Ocean Racing Club of Victoria

Manage your waste and protect King Island’s Penguins

We love our race destinations and the unique natural beauty that King Island offers. Its ruggedness and community are deeply connected to their island home. The island is a highly productive region boasting various produce industries and serves as a critical habitat for numerous flora and fauna.

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Unfortunately, some of these animals are being affected by waste and as ocean sailors, it’s our job to do our best to protect them.

Pro Divers are Australia’s only and smallest, species of penguin call Grassy on King Island’s east coast home. These small but vocal creatures can be seen at dusk returning to their burrows after days spent feeding at sea.

At a mere 30cm tall and 1.5 kg in weight, these hardy birds can dive to depths of 70m as they feed on fish and squid, travelling up to 20km in a single day in search for food. It’s always amusing to see these little Pro Divers meet us as the crew also arrive.

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PFAS are affecting Tasmanian Penguins

A recent study has found PFAS (chemicals associated with non-stick coatings often found in cookware and takeaway paper and containers and some cosmetics) widespread in Tasmanian penguins, stating; ...even in low concentrations, PFAS may have a detectable relationship with penguin health...  "Mel Well, University of Tasmania" Research paper Wells et al., (2024). Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in little penguins and associations with urbanisation and health parameters, Science of The Total Environment.

Dubbed “forever chemicals”, poly-fluoroalkyl substances (aka PFAS) is the name for a large group of synthetic chemicals, typically used in non-stick coatings, firefighting and cosmetics. There is global concern for these chemicals as they have widespread use and move freely in ecosystems.  Read more about PFAS here


The island community is innovative when it comes to finding solutions for emerging topics, such as waste management.

Community groups such as the Lions Club collect and export aluminium cans to be recycled, and the King Island District High School have a recycling initiative where glass is collected, crushed, and used in construction applications. After surveying the local community, the school realised they could make a notable difference in reducing the volume of waste sent to landfill, by identifying an effective on-island solution. Being an island setting, recycling and landfill space is extremely limited, and much has to be exported. We as visitors must help where we can, and do our bit to avoid placing additional pressure on the island’s resources. ORCV fleets are asked to kindly sort and stow boat waste to be disposed of when returning home, to keep King Island beautiful.

What can be recycled will surprise you, go to our Clean Oceans Race Preparation document


The beauty of King Island doesn’t stop at the Penguins

There is so much more that the island has to offer. We’ve listed below some of these which you may not know about.

 The critically endangered Orange Bellied Parrot (Neophema chrysogaster) is one of only two migratory parrot species in the world

 Orange Bellied Parrot

Orange-bellied Parrot With a mere 50 individuals left in the wild, Kind Island provides this unique little bird with a critical stopover as they migrate from Tasmania to Victoria and South Australia for the winter. Reaching the island at a similar time to the ORCV fleet, the birds arrive in mid-March where they have a short stopover before departing in June.

Calcified Forest | Parks & Wildlife Service Tasmania

Calcified Forest

The south of the island presents a truly unique geological feature - a 7000-year-old calcified forest. Here you will experience the limestone remains of ancient forest root systems, preserved now as calcium carbonate structures. Once deep in the ground, the structures have since been weathered and exposed to coastal wind processes. The calcified forest can be enjoyed by a short 1.3km walk with a viewing platform for spectacular picture taking.


And the foodie items of King Island are definitely worth the trip.

KI Crayfish   KI Dairy


King Island is synonymous with dairy

When someone mentions “King Island” it is highly likely that the first thing to come to mind is the iconic King Island Dairy. The island, with its rich soils, lush pastures and dusting of salt spray, produces a uniquely sweet milk that is turned into the delicious, rich, award-winning cheeses we enjoy today. Using traditional cheesemaking practices, each product is hand-made and wrapped, and often named after notable shipwrecks and coastal regions that surround the island. 

The dynamic, roaring coastlines and open seas of the Bass Strait are vastly productive when it comes to the prized seafood on offer.

The island prides itself on an extensive range of ocean produce including crays, oysters and shellfish. Taking a stroll along the west coast of the island, you’ll be treated to sights of colourful fishing boats moored in the picturesque Currie Harbour. From here you can source fresh seafood from wholesalers such as Foodworks (Currie), or enjoy restaurant-quality seafood dishes at Wild Harvest in Grassy

Make sure your crew are all ORCV members to be in with a chance to win some crayfish. Sign up here to become a member 

orcv logo reversed

3 Aquatic Drive, Albert Park VIC 3206 Ph. 0493 102 744 E. orcv@orcv.org.au