By Founder and President Kurt Lieber
Ocean debris is a serious business. We study the issue, we’re intense about wanting to end it, and we’re sticklers for safety while removing it.
However, we don’t take ourselves too seriously! We do find ways to have fun while saving marine wildlife and habitats. Besides enjoying each other's company, all of our divers appreciate the beauty of the underwater world. Most people are aware of this main reason most people scuba dive, but we "get a kick" out of our dives in other ways, too. For example, did you know that we have equipment that propels us through the water speeding us to our destination? Yes, it’s as fun as it sounds!
A little history
When ODA first started out, we didn’t have much money, so we just used the brute force of our fins to move us around underwater as we searched for abandoned fishing gear like nets, fishing lines, and traps. You know, the OLD-fashioned way, by using your feet…
I can recall covering a couple hundred yards, getting dog tired, and thinking “there has to be a better way.” The good news was that I slept like a baby that night… :-D
Then in 2013, we got a sizeable donation from TV Celebrity and Animal Activist Bob Barker, which enabled us to purchase three DPVs (Diver Propulsion Vehicles) or “scooters” as is more commonly known.
DPVs make ODA divers more effective (and less tired)
These scooters have saved us a ton of underwater time and improved our efficiency. We can now cover 4-5 times the distance underwater in the same amount of time. Not only can we cover more terrain during our searches for ghost gear, but our divers also have more energy and are safer because they don’t breathe as hard while looking for that stuff.
This equipment has been a literal game changer for our recovery efforts.
And yes, it's really fun when we can kick it with our ocean friends!
Join the conversation
Kim Cardenas has been our lead diver for several years now, and I hope you can take some time to listen to her talk about the value of these devices on UTD’s (Unified Team Diving) podcast.
Did we mention fun? In this episode Jeff and Ben are joined by UTD instructor Kim Cardenas as we take a deep dive into everything scooters – some of the history with UTD including Scubatics (underwater acrobatic competition) and Monkey Bash (one of the craziest games you can play underwater), along with the pros, the cons, the costs, and more.
Kim – and all of us at ODA – would love to hear from you after you listen – email us and tell us what you thought about the conversation!
We have to end with another great shot of Kim -- this time not in her dive suit but celebrating with the crew on the recovery of yet another haul of hazardous ocean debris!