Ben Lecomte to Attempt 5,500-Mile Swim Across Pacific Ocean for Plastic Pollution Awareness

Can Lecomte become the first person to ever swim from Tokyo to California?

Ben Lecomte is a long-distance swimmer who, in 1998, became the first person to ever swim across the Atlantic Ocean. Now, he’s gearing up to attempt to swim the across the Pacific Ocean to raise awareness for plastic pollution.

The Longest Swim will see Lecomte start in Tokyo and end up 5,500 miles and six months later in San Francisco.

Lecomte will have the support of the 67-foot steel-hulled sailing yacht “Discoverer,” which will be fully equipped and totally self-sufficient. The plan is for Lecomte to spend around eight hours in the water each day, covering an anticipated distance of about 30 miles each day.

He’ll eat, sleep and rest on the yacht, but the crew will mark his exact location with GPS when he exits the water. That way he’ll start right where he left off each day.

While this is certainly an adventurous feat – the likes of which have never been attempted – it’s also in the name of science.

The anticipated route Ben Lecomte and team will take. Photo: Courtesy of The Longest Swim

“The mission of my historic swim is to bring to light the current state of our oceans,” said Ben Lecomte. “The research we collect during ‘The Swim’ will ultimately help us better protect our oceans.”

That’s because Lecomte will be collecting more than 1000 samples along the way. Having partnered with scientific institutions like the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to study issues ranging from plastics pollution to mammal migration to radiation from Fukushima.

Lecomte has recently partnered with Seeker and Discovery, who will help document the journey in real-time. You’ll also be able to track the progress on The Swim, as well.

There is no set date as to when they will begin, but the entirety of the team is in place in Tokyo prepping to leave at any moment.

Ben Lecomte training. Photo: Courtesy of The Longest Swim

More Environment Content From ASN

Study Finds Federal Protection Has Increased Populations of Marine Mammals and Sea Turtles

4 Sunscreens That Comply with Hawaii's New Sunscreen Law

6 Tips for Being a More Eco-Friendly Tourist