a family-owned start-up that is revolutionizing the way we live, experience, and communicate on the waterways. Founded by a love for the oceans, Ballyhoo encourages the community to build stronger connections with our natural environment through branded activations, unique events, public service announcements, and local partnerships. We take action to make preservation, conservation, and sustainability our priority with every opportunity. In 2023, Ballyhoo launched its Blue Beacon program, a branch of the company focused on environmental initiatives such as environmental technology, carbon-offsetting, water testing, clean-ups, and more. Learn more at


The International SeaKeepers Society is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization that facilitates oceanographic research, conservation, and education through direct involvement with the yachting community. Providing educational resources and hands-on marine science experiences to students is the primary focus for ensuring the wellbeing of our planet. SeaKeepers enables the yachting community to take full advantage of their unique potential to advance marine sciences and raise awareness about global ocean issues. Founded in Monaco in 1998, The International SeaKeepers Society has been supporting ocean conservation through direct involvement with the yachting community for twenty-five years. What started as a data collection program aboard select luxury yachts, has evolved to engage thousands of participants annually with at-sea and coastal programming. Today SeaKeepers’ mission is focused on the DISCOVERY Yacht Program which comprises Scientist-Led Expeditions, Citizen Science, Educational Outreach, and Community Engagement. SeaKeepers is a catalyst working with governments, scientists, institutions, and other marine organizations to further its mission and support sensible, achievable marine protection and restoration. Activities take place globally through the efforts of headquarters based in the United States with offices located on the east and west coast, and international representation in Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the South Pacific. For more information, please visit


A collaborative project between The Nippon Foundation and the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO), Seabed 2030 seeks to inspire the complete mapping of the world’s ocean by 2030, and to compile all the data into the freely available GEBCO Ocean Map. Seabed 2030 is formally endorsed as a Decade Action of the UN Ocean Decade.


The Center for Ocean Mapping and Innovative Technologies (COMIT) is a 5-year, $9 million cooperative agreement between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office of Coast Survey and the University of South Florida’s College of Marine Science which launched in 2020. One of COMIT’s primary programs is its crowdsourced bathymetry initiative called ‘Crowd the Bay’ which seeks to mobilize volunteered depth information from mariners in and around Tampa Bay, Florida. The University of South Florida, a high-impact research university dedicated to student success and committed to community engagement, generates an annual economic impact of more than $6 billion. With campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee, USF serves approximately 50,000 students who represent nearly 150 different countries. U.S. News & World Report has ranked USF as one of the nation’s top 50 public universities for five consecutive years, and this year USF earned its highest ranking ever among all universities public or private. In 2023, USF became the first public university in Florida in nearly 40 years to be invited to join the Association of American Universities, a prestigious group of the leading universities in the United States and Canada. Through hundreds of millions of dollars in research activity each year and as one of the top universities in the world for securing new patents, USF is a leader in solving global problems and improving lives. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference. Learn more at