What does AWARE stand for? Aquatic World Awareness, Responsibility and Education.
If you’ve spent any time within the PADI (Professional Association of diving Instructors) organization, then you’ve probably heard of Project AWARE (and may even have one of their Project AWARE certification cards!)
What is Project AWARE?
Project AWARE has been on the scene and doing good for the environment for over 25 years. Less commonly known, it is actually a separate entity from PADI and is a nonprofit organization originally based out of the United States. Since the 80s they have expanded to have headquarters in the UK as well as Australia. However, Project AWARE has had a huge influence on divers all over the world and they promote responsible diving habits as well as environmental awareness in all aspects of ocean activities.
Where are they making a difference?
Dive Against Debris
Dive Against Debris has been a huge program for promoting the Project AWARE objectives over the last 25 years. This campaign was responsible for one million pieces of trash removed and recorded thanks to their underwater marine debris survey, which is the first of its kind. They have big goals for 2020 so find out how you can be a part of the #NextMillion2020 right here.
Adopt a Dive Site
Do you make regular trips out to a specific dive site to pick up trash? Make it official by adopting that dive site and recording all of the data (trash) that you find! Project AWARE wants to gather more information about the state of the world’s oceans by building its database of real life pollution found. Adopt a dive site today!
Save the sharks
Do you like sharks and rays? Project AWARE does too. The ocean conservation game is primarily run by decisions made within CITES: Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. Therefore, Project AWARE stays connected by what’s happening in these conventions and runs petitions to keep the media coverage and momentum up around the decisions made so that action will be made.
As of August 2019, Mako sharks have been moved from Vulnerable to Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species list. CITES decided to protect 18 different types of sharks and rays, including the Mako shark. Project AWARE is running the #Divers4Makos campaign to make sure that real action gets made in order to protect these important creatures. Sign the petition here.
How can you get involved?
There are many ways to support Project AWARE. You can take the very literal support method by donating to the cause.
Other ways that you can support their campaigns:
- Host or participate in Dive Against Debris
- Adopt a Dive Site in your local area
- Make #EveryDiveaSurveyDive and report back to Project AWARE with what you find
- Host or participate in beach clean-ups
- Support #plasticfree living
Finally, you can go full Project AWARE and…
Take a PADI Specialty course including Project AWARE Shark Conservation, Dive Against Debris, or learn about the entire conservation program with the Project AWARE Specialty. These courses are fun and useful for getting more in tune with the state of our ocean and the creatures who live there.
Other resources from Project AWARE:
Join Azul Unlimited for regular Project AWARE events including monthly Dive Against Debris dives at our Adopted Dive Site: Batu Bolong!
PADI IDC Staff Instructor #320212
We teach responsible scuba divers and ocean protectors. The brand is run by PADI IDC Staff Instructor Sarah Valdez who teaches scuba diving in person and on YouTube. Now she travels around the states and Mexico in her van scuba diving in new and different places. Follow her adventures on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok or join the Azul scuba community on Patreon.
Azul Unlimited is partnered with Azul Komodo, a top PADI IDC Center in Labuan Bajo, Indonesia offering daily dive trips to the Komodo National Park. Contact their team directly for an unforgettable experience diving in one of the top dive destinations in the world!