In general, the Hawaiian Islands are known as the “paradise islands.” We agree they’re incredibly beautiful. These islands deserve our stewardship and care especially because their beaches and waters are marred by abandoned fishing gear—both commercial and recreational—as well as plastic and “gyre-type” pollution.
In 2016, due to the great need for ocean cleanups, Ocean Defender Alliance (ODA) began working in Hawai'i. We kicked off our debris-removal work in Oahu with the help of long-time friend Stephen Boreman, Esq., his nephew Mash Hatae, Vicki Szymczak, and friends from the University of Hawai’i who are very concerned about the health of their local waters.
Since that time, ODA-Hawai'i has expanded significantly, with dozens of volunteers participating in ocean cleanups on Oahu and the Big Island, with Maui to be added in early 2022.
Because the coastal waters of Hawai'i are generally very deep, it’s quite different from the work we do off the coast of California where we can dive 35-100 feet and remove debris that’s sitting on the ocean floor.
The way the ocean currents flow, most ghost gear collects in the Pacific Gyre (garbage patch), but some spins out and washes ashore. Often, we remove very large quantities of fishing net from beaches along with fishing ropes and other garbage. Occasionally, we also find fishing equipment such as nets floating at sea, and regularly we find recreational fishing lines and toxic lead weights on the coral-laiden underwater cliffs and near-shore bottoms. ODA-Hawai'i is also expert at removing debris from harbors, bays, and inlets.
In Hawai'i, rather than own and keep vessels (which means high costs for purchasing, maintenance, and moorage), we partner with four reputable dive companies:
- Oahu: Island Divers Hawaii, Matt Zimmerman (owner)
- Big Island: Jack’s Diving Locker, Teri & Jeff Leicher (co-owners)
- Big Island: Kohala Divers, Rebekah and Greg Kaufmann (co-owners)
- Big Island: Kona Honu Divers
We are fortunate to have these excellent partners. We work from their boats and they help connect us with people who want to give back to the oceans.
We’re thankful there are so many people in Hawai’i who are passionate about their coastal waters!
On the Big Island, as mentioned above, we enjoy working with three dive companies (Jack’s Diving Locker, Kohala, and Kona Honu Divers) cleaning both debris from harbors and at sea.
Our monthly dives in Oahu waters from the Island Divers Hawai’i boat always see full crews; we’ve had over a hundred different divers participate. Our Oahu coordinators and Advisory Board Members are Glenn Roberts (Dive team coordinator) and Marjorie Zenson.
In Hawai'i, we work regularly in the waters and on the beaches of Oahu and the Big Island, and Maui.
Some of our regular cleanup sites:
China Walls, Fishing Camp
Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve
Kaneohe Bay, He'eia Pier
Waiahole Beach Park
Island of Hawai'i:
La Perouse Bay
Dragon’s Teeth at Makaluapuna Point.
If you haven’t already explored our California page, we invite you to do so.
We’d love to have your help in Hawai'i, whether on a beach or on a boat or helping with outreach. Check out all the types of volunteering on our Get Involved page.
Check out the current list of volunteer opportunities on our ODA-Hawai'i Activities page.
La Perouse Bay Maui Sees 400 Pounds of Debris Removed by Ocean Defenders Alliance
Fifth ODA Cleanup at He’eia Pier Removes Surprising Amount of Toxic Tires & More
Honokohau Harbor Rained Out But We’ll Be Back
ODA Ocean Cleaning Crew Inspired to Defend Whales, Mantas, and All Wildlife
ODA Gives Oahu’s Westside Dive Site ‘Stars’ a Much-Needed Cleaning
Dangerous Abandoned Fishing Gear Hauled Out at Fish Camp Oahu
Ocean Defenders and Kona Honu Divers Unofficially Adopt Keahole Point for Underwater Cleanups
ODA-Hawaii Hunts for and Removes Marine Debris at Hālona Cove
Crew Chronicles – Deborah Kaawalauole-Townsend and Terry Carwile – Oahu
Reflections on 20 Years and Exciting Plans for Expanded Ocean Conservation
Dec 20, 2022 - Ocean Conservation Continues Despite Rough Seas Off Oahu
Dec 15, 2022 - Crew Chronicles – Juan Chacin – diver Big Island
Nov 30, 2022 - Four Tons and 2,000-Feet of Debris Removed at He’eia Pier Area of Kaneohe Bay
Nov 22, 2022 - ODA Tackles Ocean Debris at Keahole Point with Kona Honu Divers!
Nov 15, 2022 - Big Plans at Honokohau Harbor Reap Even Greater Dividends!
