How do you inspire young people to protect the ocean when they don’t even have access to the environments they’re meant to protect? PADI® Members David Roberts (MI – 609253) and Andy Forster (DM – 424983) grappled with this question before coming up with the idea for Dive Project Cornwall – an awareness campaign doubling as a competition that will eventually give 400 teenagers across England a weeklong trip to Cornwall to take the PADI Open Water Diver course.
“David and I had an influx of young people doing pool and sea ‘try dives,’” said Forster. “The most rewarding aspect was seeing their faces as they experienced the underwater world for the first time.” But that wasn’t enough for Forster and Roberts. “I said to David, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to get more young people into diving,’ and we started to talk about how we could do just that.”
Driving the development of the project was a core belief that exposing young people to the joys of diving would empower them to protect the ocean. “Education is key here, and we aim to make the ocean an interesting, engaging and inspiring topic,” said Forster. “The impact will be an understanding of the ocean’s importance to our own existence, the need to protect it and enjoy it.”
Dive Project Cornwall was born with an aim, as Forster puts it, “to save the marine environment, educate millions of adults and hundreds of thousand young people how important it is, and to give an experience to 400 lucky teenagers.” Those 400 teenagers who win the experience will become “Ocean Influencers” who will then spread the gospel of marine conservation.
Now that Forster and Roberts have the idea, though, the next hurdle is putting it into practice by gaining sponsors. With plans for the first group of teenagers to start diving in September 2022, keep an eye out on for Dive Project Cornwall and the impact it will have on diving in the UK and the conservation of our oceans. “We recognize the ocean is vital for the survival of the human race,” said Forster. “A healthy ocean equals healthy people.”
Based on an article that appeared in the Fourth Quarter 2021 The Undersea Journal®
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