If you have taken a SCUBA class with Atlantic Pro Divers before then you've probably heard your instructor talk about Project AWARE and making a donation to upgrade your certification card. A lot of people hear "pay more" and stop listening, unfortunately, without knowing what they would be benefiting.
So what is Project AWARE?
25 years ago the SCUBA diving community started to realize the impact humans were having on the underwater ecosystems as well as coastal areas, and knew they had to take a stand.
Project AWARE is now a global force of divers working together to protect the underwater environment.
Make Every Dive a Survey Dive
Although it is believe that 70% of marine debris that enters the ocean ends up on the sea floor, little quantitative information is available regarding the quantity and type. By reporting the quantity and type of debris collected on each of your dives, you can help Project AWARE build their global database and drive long-term change to marine debris. You can get your Project AWARE mesh collection bag here so you can always make #EveryDiveaSurveyDive.
Remember, finding no debris on a dive is important data to submit as it can help identify where new problems arise. Debris-free sites can be found on the Dive Against Debris Map.
Take a PADI Project AWARE Specialty Course
PADI has partnered with Project AWARE to create distinctive specialty courses for eager divers hoping to make a difference. Courses available include
- The Project AWARE Specialty course is an introduction to Project AWARE as a global movement for ocean protection. It focuses and expands on the 10 Tips For Divers to provide guidance and help you make a difference for the ocean every time you dive. This is a "dry" course, welcoming both divers and non-divers alike.
- The Dive Against Debris Specialty gives you the knowledge and skills to activate your inner "citizen scientist" and complete regular underwater surveys. Included is the Dive Against Debris mesh bag, a survey guide, a data card, marine debris identification card, and a survey checklist. You also learn to report your collections online directly to the Project AWARE global database.
- The AWARE Shark Conservation Specialty course allows you to discover the value of sharks to marine ecosystems and economies. You'll learn more about the causes of declining shark populations, and the actions you can take to become an informed and passionate defender. Also a dry dive, all shark lovers are encouraged to attend!
- The AWARE Coral Reef Conservation course helps you appreciate the complexity of this habitat and teaches you how you can help conserve these vital systems. You will learn how coral reefs function and the complex nature of life on a reef, why corals are so important, why coral reefs are in peril and what you can do to help save this ecosystem. Click here to sign up!
Join an Event
Across the globe, Project AWARE's community of advocates is taking action for ocean protection, fins on and fins off. You can search for events both at the surface and underwater! Join in a Dive Against Debris, local beach-cleanup, or awareness seminar to make your contribution.
Search for events near you by using the Project AWARE Action Map.
You can join us Saturday, September 21 for World Clean up Day! Meet at the Jax Beach Pier at 9 am for two hours of coastal cleanup, followed by an after party at Surfer the Bar.
Be Smart with your Products
All of the water on the planet is connected. Every time you wash your hands or brush your teeth, the runoff water can end up in our seas. Be smart with the products you choose to use, ensuring that the ingredients used to make the product will not harm the oceans or its inhabitants.
We love using Stream2Sea products--their body wash/shampoo smells amazing and their natural mineral sunscreen provides just the right amount of protection without harming the coral.
BeautyCounter also offers great options for moisturizers and make-up that is safe for both your body and the oceans.