Seanna Knight and Nate Sterns are the driving force behind Florida Keys Dive Center’s “No Trash Left Behind” marine debris reduction efforts. CONTRIBUTED

BUMPY RIDE THERE

Conditions last week were bumpy but doable. Those kind of conditions are boring until you get down. Then it’s beautiful until you climb up and have to struggle against the ladder to get back on board.

MORE SPORTY CONDITIONS TO COME

This week looks exactly the same problem. So if you go out, be extra careful. Make sure your anchor is in place and pay attention to that scale.

CLEANING DEBRIS FROM THE DEEP

Even with somewhat sporty conditions, we managed to do a few marine debris cleanup dives. We were fortunate to receive a grant from the PADI Aware Foundation for our debris cleanup program. Sixteen ocean protection projects from around the world have been recognized for their efforts in ocean science and sustainability. Florida Keys Dive Center was the recipient in the marine debris category. This effort has been powered by our Curatorial Coordinators Seanna Knight and Nate Sterns. The two have set up a program to combat the problem of marine debris called “No Trash Left Behind”.

This program allows visiting divers to perform “Debris Dive” dives. Each diver receives a bag and a pair of gloves and performs two reef dives together, picking up litter. The results are then sent to PADI Aware, which records their efforts. There are many ocean conservation-focused activities in the Keys, including lionfish derbies, coral restoration, and shark-friendly dives. And thanks to the efforts of Knight and Sterns, we can also add marine debris cleanups. If anyone is interested in participating in our “Debris Diving” dives, please call the shop at 305-852-4599.

IT’S IMPORTANT TO ME

Speaking of ocean conservation, I.CARE will plant this Saturday in Key Dives at Bud n’ Mary’s Marina.

CONSERVATION ADVICE

Although we clean up trash in our oceans, always be mindful when you’re out there. One of the biggest pieces of trash we constantly collect is fishing line. Let’s do our best to limit this problem.

Eric Billips is the owner, captain and instructor of Islamorada Dive Center and Floridia Keys Dive Center. He specializes in scuba diving, rebreather, spearfishing and captaining in the Florida Keys