On 15 June 2019, divers from around the globe came together in Deerfield Beach, Florida, to set a new Guinness World Record for the most participants in an underwater cleanup in 24 hours.
A total of 633 divers took part in breaking the record, which was previously held by Ahmed Gabr, who gathered 614 scuba divers for a cleanup in Egypt, in 2015.
"We couldn't have done this without every single diver there. Each person was significant in making this achievement a reality," notes Arilton Pavan, event organizer, and owner of Dixie Divers.
"The scuba community united together under a single mission to do something good for the environment, coming together from across the state of Florida and around the world."
The event was sponsored by local dive centers, as well as Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) and Project Aware.
The record-breaking effort brought together local and international dive communities to remove and report marine debris and raise awareness about the importance of ocean conservation.
9,000 Pieces of Marine Debris
Marine debris removed during the event was recorded via Project Aware's flagship citizen science program - Dive Against Debris.
Dive Against Debris is an underwater trash data-collection program that improves the health of ocean ecosystems through localized citizen-science efforts and provides valuable information to help inform policy change.
During the event, participants removed 9,000 pieces of marine debris, including 3,200 pounds of fishing gear from the Deerfield Beach coastline.
"On behalf of the entire PADI organization, I would like to congratulate all involved in this monumental event," adds Drew Richardson, CEO of PADI.
"It was a remarkable demonstration of the impact divers can have on the health of oceans, both locally and on a global scale, by elevating awareness about key issues facing our blue planet."
The achievement underscores PADI's longstanding commitment to environmental conservation, known as the PADI Pillars of Change.
Through its industry-leading course offerings and dedicated partnerships with organizations like Project Aware, PADI aims to unite divers around the world to become advocates for change to protect and preserve the world's oceans.