Women's Dive Day 2023
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
July 15, 2023
On Saturday, July 15th, 2023, The International SeaKeepers Society collaborated with SeaExperience to host an underwater reef cleanup in celebration of Women’s Dive Day, which in the last 9 years has become the most celebrated day of diving in the world, transforming lives and opening doors to SCUBA. PADI encourages divers of all genders, ages, races, backgrounds, and abilities to confidently explore and protect our ocean. SeaExperience is a dive shop located in Fort Lauderdale that is awarded the PADI Green Star to commemorate their efforts and dedication to conservation, and identify them as a dive shop that cares about our coastal environment and actively takes steps to protect it. We were super stoked to not only have 20 women diving on the boat this year, but also an entirely female captain and crew! SeaKeepers brought 6 of our own amazing women and everyone had a blast. This year, women and allies joined us in a two-tank dive to clean trash that is often forgotten below the ocean’s surface.
The first stop was Hog Heaven, which includes the wreck of a 180-foot barge about 60-70 feet deep, intentionally sunk in 1986 as part of the Florida Artificial Reef Program. Today, not only is the site teeming with life, but also littered with tires, discarded cargo straps from shipping containers, and fishing line and hooks. Some divers even collected cans from this site. The second site, “The Caves,” was shallower at about 30 feet, and saw more fishing line and weights, and even a discarded pair of goggles! Divers not only cleaned but enjoyed an hour of drifting over a colorful reef in the northbound current, and spotting quite a few lobster and different species of fish, as well as a large bloom of moon jellyfish. In total, about 2 pounds of trash was collected across the two dives, which is impressive considering the small size and light weight of the items retrieved; an average cargo strap weighs about 2 grams per foot, and the average fishing line weighs about half a gram per foot. We are so grateful for the growing diversity we continue to see occupying underwater spaces, and have enjoyed and look forward to further collaborations with SeaExperience.
Our mission at SeaKeepers begins with the foundation of research followed by the education of communities that empower them to protect and restore the surrounding coastal and marine environments. By working with and empowering local community members to reduce and remove waste from our natural areas as well as our daily lives, we aim to make a lasting impact and create life-long citizen scientists concerned with keeping coastal ecosystems healthy and enjoyable for decades to come.