Former Royal Marine. Professional Yacht Captain, author and film maker, Mick has rowed across the Atlantic Ocean twice and is in the Guinness book of records as the skipper of the first and only rowing boat to cross the North Pacific, from Japan to San Francisco. He completed this 7,000 mile row with his friend Chris Martin in November 2009.
The story of their epic six and a half month adventure was told in the Discovery Channel’s production, ‘Rowing the Pacific,’ first broadcast in 2011. In 2017 Mick’s first book of the same name, ‘Rowing the Pacific‘ was published in the UK, the US and in a number of countries across the world.
Mick has project managed and executed five ocean rowing projects and is vastly experienced in all aspects of planning, preparation and execution for Extreme Ocean based expeditions.
In 2017 Mick joined forces with fellow former Royal Marine and Falkland’s veteran, Steve Grenham, on the Cockleshell Endeavour, which saw the pair kayak around the Falkland Islands to raise awareness of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Steve Sparkes joined the Royal Marines in 1979 as a member of 141 troop (Coincidentally the same troop as Mick Dawson’s brother Steve Dawson). Sparksy would eventually pass out in July 1980 as the Kingsbadgeman and P.T. Medal holder of 141 troop (Best and fittest recruit), he fought in the Falklands war with 42 Commando Royal Marines as a member of K Company, where he served with distinction, not least carrying a colleague who’d stepped on a mine at the base of Mount Harriet back to safety.
In 1984 he took part in selection for the Special Boat Service and during that selection process had a diving accident that would ultimately cause the loss of his eyesight. A problem with a ‘rebreather’ set during a diving phase of the selection meant Steve’s sight slowly began to deteriorate as a condition which eventually would be diagnosed as Stargatz set in.
Stargatz is a very rare form of Macular degeneration, which meant Steve eventually lost his sight completely apart from some peripheral vision of shapes and colours. He was Medically discharged from the Royal Marines at a time when there was little in the way of support in place for injured veterans. Ten years after his discharge ‘Blind Veterans UK’ then known as St Dunstans tracked down Steve who was by then living in Malta. They flew him back to the UK and provided the first training and support to help Steve deal with his condition. Steve has worked consistently with and for Blind Veterans UK in the years since helping other veterans come to terms with their loss of sight. He is an inspiration to the Blind Veterans Community and there could be no better man to become the first Blind Person to Row the Pacific Ocean.