How To Participate in a Dive Against Debris®



What is a Dive Against Debris diver?

A Dive Against Debris Diver takes direct 'fins on' action for the ocean, collecting critical survey data from any or every dive that can be used by marine researchers and policymakers for conservation efforts. 

Why should you become a Dive Against Debris Diver? 

Help keep your favorite dive site and local marine environment free of debris and contribute to the largest global underwater database in the world. To reduce marine debris by 50% in targeted countries by 2030, we need everyone working together at local, national and international levels. See PADI AWARE’s Marine Debris page for more information.

How do I become a Dive Against Debris Diver?

Any Junior Open Water Diver or higher can take the Dive Against Debris Speciality course and help tackle marine debris issues head on. Become a diver to join the world’s largest underwater citizen science movement on the planet.





Step-By-Step Guide

Become a diver to join the world’s largest underwater citizen science movement on the planet. Any Junior Open Water Diver or higher, can help to tackle marine debris issues head on.

  1. Find your local PADI Dive Center to get certified in Dive Against Debris. This is a standardized Adventure Dive so you can get your Advanced Open Water Certification and Dive Against Debris at the same time.
  2. Create a My Ocean profile so you can submit marine debris data after your dive.
  3. Download the Survey Toolkit before your dive! This kit has all the essentials for survey success.
  4. Search the Conservation Activities Locator to find a Dive Against Debris survey near you. 
  5. Report Dive Against Debris data by logging into your My Ocean profile. You can do this online. *COMING SOON: The AWARE App is currently being redeveloped and will be relaunched in the coming months. 



Common Mistakes and Helpful Hints

MISTAKE 1: Conducting a Dive Against Debris survey while snorkeling, swimming or freediving

Dive Against Debris surveys collect data on marine debris found on the seafloor. Any debris found by those who are not scuba diving can be submitted to our partners at The Ocean Conservancy

MISTAKE 2: Submitting debris recovered from the surface, beach or land

Dive Against Debris surveys should only be submitted if they were conducted on Scuba AND any debris recovered was removed from the sea/river/lake bed. These points are what makes our data so unique and important. Having these parameters in place for submitting data restricts some of the variables and makes the data set more valid and reliable. 

Sticking to these principles makes our database unique. We are the only database in the world logging marine debris - it is absolutely vital that this is the data we collect.

Parts of the survey which can indicate these mistakes include:

  • Minimum or maximum depth = 0m/ft
MISTAKE 3: Coordinates for the survey are on land

Longitude and latitude should always be in the water at the location the survey dive took place. 

Ways to double check:

  • Zoom in on the map to ensure the pin falls in the water
  • View the map on satellite mode as this gives a better depiction of the location - right now this is not possible on the app, but updates to resolve this are coming soon!
MISTAKE 4: Submitting data from multiple dives

1 dive = 1 survey = 1 submission.

This is a parameter which helps us keep the database more accurate. One data submission should correspond to the debris removed during an individual survey dive.

MISTAKE 5: Submitting debris but recording 0lbs/kgs

Removing something from the water, no matter how small it is, is going to have a weight. 

MISTAKE 6: Adding up the survey time from all participants

Survey duration is calculated as the average time spent underwater removing rubbish based on the number of buddy pairs. 

E.g. If there were 3 buddy teams:

  • Buddy Team A 42 minutes
  • Buddy Team B 48 minutes
  • Buddy Team C 51 minutes

Survey duration = (42+48+51) / 3 buddy teams = 47 minutes