Diving to Make a Difference

As you plan your event for 2016, use the following examples as inspiration for how you can help protect the health and beauty of the oceans this upcoming World Oceans Day, June 8th! Last year divers around the globe celebrated World Oceans Day, helping to clean our ocean and maintain healthier ocean ecosystems. Here we highlight just a few of the many great events held by divers last summer.

1. Clean up the beach - even offshore!

Some of the most popular World Oceans Day diving events are offshore cleanups of reefs, beaches, and harbors. These events can be individually organized, sponsored by larger diving organizations or led by other groups working with divers.

Barracuda Diving Club hosted an event to clean Andrew Beach in Jijel, Algeria. In addition to the cleanup they organized a presentation about promoting biodiversity in the ocean. They discussed the science behind how different types of trash have harmful impacts on the environment. The club president also presented an eco-diving charter.

2. Choose a focus for your cleanup

In order to encourage divers to participate in your underwater cleanup and help an endangered species, you can focus  on a specific ecosystem or animal. Do a little research on how that animal is impacted by marine debris and share your knowledge with fellow divers. In some places you can even be part of undersea research by taking part in a reef survey or BioBlitz. For their World Oceans Day event MedSharks organized a “BioBlitz” to remove marine litter from a shark nursery in Banco di Santa Croce, Italy. They removed fishing lines that trap juvenile leopard sharks and they also helped to monitor shark eggs.

3. Remove invasive species

Dive events can also focus on removing an invasive species in coastal ecosystems. Reducing populations of invasive species can help to give native animals a chance to survive! You could also organize a lecture or discussion for divers about invasive species in your favorite dive sites.

B&J Diving Centre on Tioman Island, Malaysia organized two levels of diving events. One group removed marine debris and the other group focused on improving the three most impacted locations by removing the invasive species, Crown of Thorns starfish, which feeds on coral polyps,  destroying the structure of this ecosystem on which numerous organisms depend.

4. Plant a coral reef

Coral reefs can be damaged or destroyed by harsh weather, especially in areas where they are weakened by coral bleaching induced by climate change. The structure of coral reefs provides important habitats for many other species. By planting new structural coral and building support systems you can help reefs to thrive.

Constance Halaveli in the Maldives hosted the Halaveli Environment Week 2015. Working with the group TGI Diving they conducted a lagoon and dive trash cleanup as well as a coral reef planting.

Coral Restoration Foundation held a “Plantapalooza” to plant 1,600 reef-building staghorn corals in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, in the United States. Over 70 divers participated at six different sites. Check out their video!

5. Engage youth

Consider catering part of your event to inspire young divers. It is important to give youth an education and exposure to the ocean to learn to care for it. In addition, youth can contribute creative solutions to environmental problems.

ExplorOcean hosted a “Dive Against Debris” event in Newport Beach, California in the United States. This event included a diving cleanup as well as science activities and projects for kids and students, including free admission to the center!

Wageningen University collaborated with CoralGardening in Thailand to organize “Team Reefolution”, a group of 4 students to design projects using new methods and materials to build artificial reefs.

6. Collaborate with your community

Help by bringing divers together by advertising your event at local dive shops and on social media. Join a larger network like the NAUI Green Diver Initiative , Scuba Schools International, or Project Aware and commit to ocean conservation. You can also share your passion for the ocean with non-divers through underwater photos and videos.

An online event called the Blue Ocean Business Summit sponsored by Blue Ocean Network.com launched on World Oceans Day, 2015. This resource helped dive industries organize and think about ocean health. The online resource had 34 video interviews with dive leaders from 13 countries and was a completely free resource for divers. They are planning another great summit for 2016!

What will you do as a diver for World Ocean Day 2016? Plan your event today!

Lena Champlin 01-Mar-2016