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Mick Dawson

Motivational Speaker Mick Dawson
  • A world first successfully rowing 7,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean.
  • Former Royal Marines Commando, Sailor, and Adventurer.
  • Fought in the Falklands War aged 17 & the Middle East.
  • A remarkable story of true commitment, resilience and near death.
  • ...

Mick Dawson

Motivational Speaker Mick Dawson
  • A world first successfully rowing 7,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean.
  • Former Royal Marines Commando, Sailor, and Adventurer.
  • Fought in the Falklands War aged 17 & the Middle East.
  • A remarkable story of true commitment, resilience and near death.

Mick Dawson skippered the only rowing boat ever to cross the Pacific Ocean. Together with his partner Chris Martin, Mick completed the 189-day journey in the most gruelling conditions. He has rowed across the Atlantic twice and in 2009 completed the ultimate long distance expedition when he spent 189 days rowing from Japan to San Francisco.

He is, in his own words, “an ordinary man who did an extraordinary thing”. And his story-telling, bravery and modesty provide a highly motivational experience. With a great sense of humour and understatement, Mick describes the determination, teamwork and adaptability required for his adventure. And either in a keynote or after dinner speech, he explains how those traits can be applied to all walks of life.

Former Royal Marines Commando, film maker, sailor and adventurer, he saw active service in the Falklands War at the age of seventeen and then again in the Middle East. Following on from his military career he pursued his lifelong passion for the ocean and became a professional sailor skippering luxury yachts across the globe.

Desperately seeking an exciting challenge, at the turn of the century he became aware of an extreme adventure race to row from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean. Together with his brother Steve he set off in the race on a twenty one feet long rowing boat, on a voyage of some three thousand miles and successfully crossed the mighty Atlantic Ocean (For the first time) in 2001.

Two years later inspired by the amazing voyage across the Atlantic Mick attempted to become the first person to row solo across the fearsome North Pacific Ocean; from Choshi in Japan to the iconic span of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Major equipment failure after a series of massive storms ended his attempt less than a thousand miles from the start. Bowed but not beaten he returned to Japan, refitted his boat and undeterred set off again the following year.

What followed was one of the most incredible experiences of his life, braving Typhoons, collision, sharks and killer whales Mick rowed four and a half thousand miles across the mighty North Pacific Ocean. Equipment failure meant practically the whole of the voyage was undertaken with no communications to land. On day 109, two thirds of the way into the voyage and with a successful world first finish tantalisingly close, disaster struck.

His vessel was capsized by a freak wave and trapped inside the sinking cabin with his trusty rowing boat upturned and crippled Mick battled against all the odds to escape and survive in the stormy, dark, freezing, unforgiving waters of the North Pacific until rescue arrived the following night. A precarious rescue operation followed which saw Mick plucked, quite literally from the jaws of death by a passing container ship.

Amazingly, undeterred by this second near fatal setback and with the loss of his cherished rowing boat Mick vowed to return to the North Pacific to complete his epic voyage. Designing and building a state of the art, brand new rowing boat; that would be named ‘Bojangles’ Mick set about preparing for his third North Pacific rowing adventure.

However there was one final crucial twist to the North Pacific story yet to come. Working for the Atlantic Rowing Race Organisers in 2005; as a safety skipper and ocean rowing consultant, Mick rescued a two man team early in the race after a medical emergency and brought them and their vessel safely back to port. Once there and with one team member unable to continue Mick was ‘persuaded’ that he should replace the injured crew man and two days later, he set off on his second two man Atlantic crossing.

What followed was one of the most dramatic Atlantic rowing races ever held. From a fleet of 26 vessels seventeen would experience at least one capsize, six vessels eventually would be lost as the Atlantic produced some of the worst weather on record. However Mick and Andrew Morris (his last minute new rowing partner) battled through everything that was thrown at them and successfully arrived in Antigua after an unforgettable sixty day voyage.

For Mick it was the unplanned final piece of the North Pacific jigsaw. Having completed such an exhausting and challenging crossing of the Atlantic with a partner he hardly knew (At least to start with) he realised the key to North Pacific success was in attempting it as a two man team not solo. This would allow for them to, as he put it, ‘Always have someone at the coalface when it’s possible to row…..’

Chris Martin, an accomplished world champion bronze medallist flat water rower and successful Atlantic rower was Mick’s natural choice for the job, fortunately he agreed to come on board and in 2006 the North Pacific Endeavour became a two man project.

Departing together on ‘Bo’ from Choshi Japan on May 8th 2009 what would follow would be one of the greatest maritime team efforts of all time. Rowing a punishing routine of two hours on two hours off around the clock the two friends would be at sea for 189 days 10 hours and 55 minutes before completing their goal and rowing ‘Bo’ beneath the iconic span of the Golden Gate Bridge on the 13th (Friday) of November. Battling extreme heat and cold, typhoons, hurricanes, starvation and all that mother nature could throw at them they relentlessly over came every challenge put before them. A world first, the first and only people ever to successfully row almost 7,000 miles across the North Pacific Ocean into San Francisco.

