A DAREDEVIL police officer is taking on a daunting one-woman world record rowing challenge across the Atlantic Ocean in the New Year.

PC Dawn Wood, of Essex Police’s marine unit, is setting off on a gruelling 3,000-mile solo voyage to raise awareness about plastic pollution in our oceans.

If she succeeds, Dawn will be only the seventh woman to have ever completed the epic journey.

She hopes to beat current world record holder Kiko Matthews, who rowed the 3,000 miles in 49 days.

She also aims to raise £25,000 for the Marine Conservation Society in her solar-powered ocean rowing boat.

Dawn, from Burnham, said: “I’ve been a skipper on the Essex Police marine unit for the past 16 years and during that time the amount of rubbish I’ve seen floating around the coastline and washing up on the coast just makes you really sad.”

“Plastic pollution is a problem for every animal and human being on this planet, which is one of the reasons I’m doing this challenge.

“Some people say it’s crazy, some people say it’s brave, some people say it’s inspirational.

“In my day job, I’m used to having quite a big boat with quite big engines on it and a team behind me. But this expedition is going to be lady power only – just me and my oars.

“I’ll need to be an engineer, an electrician, a rower, a housewife and a doctor –there are all sorts of different skills involved in this, it’s not just rowing.”

As well rowing for around 10 hours a day, Dawn will have to navigate her course and spend time when she’s not rowing taking samples of the water for scientists to test levels of micro plastics.

There is also the challenge of shark-infested open waters, changing weather patterns and falling out of the boat.

Dawn said: “I’m going to be connected to the boat at all times because if I do fall in, the boat will drift faster than I can swim.

“That’s something that I will really be keeping on top of because you can’t be complacent. You could get rogue wave and end up in the sea.

“There are going to be sharks out there so I have got shark repellent, which you attach around your ankle and it sends out an electrical signal.

“It works in the River Crouch in Essex so I can’t see there being a problem with that at all!”

She added: “If I can achieve the world record that would be great and if I can achieve just getting across, that is still an amazing achievement.”

Dawn leaves Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands on January 4 and heads west to Barbados. To follow her expedition, visit rowaurora.co.uk.