Hundreds of Divers Set the World Record for Largest Underwater Cleanup

The Record-setting 633 divers retrieved at least 1,626 pounds of trash and 60 pounds of fishing line.



(Project Aware – Jack Fishman)

The annual Save Deerfield  Beach (Florida) on June 15, 2019  has taken place for 15 years. It was organized by the Dixie Divers, supported by Project AWARE and a PADI® dive center. This year's cleanup was one for the record books.

Hundreds of divers signed up for the event and joined together to put their scuba skills to good use in underwater beach cleaning. Ocean pollution is an ongoing issue with billions of pounds and trash and other pollutants entering the oceans every year.

This year, The Guinness world-Record setting 633 divers brought up at least 1,626 pounds of trash, and 60 pounds of fishing line. The official weight of the trash that was recovered is still being tallied and Project Aware thinks it could be as high as 3,200 pounds of marine debris.

"There were countless lead sinkers ... everything from a boat ladder to a barbell," Organizer and Participant Tyler Bourgoine told CNN.

The majority of the garbage that removed by participating dive volunteers was recorded and reported to Project AWARE’s Dive Against Debris®. The program's aim  is to empower scuba divers to remove marine debris from the seafloor and report data about types, quantities, and locations of what they collect. The city will help to recycle the debris and will make sure that everything is properly disposed of.

"It was a great time ... Everyone was working together and cleaning up one part of the reef or pier," Bourgoine said.

"This event brought together divers from all over south Florida for the purpose of engaging in conservation and achieving a community goal that has not been set for years, and never once considered in the United States," Jack Fishman, community conservation officer at Project AWARE, told Global Citizen.

The day ended with a huge crowd of beachgoers and dive enthusiasts cheering the announcement that the Guinness World Record for the biggest ocean cleanup had been broken.

"What an amazing day for conservation and an amazing day for the dive community," said Fishman in a Project AWARE press release. "We are overwhelmed by the success of Dixie Divers' event, but we want to emphasize that you don’t need to take part in an event to make a difference. We all have the power to create positive change for the ocean each day and every time we dive."

The beach cleanup was a huge success but if people cleaned up after themselves and recycled their waste instead of throwing fishing line and plastics into the water, our oceans would have a much better chance of recovering.