Ocean Defenders Alliance
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Our History

Kurt at helmKurt at the helmOcean Defenders Alliance (ODA) fills a huge void in the world of marine conservation by taking on the role of “cleanup crew” for the seas. We don’t just talk about the need for clean oceans—we physically go out and make it happen!

Our Founder, Kurt Lieber, is an avid diver and underwater photographer, and while enjoying recreational dives recognized through his own experiences the need for this important work. Although a mechanical engineer by trade, Kurt’s passion has always been the health of marine wildlife and their habitats. On dives all over the world, he saw human trash and commercial fishing gear that had been discarded…often wrapped around beautiful reefs, trapping and killing helpless marine life in an endless cycle.

The more he learned, the more Kurt felt a compelling urgency to "dive in" and help the ecosystem survive this onslaught of man-made debris and pollution. So, in 2000, he took action by informally creating Ocean Defenders Alliance (ODA), and in 2002 formally registered ODA as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.

Since then, Kurt’s leadership and vision has translated into tangible results for ocean life: hundreds of volunteer divers have removed tons of deadly man-made debris, presentations have helped educate thousands of school children, business/civic groups, and dive club members, and the “Alliance” of concerned citizens and organizations is growing.   [To read his personal story, visit our Founder’s page].

While others are talking, ODA is “diving in” to save lives as often as our resources permit.

To date, ODA has completed hundreds of results-oriented excursions, but there is still a lot of work to be done.

Following is a select list of dive voyages for 2011 and 2012:



Depth (ft)

Debris Removed

May 17, 2012

Lighthouse, Los Angeles Harbor, San Pedro


150 pounds of debris; 200 feet of line

May 10, 2012

Lighthouse, Los Angeles Harbor, San Pedro


150 pounds debris; 1,000 feet of line

April 2012

Lover’s Cove, Catalina Island


Survey dive, nothing removed

June 2011

Los Coronado Islands


900 pounds of debris

June 10-12, 2011

Infidel boat wreck, Catalina Island (south end)


1,000 pounds of net for all three days

March 2011

African Queen boat wreck, Long Beach Harbor entrance


300 pounds of net

February 2011

Old Marineland platform, Palos Verdes coast


250 pounds of net


Read about the work we are doing now to clean our oceans!

Kurt Lieber and Paul WatsonKurt Lieber with Paul Watson, founder of Sea Shepherd

Following is a list of dive voyages for 2011 and 2012

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We Defend Marine Life

ODA eliminates dangerous man-made debris which pose serious threats to ocean wildlife and habitats.

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