Champion of the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014

Jessica Watson was born 18th May 1993 on Australia’s Gold Coast and set out to become the youngest person to sail solo non-stop and unassisted around the World when she was 16 years old.

Defying criticism from those who said her task was destined to fail, after 210 days at sea navigating some of the world’s most challenging seaways, such as Cape Horn and the Southern Ocean, Jessica sailed back into Sydney Harbour on 15 May, 2010.

Since completing her circumnavigation, Watson has been recognised with a number of awards. These include the "Spirit of Sport" award from the Sport Australia Hall of Fame, and "Young Performer of the Year" for 2010, an award voted by the Australian public and presented at the annual Sports Performer Awards in Melbourne. She was selected as one of the ten international "2010 Adventurers of the Year" by National Geographic Society, and was the only sailor in the group.

On January 25, 2011 she was awarded the prestigious Young Australian of the Year title.

In December, 2011, Jessica skippered the youngest crew ever to compete in the iconic Sydney to Hobart yacht race, finishing second in their category. In January 2012, Jessica was announced in the Australia Day Honours list, receiving an OAM (Order of Australia Medal) for services to sailing and being a role model for the youth of Australia.

Since her voyage she has displayed maturity and dignity, becoming a role model for young people all over the world. Her voyage has inspired thousands of people of all ages to take up sailing and to respect and love the marine environment.

Jessica hopes to continue to inspire our youth, other adventurers and everyone with a dream in their heart.

IUCN WCPA Parks Australia NSW NPWS