Discovery Channel subsequently produced a documentary of this epic voyage, ‘Rowing the Pacific,’ which aired for the first time in the UK May 2012 before being released to a global audience across the Discovery network.

Speaking

A sixty minutes T.V. documentary can only scratch the surface of this unique maritime adventure and Mick presents this inspirational, thrilling and unique story in a detail with important lessons his audiences can relate to and learn from.

Mick lives in Brighton on the South Coast of England and is currently training hard for his next project the Cockleshell Endeavour: www.cockleshellendeavour.com. This will see him; together with friend and fellow Falklands Veteran Steve Grenham, complete a 640 mile circumnavigation of the Falkland Islands in Kayaks. Steve has been struggling with the increasingly damaging effects of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) linked to his experiences in the Falklands War in 1982. The pair aim to use the project to help Steve in his recovery and to raise money for the charities dealing with the challenges of PTSD whilst also highlight the effects of PTSD in the Service community both past and present.

As a speaker Mick is available for corporate and motivational presentations across the UK and internationally. His honest and down to earth delivery engages and enthrals a wide variety of audiences. His unique story can be tailored to meet any client’s requirement.

Mick is particularly keen to get the story of the North Pacific Crossing into schools and colleges and inspire the next generation to achieve their potential.

Biography

Client Testimonials

"Mick spoke for an hour to an audience of 1200 people which included boys and girls aged from 11-18 and approximately 100 staff. His delivery was clear, the pace was good and he used images to illustrate and highlight the issues he was raising. The audience were enthralled from start to finish. Mick’s experiences are awe inspiring, so much so that many people, staff and students alike commented that his assembly was one of the best they had seen. He was truly inspirational. I have been fortunate in my career to have listened to many first class public speakers in the world of sport including Olympic and Paralympic athletes and professional sportsmen but the presentation given by Mick Dawson was the most impressive and motivational I have heard. We hope that he will accept an invitation to return in the future."

”I have seen and listened to many keynote speakers during my years in the exhibition business: Mick was absolutely one of the few very best. I wish him the utmost success for his next ventures and hope to see him again soon.”

"In June 2014 I took over the position of Business Unit Director for SMM Hamburg– the leading international maritime trade fair. One of my first decisions to make was the selection of a keynote speaker for the opening ceremony of SMM. It was a wonderful coincidence that I had just seen a documentary of Mick’s rowing adventure on Discovery Channel and I thought right away that Mick and Chris would be the right guys for the opening evening and I was happy when Mick was available. I was even happier when the presentation of Mick during our opening ceremony turned out to be the success I hoped for. Many of our exhibitors came to congratulate me for one of the best opening ceremonies ever, mostly due to Mick’s great presentation. Vielen Dank lieber Mick!"

Mick Dawson presented at the Spalding Club in February 2014. "He has several talks relating to his exploits in Rowing the Pacific and Atlantic both as an individual and in tandem. The presentation he gave us was focused principally on his dramatic sinking and Rescue in the Pacific as a Solo Rower in 2004, but it also covered the physical and mental fitness required for such an expedition together with his recollections of his successful entrance into San Francisco Harbour as skipper of a double team after 189 days at sea. The delivery gave our members a memorable evening, and all commented on the calm and unassuming character of a man who had achieved so much in this sphere of Human Endeavour. I would thoroughly recommend Mick to anyone wishing to receive an uplifting, inspiring and motivational presentation.

"Mick Dawson gave an inspirational and humorous talk that had 420 students and staff spell bound as he recounted his dramatic voyage during an hour long assembly. The adventure and Mick’s ability to grasp the audience and hold them with dramatic and breathtaking details of all his voyages was exceptional. The theme of overcoming adversity and determination supported by preparation was perfect for the audience and the message was fully received with open jaws and deep admiration for Mick. He also spent time answering questions about his voyages; this was done with plenty of humour and excellent pitch given the ages of some students, again showing Mick’s ability to read the requirements of his audience. Mick Dawson had an extraordinary impact, he will continue to be discussed and referred to many times over the coming months and we hope to rebook Mick for future presentations. I would recommend Mick Dawson without reservation."

Client Testimonials

"Mick spoke for an hour to an audience of 1200 people which included boys and girls aged from 11-18 and approximately 100 staff. His delivery was clear, the pace was good and he used images to illustrate and highlight the issues he was raising. The audience were enthralled from start to finish. Mick’s experiences are awe inspiring, so much so that many people, staff and students alike commented that his assembly was one of the best they had seen. He was truly inspirational. I have been fortunate in my career to have listened to many first class public speakers in the world of sport including Olympic and Paralympic athletes and professional sportsmen but the presentation given by Mick Dawson was the most impressive and motivational I have heard. We hope that he will accept an invitation to return in the future."

”I have seen and listened to many keynote speakers during my years in the exhibition business: Mick was absolutely one of the few very best. I wish him the utmost success for his next ventures and hope to see him again soon.”

Read More
Mick Dawson - 1st & Only Pacific Crossing in a Rowing Boat. 7,000 miles in 189 days
Mick Dawson - 1st & Only Pacific Crossing in a Rowing Boat. 7,000 miles in 189 days

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