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Who We Are

Who We Are

advisor Kim CardenasI was born and raised in Orange County, California, where I spent much of my youth swimming and surfing at some of the best beaches in the world. This resulted in a life-long love and passion for the ocean.  I first became interested in SCUBA diving when watching the Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau films shown in my elementary school auditorium. Unfortunately, when SCUBA diving certification was offered at my high school by the YMCA, they didn’t allow girls to participate!

After graduating from University of California with a double major in Environmental Biology and Biochemistry, it took moving hundreds of miles away from the ocean to the California desert to finally get my open water SCUBA certification in 1988. After graduating college, while pursuing my first job with the California Department of Fish and Game to work with threatened and endangered species, I continued with my dive training to become a technical diver using mixed gasses as well as becoming an Instructor. I made my way back to the coast and have been in the beautiful coastal town of Ventura, California for the last almost three decades. 

I have worked for the same silicone manufacturing company for 27 years as a chemist in Product Development, Quality Assurance, Environmental Health and Safety and finally Operations. At the same time, I have made the ocean my passion, traveling the world to SCUBA dive in Europe, the Caribbean, Mexico, the Middle East and Asia. I have extended my ocean conservation interest to include the fragile underwater cave environments. 

I have always admired the mission of Ocean Defenders Alliance (ODA) to rid our oceans of derelict fishing gear and was thrilled to become a volunteer diver with them in 2013. I love working with ODA to combine my love and stewardship of the environment with my passion for SCUBA diving. I look forward to combining my position as an Advisory Board member with my role as an ODA diver to further the vision of ODA. I am passionate about educating others as to how we can all make a difference in how we treat our oceans and those creatures that live in and around it.

Kim--underwater--working to remove a ghost net.Kim--underwater--working to remove a ghost net.

I look forward to continuing this role and using my mentoring and coaching experience gained from industry to bring new young divers into the organization. I am trained in First Aid, CPR, AED and Oxygen provider, which are needed skills when working on boats and with divers because some of the Derelict Fishing Gear removal can sometimes be dangerous. I am the proud parent of a wonderful special needs young adult and have passed my passion onto him. 


  • Technical Diver, GUE and UTD
  • Instructor, UTD
  • CPR and First Aid Certified, Red Cross
  • Oxygen Provider, DAN

Kim with other divers ready to go retrieve manmade debrisKim on the ODA boat Mr. Barker's LegaSea