At Sail Caribbean, we love the ocean! I mean, our students and staff spend every single day of program on, in, and surrounded by the beautiful waters of the Caribbean Sea – how could we not fall in love with it? We take great care to ensure that our fleets Leave No Trace behind, but we still often see trash washed up on otherwise gorgeous beaches and littering the coral reefs where we snorkel. Trash isn’t pretty to look at, and it’s not good for the cool marine life we like to look at either. That’s why Sail Caribbean Divers and students attending our teen scuba camps are earning community service hours by Diving Against Debris!
Let’s face it – we create a lot of trash, and not all of it
makes it into a landfill. In fact, according to Project AWARE, over 6 million tons (that’s 12 BILLION pounds – yikes!) of trash may make it into the ocean every year. Much of this waste is plastic and other materials which take hundreds and thousands of years to break down – some of it may never break down at all. Marine debris can be incredibly damaging to plants and animals, their habitats, and our own health. Plus, it’s ugly.
Happily, there is a bright side! There are lots of people and organizations who are working to stop trash at its source and to clean up the stuff that has already made it into the ocean. Sail Caribbean has been participating in environmental service projects including beach and underwater cleanups for years. But now, in conjunction with Project AWARE, Sail Caribbean Divers are not only collecting trash, but also recording data about what they find and where. In order to help change policies, laws, and regulations will help stop trash from ever making it into the ocean, there has to be hard evidence in the form of real data. Our Bravo and Charlie divers collected nearly 100 pounds of debris on this dive!
It’s pretty much impossible for just one organization to collect all the data needed to make a difference. That’s why Sail Caribbean students and staff are working with organizations from 180 other countries all over the world that also participate in the Dive Against Debris program! If you are a diver, check out Project AWARE to see how easy it is to organize a cleanup dive in your area too and be sure to share your environmental efforts with us on our Facebook page!
Check out the Sail Caribbean Divers Updates on the Project AWARE website for more information!
The greatest challenge during the program was staying entertained during the quarantine period. Not being able to leave your boat and not having a phone, which was a crutch against boredom, it was difficult at first to stay entertained.