Nov 11, 2022 - ODA Divers Remove Abandoned Recreational Fishing Gear Threatening Beautiful Ocean Life
Nov 8, 2022 - Record Haul of Toxic Lead Fishing Weights Hauled Out at Hālona Blowhole
Oct 18, 2022 - Fishing Equipment Continually Threatens Ecosystem of Oahu Waters
Oct 11, 2022 - Maui Corals Are Relieved of Strangling Fishing Line
Oct 5, 2022 - Hālona Blowhole Cleanup with Sea Lancers a Success
Sep 29, 2022 - Small ODA-Hawai’i Team Makes Big Impact
Sep 27, 2022 - Kailua Pier in Kona Gets a Whopper of a Cleanup by ODA and Other Groups
Sep 22, 2022 - The Waters Below ‘Dragon Teeth’ Yield Large Amount of Hazardous Fishing Gear
Sep 6, 2022 - Kona Honu-ODA Expedition Sees Two Sites Cleaned of Ocean Debris
Aug 19, 2022 - Spitting Cave on Oahu Coast Spits Out Marine Debris
Jul 29, 2022 - Kohala Divers and ODA Team-up to Train New Debris-Removal Divers
Jul 18, 2022 - ODA and Kona Honu Divers Partnership Launched with Successful Debris Cleanup Dive
Jul 11, 2022 - ODA’s Eighth Cleanup at Honokohau Harbor Great Success
Jun 28, 2022 - He’eia Small Boat Harbor Says Good-bye to 110 Toxic Tires
Jun 17, 2022 - Monk Seals and Turtles Motivate ODA-HI Ocean Debris Cleanup Work
May 20, 2022 - Crew Chronicles - Marjorie & Mark - divers Oahu
Apr 26, 2022 - The Aloha Spirit of ODA-Hawaii Volunteers Yields Successful Earth Day Cleanup
Apr 21, 2022 - Ocean Cleanup Crew Safely Cleans Waters at Spitting Caves
Apr 14, 2022 - Maui Volunteers Remove Abandoned Fishing Gear at La Perouse Bay
Mar 16, 2022 - Coral and Octopus Glad to See Ocean Debris Removed from Their Habitat at China Walls
Mar 14, 2022 - ODA Divers Levitate Ocean Debris to the Surface at Magic Island
Mar 2, 2022 - Nudi Wear and ODA-HI Haul Off Over Two Tons of Debris from Waiahole Park
Feb 23, 2022 - Maui Chapter of ODA Officially Launched with Successful Underwater Debris Cleanup
Feb 21, 2022 - Lost Fishing Gear Continues to Collect and ODA-HI Removes It
Feb 7, 2022 - Passion for the Ocean Fuels Big Cleanup at He’eia Pier
Feb 3, 2022 - Honokohau Harbor Enjoys 7th ODA-Hawaii Cleanup
Jan 25, 2022 - ODA-Hawai’i Cleanup at Fish Camp Yields Great Results
Nov 24, 2021 - Fish Camp in Oahu Waters Gets Much Needed Cleaning
Nov 20, 2021 - ODA Crew Removes Marine Debris at Hālona Cove
Oct 28, 2021 - Hanauma Bay Gets Relieved of Ghost Nets and Plastic Debris
Oct 21, 2021 - Dedicated ODA-Hawai’i Volunteers Regularly Clean Coastal Waters
Sep 28, 2021 - Cleanup at Keauhou Bay for World Manta Day
Sep 14, 2021 - Launch of Kaneohe Harbor Cleanup Project
Aug 18, 2021 - China Walls’ Waters Need Regular Removal of Ghost Gear
Jun 17, 2021 - Keeping Oahu’s Coastal Waters Free of Debris
Jun 1, 2021 - Abandoned Fishing Gear & Trash Removed from Kawaihae Harbor
May 25, 2021 - More Debris Removal at Honokohau Harbor with Partner Jack’s Diving Locker
May 19, 2021 - ODA-HI Cleans China Walls & Makes Plans for Kaneohe and Hanauma Bays
Apr 28, 2021 - Earth Day Reef and Beach Cleanup at Magic Island, Oahu
Apr 13, 2021 - A Little Help from Our Friends…and Some Great Equipment
Apr 2, 2021 - Even Beautiful Hanauma Bay Needs to be Cleaned of Ghost Gear
Mar 17, 2021 - Fishing Nets, Boat Hulls, and Tires Removed from Waiahole Beach
Feb 19, 2021 - A Valentine’s Gift to Oahu’s Turtles and Fish
Feb 4, 2021 - Endangered Green Sea Turtle Habitat in Oahu Waters Gets A Cleaning
Jan 27, 2021 - ODA-Hawai’i Divers Make Ocean Debris Disappear at Magic Island
Jan 19, 2021 - Second FAD Removed by ODA-HI This Month
Jan 15, 2021 - Coastal Waters of Oahu Free of Abandoned Fishing Gear
Jan 4, 2021 - Fish Aggregating Device ‘FAD’ Removed from Harm’s Way in Oahu Waters
Dec 28, 2020 - Killer Debris Removed from Popular Oahu Fishing Site
Dec 8, 2020 - ODA-Hawaii Cleans Two Debris Sites
Oct 29, 2020 - Simultaneous Sea-Saving Successes
