A MARINE officer and rower from Burnham is taking on 3,000 miles of open sea to row across the Atlantic Ocean.

Dawn Wood, 41, will be battling the rough seas in January next year for her solo rowing challenge titled “Row Aurora”.

Mrs Wood, a member of Burnham Coastal Rowing Club, has spent nearly every day on the water for the past 16 years working for Essex Police’s Marine Unit and volunteering for animal rescue units.

Her trip will start from Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands, where she will row 3,000 miles across the Atlantic to finish in Barbados.

Mrs Wood hopes to complete the epic voyage in 48 days to beat the world record of 49 days.

If successful, she will be the seventh woman ever to complete the trip.

Mrs Wood will be making the crossing in a purpose built ocean rowing boat model R10, made by Rannoch.

It is a 23ft one person rowing boat built to self-right should it capsize, with equipment such as water-maker, navigation plotter, radios, emergency safety equipment and positioning beacons.

Mrs Wood was inspired to take up the challenge after meeting Kiko Matthews, who completed the same journey.

She said: “Seeing Kiko achieve this incredible feat was really the tipping point for me, and after conversations with my rowing club I decided a few weeks ago that it’s what I wanted to do.

“Preparation is going to involve a lot of hours in the gym, but also considerable mental preparation.

“You could be the fittest rower in the world, but without the mental strength you would fail.

“My challenge may go on to receive lots of attention; I’ve chosen to do it to raise awareness of the plastic pollution crisis we face today.

“Living in coastal towns all my life and going out on the water every day, the level of plastics I’ve seen floating around are incredible. It’s just everywhere.

"Some experts say plastic can take 450 years to completely break down, but others say it just never goes away.

“I want to raise £100,000 to contribute to the fight against plastic to help find ways to reduce one-use plastics being given out.”

Mrs Wood is seeking vital sponsorship so her challenge can go ahead.

Visit www.rowaurora.co.uk.