More people than ever are doing their part to clean up ocean garbage, even if it means tanking up and scuba diving down under the ocean to get it themselves, with their own two hands. A team of divers, several hundred strong, officially proved it on Saturday, setting a world record for the largest underwater cleanup.
A total of 633 scuba divers amassed near the Deerfield Beach International Fishing Pier in Florida to support the effort.
Meanwhile, Guinness World Record adjudicator Michael Empric, from New York, attended the occasion to make the official count between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. that morning.
“It doesn’t matter what happens today with the Guinness World Records,” Empric added. “What really matters is that everyone is out there cleaning up around the pier and trying to improve the community.”
But they went ahead and broke the old record anyway.
The previous record for the largest dive of this kind was set in 2015. Ahmed Gabr, a former Egyptian Army scuba diver, organized 615 divers to plunge into the Red Sea in Egypt in a monumental cleanup effort.
Project AWARE catalogued the debris that was collected, pulling together the largest database survey of marine debris, a means that could change how ocean pollution policies are enacted in Deerfield and Southern Florida.
“There’s a lot of heavy weights for fishing line down there, but there’s some really beautiful fish, mostly,” 13-year-old Dahlia Bolin told the Sentinel Sun. She and her mother Rebecca had made the trip all the way from Mackinaw, Illinois to be part of the record-setting effort.
“To say today's collaboration of The World Record Clean Up Event hosted by Dixie Divers was a success is an understatement,” Fishman later wrote in a Facebook post. “What an amazing day for Conservation and an amazing day for the dive community.”