After months of planning by local businesses, clubs, and dive organizations and weeks of calm weather, this past Saturday started out a bit on the wet side with rain and wind picking up the seas off of Deerfield Beach, Florida.
But the participants who came to set the Guinness World Record for the Largest Underwater Cleanup were not deterred. As the time came to hit the water, the seas laid down and winds subsided, leaving only the anticipation of claiming the new world mark. The previous record of 614 divers was set under the Red Sea in 2015 by an Egyptian group led by a former Egyptian Army scuba diver, Ahmed Gabr.
The goal had been 700 divers for this event but after taking a look at the crowd, the consensus was that it was going to be close. People came from as far away as Europe and South America to participate and everyone got together for a group shot prior to gearing up.
This attempt wasn't just about the divers. Hundreds of volunteers were on hand to haul and sort all the plastic, fishing line, and other debris that was collected so that it could all be documented and weighted by 4ocean's Shark Bracelet partner Project AWARE® for their Dive Against Debris® program. This helped get a true view of just how much was actually down there. We even ran into our good friend from Project AWARE, Jack Fishman, who was there to oversee the collection data which will be featured on their Dive Against Debris Map.
The group from 4ocean took our place in the mass of humanity and headed to the water to get our clean on...
On the way, we had to pass by Guinness adjudicator Michael Empric to be counted for the record...
The water was warm and, considering the rain and waves we had earlier in the day, it turned out to be the perfect day to clean. We hit the water to fill our bags.
With the dive behind us and our bags loaded down with trash, fishing line, and lead sinkers, we headed to the dump zone to unload our bags...
The preliminary tally of everything collected was around 1,500 pounds by the time we departed, but that total climbed much higher — to more than 3,000 pounds — as the hours passed...
In the end, we broke the Guinness World Record for the Largest Underwater Cleanup!
633 divers strong.
Our friend Jack Fishman from Project AWARE said it best, "This accomplishment of 633 divers who successfully removed 3,200 pounds of marine debris has led to a hugely successful endeavor of engaging local dive communities and officials to understand the importance of marine debris issues and removing them at-large."
The cleanup gained international press from the likes of CNN, Forbes, Global Citizen, EcoWatch, and Surfer Today, just to name a few. Every time something like this gets this kind of attention, it only helps further 4ocean's mission to educate and foster awareness of the global plastic pollution crisis. What a day –– even Bob the Mannequin got a 4ocean Bracelet! Get yours today and help us pull a pound of trash from the ocean and coastlines.
Are you going to be the next Guinness World Record holder? What about organizing the world's largest underwater river cleanup? Or how about organizing the world's largest boat cleanup? It's up to you. Get out there and make a difference!
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