The following post is a contribution from Project AWARE Foundation written by Hannah Pragnell-Raasch, Program Specialist. Project AWARE mobilizes scuba divers to protect the ocean planet one dive at a time. Its Dive Against Debris Specialty Course educates divers on how to remove and log marine debris to prevent its detrimental effects on marine life and advocate for policy and prevention around the world. If you’re a current or prospective scuba diver, we encourage you to consider this course to leave the marine ecosystems you explore healthier than when you found them.
I’m a firm believer in practising what I preach, so, as soon as the opportunity arose for me to complete the Dive Against Debris Distinctive Specialty Course with B&J Diving, I jumped at the chance.
Already being in Kuala Lumpur for the Malaysia International Dive Expo, it was a quick hop, skip and a jump across to Tioman Island.
For Nic Emery, Branch Manager of B&J Diving Centre and freshly certified Dive Against Debris Specialty Instructor, I was her first official Dive Against Debris Specialty student. This particular Dive Against Debris Specialty Course came with another twist – we had production group, Team Labyrinth with us filming for their upcoming documentary series.
Trying to “forget the cameras were there”, we continued through the course – first covering the classroom portion – including some background about the marine debris issue and the impact on the marine environment before covering the different stages of Dive Against Debris.
As Program Specialist, it was great for me to work through the Dive Against Debris Specialty Course from the eyes of a student and also get direct feedback from Nic’s point of view as the instructor.
The Dive Against Debris Specialty provides that additional level of training to equip students with the knowledge and skills to conduct their own surveys and report their data accurately using the online submission form. The certification can also be used as one of the five specialties required for the PADI Master Scuba Diver rating as well as the PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer rating.
Nic is leading the charge to ensure they conduct regular Dive Against Debris surveys in order to ensure that the data they collect about the types and quantities of marine debris items found around Tioman, contributes to the global Dive Against Debris database in order to inform policy and influence real change to stop debris at the source.
The data collected is the essential component necessary to form an accurate perspective of the underwater marine debris issue and put an end to this very real issue which has previously been ignored by policymakers as it’s “out of sight, out of mind”.
Whilst divers across the globe are doing a remarkable job, conducting Dive Against Debris surveys and reporting their data using the online form, there is still a lot more rubbish in the ocean that’s left unreported. That’s why we need divers everywhere to put their scuba skills to good use and Dive Against Debris. Only divers have the skills required to collect this data which is essential if we are going to combat the marine debris crisis. I’m so proud to be part of this growing community of divers across the globe uniting in the fight against marine debris.
A huge fins up to B&J Diving and Nic for hosting me during my time on Tioman Island and leading me through the Dive Against Debris Specialty.
So what are you waiting for? Don’t let your dives go to waste – join us in the fight against trash and take the Dive Against Debris Specialty today!