The Dive Shop Reboots Reef Cleanup Program
By Holly Houser, Ocean Reef Press Editorial Assistant
The Dive Shop is open and excited to welcome Members back out to enjoy, appreciate and support the environment, after closing their doors in March due to the Coronavirus. One program they are eager to continue with the community is the Dive Against Debris Cleanups.
Two years ago, The Dive Shop at Ocean Reef joined Goal: Clean Seas Florida Keys – a program that encourages divers to remove marine debris from the ocean and report data to the Project Aware Dive Against Debris Program and National Marine Sanctuary Foundation (NMSF).
After receiving a grant from the NMSF to aid in the cleanup and restoration efforts, The Dive Shop began conducting monthly trips to collect waste in the waters surrounding Ocean Reef. Since their first trip in August 2018, more than 4,000 pounds of marine debris has been collected from reefs located in the Club’s own backyard, like Turtle Rocks and Carysfort.
“While we have worked hard to collect thousands of pounds of harmful waste over the past couple years, there is still so much more to be done,” said Jesus Gudino, The Dive Shop’s longtime general manager and co-owner with Lisa Bailey Cassidy. “We’re excited to have our doors open again and we encourage all Ocean Reef Members to become involved in the cleanups. Whether you’re a scuba diver or a snorkeler, everyone can lend a hand in helping us take action against marine debris.”
Each Wednesday for the coming months, The Dive Shop invites Members to join them in cleaning up the waters that help make Ocean Reef so special. To follow social distancing guidelines, space on the trips is limited and Members are asked to call ahead of time to secure their reservation. If you’re interested in participating or learning more, call The Dive Shop at 305-367-3051.
In addition to offering debris cleanups and snorkeling and diving charter trips, The Dive Shop, located on the Marina side of the Fishing Village, carries an array of merchandise, including dive gear, clothing, and sunglasses, all made from sustainable and recycled materials. The Dive Shop is open daily from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.