Emerald Coast Scuba

Emerald Coast Scuba

2022 PADI AWARE Grantee



Increasing Dives Against Debris training and opportunities, including post-consumer recycling in Florida.

Emerald Coast Scuba – a Destin, FL dive shop making a difference for our oceans through PADI AWARE Dives Against Debris. The shop knows that efforts to clean our oceans of trash and plastic pollution will not be accomplished quickly nor without purposeful and consistent efforts by divers that care. Therefore, they focus not only on removing debris from the waters around their shop but also on post-consumer repurposing and recycling what they find.





“We rely on our waters, [and,] particularly the Gulf of Mexico, in every aspect of our lives… . [We] are grateful for it and the opportunity to maintain it in a unique manner that only scuba divers can.”
These are the wise words of Anna Schmitz of Emerald Coast Scuba, in Destin, Florida

A PADI AWARE Foundation Community Grant will boost these efforts even further. “The money allows us to reduce the hazards to our marine environment in concert with our thriving tourist and fishing industry,” Schmitz said. “We will reduce entanglement and lead hazards, protecting our reefs and the local flora and fauna.”

Lost and discarded fishing gear can continue to harm fragile ocean habitats for years to come – a phenomenon that earns them the name “ghost nets.” Moreover, plastic and monofilament bits choke marine life when ingested. Rope and line hurt corals and can entangle animals like sea turtles, whales, sharks, and seabirds. And lead weights become toxic to flora and fauna nearby.

While getting anything out of the water will be a win for our ocean, for Emerald Coast Scuba, a “50% or greater reduction of lead and monofilament” will be a true measure of success for the project. As their expansion continues, they will collect data and “get and stay ahead of the debris,” Schmitz said.

“The education provided by the PADI AWARE Dive Against Debris program will vastly extend our outreach,” Schmitz noted. 

Overall, the shop believes that our ocean is “life” because it provides weather, nourishment, and its beloved dive industry. The ocean is “the life-sustaining engine that allows us to enjoy the experiences we do,” Schmitz said. Therefore, “the rewards of cleaning our environment are immeasurable to us at Emerald Coast Scuba,” Schmitz added. “To keep our amazing dive environment clean and our marine life protected provides us with true joy that comes from serving our ocean through PADI AWARE.



Want to see more of Emerald Coast Scuba in action?

You can follow along with Emerald Coast Scuba and the ECS Dive Against Debris w/ Post Consumer repurpose/recycling project on their website, Instagram, Facebook, or on https://www.padi.com/aware.