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AWARE Week returns in September to inspire action for a healthier ocean

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Project AWARE® and PADI® are once again mobilizing the global dive community to be citizen activists for a healthier ocean during the second annual AWARE Week. From 14-22 September 2019, ocean lovers around the world are invited to join conservation activities focused on ocean protection.

Working together with Project AWARE, our long-time partner in conservation, and PADI Dive Centers and Resorts around the world, AWARE Week empowers even more scuba divers to truly be a force for good,” says Drew Richardson, President and CEO of PADI Worldwide and Project AWARE Chairman of the Board. “Whether it’s reporting Dive Against Debris data, making every dive a survey dive, saying ‘no’ to single-use plastics or making a conscious effort to reduce your plastic footprint, no action is too small to make a difference. AWARE Week provides the tools and inspiration to educate and encourage local action for global impact.

Coinciding with International Coastal Cleanup Day on 21 September, AWARE Week 2019 encourages dive professionals and the global dive community to lead or take part in AWARE Week activities and courses. Many of the activities will focus on tackling ocean pollution, raising awareness about plastic pollution, and empowering local communities to take positive actions for a clean and healthy ocean.

Ever since the landmark television miniseries Blue Planet II, ocean plastic pollution has become a popular topic: Recent studies estimate that as much as 250 million metric tons of plastic could make its way into the ocean by 2025. AWARE Week marks the perfect time to focus on this issue through local community action and active participation in Dive Against Debris®, Project AWARE’s flagship citizen-science program.

Although it’s believed more than 70 percent of marine debris entering the ocean ends up on the seafloor, little quantitative information is available regarding the types and quantities of this trash. The Dive Against Debris program aims to fill this gap, providing quantitative data and an accurate perspective about underwater marine debris to drive policy change. Dive Against Debris data collected during AWARE Week and throughout the year helps Project AWARE highlight the underwater view of ocean plastic pollution, and identify target areas where waste-prevention efforts are needed most.

We can all be part of the solution. Lead the way for your student divers or friends and family to become ocean activists. Provide them with the tools and knowledge they need to protect our ocean planet on every dive or at home,” says Danna Moore, Project AWARE Global Operations Director. “Our collective actions add up to big results and take us one step closer to a clean ocean.”

In addition to equipping divers with the skills needed to conduct Dive Against Debris surveys, AWARE Week is also designed to bring together divers from all over the world to be a voice for the ocean and act for change. From learning about tips to protect the ocean planet to understanding how underwater citizen science and marine debris data can help affect policy change, AWARE specialty courses give ocean enthusiasts the power to protect the ocean, with or without their fins, this AWARE Week and all year.

During AWARE Week, PADI and Project AWARE invite divers to make a positive impact for a healthier ocean by prioritizing initiatives focused on conservation-minded practices, taking the Project AWARE Specialty and Dive Against Debris Specialty courses, and making every dive a survey dive. Contact your PADI Dive Center or Resort to learn more about how you can take part locally to make a difference globally.

For more information visit the Project Aware website by clicking here.

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Frontline workers honoured with free dive trip to Yap

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The remote island of Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia is among the few places in the world that remains free of Covid-19 thanks to its ocean border and a strict travel ban that has kept its residents safe.

Nonetheless, Yap has been affected, too. As one of the world’s premier, award-winning destinations for divers, this paradisiacal location in the western Pacific Ocean has had no outside visitors to its rich shores and reef for nearly a year. But while there may be no virus, the island hasn’t been cut off from the economic impact experienced around the globe.

Manta Ray Bay Resort and Yap Divers by A. Tareg

That didn’t stop Bill Acker, CEO and founder of the Manta Ray Bay Resort and Yap Divers, from doing something, though.

Last March, soon after the island went into lockdown, Bill began to realize the effect of the virus on daily life beyond the island. “Yes, we are closed, have no divers, had to send our employees home and prepare for difficult times,” he said. “But we’re lucky in that we have, for the most part, avoided the human suffering and death this pandemic has caused.”

Thinking about the problems faced by his family business, they paled when he compared them to those endured by the healthcare workers who have been fighting selflessly around the clock for months on end for the well-being and lives of others.

“One evening, while checking the news online, I saw pictures of frontline workers who were tending to desperately ill and dying people when families and friends could not be with their loved ones. It was heartbreaking,” he added.

The next day, a meeting was held with the resort’s staff and Bill invited suggestions for ways they could do something to honor healthcare workers. The result was the idea to award twenty divers who are working on the frontline to save other’s lives during this pandemic while risking their own, with a free week at the resort.

Manta ray, Manta birostris, gliding over a cleaning station in M’il Channel, Yap, Micronesia by David Fleetham

Divers around the world who had been guests at Manta Ray Bay in the past were invited to submit the names of candidates for the award by December 31, 2020. “We received nominations for 126 individuals from as far away as Germany, the U.S., Australia and Canada,” he said. “It was not easy choosing the winners but our committee of staff members took on the job and selected the 20 finalists.”

“While trying to choose the people to reward for their hard work during this Covid-19 crisis,” Bill added, “by reading the nominations we saw that every one of the nominees was doing things above and beyond the call of duty. Sadly, we don’t have the finances to offer over 100 free weeks in Yap, but we do want to recognize the contributions all of them are making to our world. So, we are offering the rest of the nominees a free week of diving in Yap which includes room, hotel tax, airport transfers, breakfast, diving and Wi-Fi.  The only requirement is that they travel with at least three other people and stay in two rooms or more.”

“We do not yet know when Yap will open its borders,” said Bill, “but when it does, we will welcome these important guests to Yap to relax and dive with the manta rays and the other beautiful denizens of the ocean surrounding our island home. They are the true heroes of this devastating, historic time and we look forward to honoring them with a well-deserved dive vacation.”

Watch out for our exclusive trip report from a healthcare worker from the UK who is one of the 20 to have been awarded this amazing dive trip!

For more information on Manta Ray Bay and Yap Divers visit their website by clicking here.

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Dive Training Blogs

Dream Dive Locker Build Out. Part I: Demolition (Watch Video)

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It’s finally here! Time to start building the greatest dive locker the world has ever seen! Part I: Demolition! #dreamdivelocker

This is the first of a series of videos showing the evolution of building out my dream dive locker. My dream dive locker needs to be dive gear drying and storage, dry storage, workshop, office, editing suite, You Tube studio and classroom. That’s a lot of functions for a small space!

The first step is planning out the space and demolishing the laminate flooring. Then I taped up the walls to get a feel for the space. We have a lot of work to do!

But finally we will have a purpose built space to house all of our dive equipment! Subscribe to our channel to follow our progress! 

Thanks for watching, Team!

James


Subscribe here: http://bit.ly/DiversReady

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