The Sea Dragon has made its way into Windsor for the Tall Ship Festival but the sailing vessel is more than just a crowd attraction.
Besides taking people on tours, the crew conducts research on marine life, collecting samples for water quality and pollution testing.
"Here in the Great Lakes we’re looking at two different things. We’re looking at plastic particulate, which is plastic floating in the water. We’ve also been looking at persistent pollutants like fire retardants and PCBs in the water," said ship captain Eric Loss.
The ship, which is docked at Dieppe Gardens, sailed the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans collecting samples before making its way to the Great Lakes.
"The samples still have to go back to the lab and get analyzed, which could take six months to a year before results get published, but we have found just looking at samples as we’ve been going by, things like … lots of small pieces of plastic broken down from bottles and various other items that get washed in and float around in the lakes and become part of the food chain," Loss said.
The Tall Ships Festival runs from Friday Aug. 30 to Sunday Sep. 1 at Dieppe Gardens and features deck tours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday to Sunday.
Tours are $5 per ship or $15 for an all access pass.