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Straight Talk from PADI CEO: Engage Ocean Torchbearers

This year is AWARE’s 30th anniversary, with AWARE Week having just taken place 17-25 September. As you know, it’s an annual event in which PADI Members and Divers around the world engage in a wide range of ocean preservation, marine awareness and public-outreach conservation activities. While many PADI Pros conduct ongoing AWARE efforts throughout the year, dedicating a synchronized action week creates public visibility, which in turn engages more folks in becoming Ocean Torchbearers. This has already resulted in positive change: PADI AWARE and partners petitioned successfully for protection of 54 shark species! AWARE week’s broad reach also encourages diver participation in local events you may have scheduled.

AWARE week is also a reminder of our vision to work toward restoring the balance between humanity and the ocean. One of PADI AWARE’s priorities is to provide PADI Members realistic, useful tools for doing this. The first of these is driving Marine Protected Areas (MPA) development and building the world’s largest network of ocean conservation sites though Adopt the Blue.

Adopt the Blue provides data PADI AWARE and partner organizations need when they approach government and regulating bodies to demonstrate the benefits of establishing and broadening MPAs. PADI Mission Hubs adopting more new sites for AWARE week adds to these data, laying the groundwork for good management decisions and additional adopted sites to protect. Learn more by clicking here.

The Dive Against Debris course is a popular AWARE Week event, and the recent course revisions expand contributions to the world’s largest marine debris database by including a wider range of divers. Beyond this, you and your divers can also use the updated PADI AWARE App to streamline debris data submission. If you’re looking for some last-minute AWARE Week activities, run Dive Against Debris courses and cleanup dives at your adopted dive site(s). Both are popular and tend to attract divers even with relatively short notice. In partnership with The Ocean Cleanup, we are working toward ridding the ocean of plastic – as of this writing, divers have conducted more than 16,000 debris surveys.

Please ask your divers to donate to PADI AWARE. Doing so will help fund the PADI AWARE Community Grant Program, which funds local conservation efforts driven by PADI Members just like you, that clearly bring positive change. To date, in 2022 the grant program has issued $400,000 USD to support ocean conservation efforts around the world. It has funded six coral restorations, three vulnerable species, two climate change, two MPAs and three marine-debris initiatives. Aided by the grants, PADI Members are engaged in a unique giant kelp restoration program, providing coral restoration training to locals, researching habitat data for the preservation of rare seahorse species and shifting communities from taking to protecting endangered sea turtles. (Check out all the funded initiatives here.) The key point is that the PADI AWARE Community Grant Program can support such local PADI Mission Hub actions because you and PADI Divers in the local community support and stand behind it. To learn more about qualifying for and applying for a grant, go here.

It was my pleasure to see the biggest AWARE Week yet, involving more Ocean Torchbearers/divers than ever before – the ocean certainly needs our help.


Drew Richardson
President & CEO

The post Straight Talk from PADI CEO: Engage Ocean Torchbearers appeared first on PADI Pros.

President’s Desk, adopt the blue, Dive Against Debris, ocean torchbearers, PADI AWAREPADI Pros


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