Aug 6, 2020 - Waiahole Beach Park is Relieved of 3,000 Pounds of Debris Thanks to ODA-HI and Nudi Wear
Jul 29, 2020 - Partnership & Scientific Studies with Friends of Hanauma Bay
Jul 14, 2020 - Trio of Ocean Defenders Haul Out Hazardous Fishing Line
May 20, 2020 - Three Ocean Debris Sites Cleaned in Oahu Waters
Apr 28, 2020 - Individuals in Our Alliance Defend the Oceans
Apr 20, 2020 - Whales Sing Praises to the ODA-HI Crew
Apr 7, 2020 - Calm and Collecting Debris at Point Panic
Mar 21, 2020 - So Much Ocean Defending Work to Do
Jan 27, 2020 - Large Volunteer Turnout for Honokohau Harbor Cleanup
Jan 16, 2020 - Sandy Beach in Oahu Gets Cleaning by ODA
Jan 14, 2020 - Strong Currents Don’t Stop the ODA-Hawaii Debris Removers
Nov 27, 2019 - Marine Wildlife Motivates ODA-Hawaii Debris-Removal Crew
Oct 1, 2019 - ODA’s Initial Cleanup at Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve
Sep 10, 2019 - Kawaihae Harbor Gets Cleaned by ODA-HI
Aug 28, 2019 - Massive Haul at Honokohau Harbor Cleanup
Aug 26, 2019 - Dedicated Oahu Divers Remove Deadly Marine Debris
Jul 17, 2019 - Video: ODA-Hawaii Volunteers Untangle Coral and Pufferfish
Jul 3, 2019 - Sea Turtles and Puffer Fish Helped by ODA-Hawaii
Jun 13, 2019 - World Oceans Day is Busy for ODA-Hawaii
May 10, 2019 - Oahu Divers Give Back to the Ocean
Apr 22, 2019 - Two-Year Anniversary of a Partnership Made in Ocean Heaven
Mar 21, 2019 - Volunteers Rid Hawai’i Waters of Coral-Strangling Lines and More
Feb 20, 2019 - ODA-HI Oahu Dive Team Removes Ghost Gear
Feb 6, 2019 - Hawaii’s 'Big Island' Water Cleanup with Kohala Divers
Jan 21, 2019 - Improvement Project Continues in Big Island Boat Harbor
Dec 27, 2018 - Toxic Lead Fishing Weights Removed from Oahu Waters
Oct 8, 2018 - Honokohau Harbor Cleanup Kick-off
Sep 19, 2018 - Opportunity to Cleanup Honokohau Harbor
Aug 6, 2018 - Hazardous Fishing Gear Hauled Out of Oahu Waters
Jul 31, 2018 - Honokohau Harbor and Two Other Sites Get ODA-HI’s Attention
Jul 26, 2018 - Underwater Harbor Cleanup in Big Island Waters
Jul 2, 2018 - ODA-HI Oahu Team Cleans Oceans to Help Marine Wildlife and Habitat
May 30, 2018 - Big Island’s ‘Trail of Tears’ Freed of Trash and Fishing Gear
May 24, 2018 - Oahu’s Spitting Caves Cleaned of Marine Debris
May 7, 2018 - Earth Day Cleanups on the Big Island of Hawaii
Apr 20, 2018 - ODA Partners in Monster Net Removal at Kailua Beach
Mar 12, 2018 - ODA-HI Volunteers Remove Ghost Gear and Multiple Abandoned Nets
Feb 5, 2018 - Abandoned Fishing Gear Removed from Oahu’s Coastal Waters
Jan 23, 2018 - Jack’s Diving Locker and ODA Launch First Debris Removal Expedition
Jan 4, 2018 - Hawai’i Preparatory Academy Cares About the Ocean
Jan 2, 2018 - Kohala Divers and ODA Join in Inaugural Debris Removal Dive
Oct 26, 2017 - Fishing Lines and Lead Weights Litter Oahu’s Ocean Floor
Oct 12, 2017 - Marine Wildlife Affected by the Health of Coral in Oahu
Sep 20, 2017 - Maui’s Sugar Beach Sure Looks Sweet (After ODA Cleanup)!
Sep 14, 2017 - Big Island of Hawai’i Coastal Waters Need Our Help
Sep 11, 2017 - ‘Kohala Divers’ and ODA: New Big Island of Hawai’i Alliance for Ocean Debris Removal
Sep 8, 2017 - ‘Jack’s Diving Locker’ Partners Up with ODA for Clean Oceans on the Big Island of Hawai’i
Aug 29, 2017 - Oahu Coral Freed from Smothering Ghost Gear
Aug 3, 2017 - Removing Monofilament Fishing Line Makes Oahu Water Safer
Jul 6, 2017 - Oahu’s China Wall Cleaned by ODA-HI Crew
May 26, 2017 - Big Island and Maui Added to ODA's Hawai'ian Expansion
May 18, 2017 - ODA Hawai’i Schedules Monthly Dives in Oahu Waters
Mar 31, 2017 - Hawaii Ghost Gear Removal by ODA’s Captain
Sep 29, 2016 - Hawai’i Chapter of ODA Launches First Expedition!
Mar 23, 2016 - Inaugural Activities for ODA Hawai’i
Mar 18, 2016 - ODA Launches New Hawai’i Chapter