Rainbow Reef – Dive Against Debris Events

I’m now a certified “Dive Against Debris” diver! Finally an event that combines two of my favorite things; diving & my love for the environment. Rainbow Reef here in Key Largo holds a “Dive Against Debris” event each month, we’ll be regulars for sure. Check out this awesome video of one of their past events.

If you’re planning a trip to the keys, give Rainbow a call and see if they’re having a clean-up dive while you’re here! They’re held monthly & I promise you’ll have a great time!

Marine debris is a growing problem in our disposable culture. 70% of the debris that makes it into the ocean will land on the seafloor making it impossible to clean up without the assistance of volunteer divers. Countless creatures will be injured or killed by the trash due to entanglement or mistaking it for food. Last weekend we watched a sea turtle go to town eating a moon jellyfish which look very similar to plastic bags. We have to keep this stuff out of the ocean to keep these creatures safe.

Check out the video & infographic of The Ugly Journey of our Trash by Project AWARE to learn more about the life of our trash.

Where we dove & what we found

We dove the deep side of Molasses during our event & removed 12lbs of trash, the heaviest and largest of which was an anchor line. These thick anchor ropes are extremely harmful to the reef because currents shift them back and forth destroying coral and sponges. We also found a lot of fishing line, sinkers, metal leads, bottles, cans and a reel from a sailboat.

Why the specialty is important

  • You’ll learn what to remove, what to leave & how to safely remove debris without causing more damage. Fishing line entangled in the reef gets covered with sponge & coral growth pretty quickly so it’s important to learn tips on proper removal. We found a champagne bottle on the bottom & left it behind – it was covered with growth, there were creatures living inside that we couldn’t shake out & glass isn’t all that harmful to the environment. Before the class I would have picked it up and taken it.
  • Proper use of lift bags – lift bags can be very dangerous if not used properly. They were the thing I was most nervous about taking the class. We didn’t find anything heavy enough this time to require a lift bag but anchors have been found and removed in the past. Maybe next time!
  • Finding trash is just as important as not finding trash. Not finding anything is an important data point to be logged.
  • Log your findings with Project AWARE

How it works

This is how it works with Rainbow Reef – check with your shop for their plan.

  • $175 for the first event per person – includes the specialty and 2 dives.
  • $55 for every event after

How can you help?

You don’t have to be a diver to help combat trash in our water ways! Everyone everywhere can help!

  • Check out cleanup events in your area
  • Make picking up trash a part of your routine – organized events are great for raising awareness but picking up trash on your own is just as important
  • Consider donating to Project AWARE or other conservancy organization
  • Say “no” to plastic bags, straws, etc. We’ve evolved into a disposable culture but once you become aware of it you can change your habits to reduce your impact. Bring your own bags to the grocery store & your own reusable containers to restaurants. After all, the best way to reduce trash in our waterways is to not produce it in the first place!

Don’t let your dives go to waste!

Till next time …


Warm thoughts to all!






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