Florida Keys Dive Center
2022 PADI AWARE Grantee
Increasing Dives Against Debris training and cleanups, with a focus on the Florida Keys reef system.
In the Florida Keys, Florida Keys Dive Center (FLAKEYS), and the No Trash Left Behind project aim to unite the community to decrease marine debris on local dive sites through PADI AWARE Dives Against Debris.
Experts estimate that two garbage trucks of plastic are dumped into our ocean every minute. That’s 8 million metric tons of plastic each year. This trash leaves a literal weight on our nearshore marine environments – including coral reefs.
Thanks to a Community Grant from the PADI AWARE Foundation, FLAKEYS is educating, training, and preparing the local community to combat an age-old problem: marine debris.
“Our oceans are one-of-a-kind and each beautiful in their own way. This is why it is so important to take every step possible to protect them and keep them beautiful for years to come,” said Seanna Knight, conservation coordinator for Florida Keys Dive Center (FLAKEYS) in the Florida Keys.
In the Florida Keys, FLAKEYS and the No Trash Left Behind project aim to unite the community to decrease marine debris on local dive sites through PADI AWARE Dives Against Debris.
“This money allows Florida Keys Dive Center and our community to make a difference in the marine debris that plagues our reef system,” Knight said. “The grant that PADI AWARE awarded Florida Keys Dive Center aids in training more instructors to become Dive Against Debris specialty instructors, allowing more students to be taught about the importance of marine conservation. The grant also helps to get divers in the water to complete clean-up dives and remove debris from the reef.”
Success will be measured on many levels: (1) bringing up debris, whether large or small amounts, on individual dives; (2) not finding debris on dive sites, indicating how effective divers are becoming at clearing debris; and (3) engaging the community more directly with keeping debris out of the ocean.
“Tackling the marine debris issue is no small task, and making even a dent in the problem is something to feel good about,” Knight said. Achieving any of the aforementioned goals would give her “a feeling of pride,” she said.
Want to see more of Florida Keys Dive Center in action?
You can follow along with Florida Keys Dive Center and the No Trash Left Behind project on their website, Instagram, or on https://www.padi.com/aware.