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Scuba divers remove nearly 170lbs of debris from the Okaloosa Island Pier

On Saturday, August 5, over 90 scuba divers took part in a cleanup event at the Okaloosa Island Pier, making it the second largest turnout since the event to the […]

On Saturday, August 5, over 90 scuba divers took part in a cleanup event at the Okaloosa Island Pier, making it the second largest turnout since the event to the public. The event, organized by Visit Destin-Fort Walton Beach, The Gulfarium, and the Okaloosa Island Pier, aimed to remove debris from the pier pilings and seafloor.

  • Divers spent the morning removing various items, including lots of fishing line, lures, masks, bait knives, a pair of jeans, and a drone. 
  • The total amount of debris collected was around 170 lbs.

“Every time we do these dive cleanups, it seems to get better and better each season,” said Jessica Valek, Okaloosa Coastal Resource Coordinator. “However, it’s still important that we remove as much debris as we can from the pilings because that is what poses such a big threat to a lot of our marine life.”

Valek explains that there was a lot of fishing line that was hanging off of the Pier pilings on Saturday. “That’s also what our sea turtles can get caught on too, so maintenance is necessary,” she added.

Source: Eric Brown, Okaloosa Island Pier

Pier Manager Eric Brown shared his satisfaction with the results of the event. “Our second annual pier cleanup dive is all wrapped up! 93 divers entered the water and removed 169.8 lbs of debris,” he said. 

  • He also mentioned the improvement compared to the previous cleanups. “When we started this adventure, we were at nearly 1,000 lbs. With each dive, it gets to be less and less.”
Source: Alex Fogg

Brown attributed the success to both the effectiveness of the cleanup dives and the growing adoption of the “leave no trace” initiative by locals and visitors. 

“Events like these show what happens when multiple different businesses and organizations come together and pull off something absolutely amazing for our environment,” added Brown. “This was a phenomenal turnout, and we are extremely grateful to the dive community for joining us on this hot Saturday morning!”

Source: Okaloosa Island Pier
Source: Alex Fogg

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