What is marine debris?
Marine debris is anything that doesn’t belong in the ocean. Typically, marine debris refers to trash discarded by humans: plastic, glass, aluminum cans, fishing nets, etc.
Ocean debris is costly to marine life and people. In 2016 alone, divers reported 1,624 entangled marine animals, and “ghost” fishing nets caused thousands of dollars of damage to fishing communities and countless loss of marine life. 70% of marine debris sinks to the seafloor.
Dive Against Debris® was created by divers, for divers. Only divers have the training, knowledge and skills to remove marine debris from underwater.
For many people, marine debris is out of sight out of mind. Thankfully, divers have the unique ability to bring to the surface what’s going on beneath the waves. In 2011, Project AWARE launched Dive Against Debris, and since then more than 30,000 divers in 50+ countries have geared up to protect the ocean and the creatures who live there.
A Dive Against Debris includes two important parts: debris removal and reporting. Removing rubbish improves the underwater habitat. Reporting what you find helps reveal the extent of the global marine debris crisis. Without debris data, scientists and conservationists can’t advocate for change.
Divers who earn the Dive Against Debris Specialty distinguish themselves as caretakers for the underwater world. The Project AWARE® Dive Against Debris Distinctive Specialty course:
Dive Against Debris surveys provide valuable information about the effects of ocean pollution to help inform and advocate for systemic policy change. Additionally, each report adds to the interactive Dive Against Debris Map where divers (and others) can visualize their impact at a local and global level.
If you already have the Dive Against Debris Specialty, or are taking a break from diving, support the efforts of Project AWARE by making a donation or ordering a limited-edition Project AWARE replacement certification card for yourself or as a gift for a friend.
By the end of the open water dive, student divers will be able to;
You’ve done the dive. You’ve removed the rubbish. And you’ve collected the data. Don't forget that last critical step. Report your survey online in English only. This is essential to ensure your data contributes to the global database and helps drive long-term change to address the marine debris issue.