Women's Dive Day Dive Cleanup
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
July 16, 2022
On Saturday, July 16th, 2022, The International SeaKeepers Society collaborated with SeaExperience to host an underwater reef cleanup in celebration of Women’s Dive Day, which in the last eight years has become the most celebrated day of diving in the world, transforming lives and opening doors to the underwater world. 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. This year, 11 women 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 and plastic cups from this site. The second site was shallower at about 30 feet, and saw more fishing line, cups, and even a few glass bottles. Divers not only cleaned but enjoyed an hour of drifting over the colorful reef, "The Caves," in the northbound current and spotted quite a few lobster and different species of fish. In total, about 4 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 look forward to further collaborations with SeaExperience.
CleanSwell is a trash collection mobile app developed by Ocean Conservancy and utilized by volunteers at each of our cleanups that allows them to record the types and quantities of trash found during their clean. 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. Data from the CleanSwell app is included in a global database that scientists everywhere can access and provides a means of identifying pollution trends that are location specific. Using CleanSwell at our cleanups involves community members in the Ocean Conservancy’s pursuit of evidence based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and people that depend on it, as well as provides the data necessary for effective local legislation to be written accomplishing the SeaKeepers’ goal of protection and eventual restoration. For this cleanup, not everyone on the charter was participating in the dive cleanup, but all 11 women collected trash, resulting in 42% participation in CleanSwell data collection, and 100% of trash was accounted for.