In honor of Earth Day, students of Florida Keys Community College’s Scuba Club collaborated with Reef Relief to remove marine debris from the Cayman Salvage Master shipwreck 90 feet underwater off the coast of Key West.  The popular dive spot and home to a host of aquatic life has become plagued with marine debris.  Captain’s Corner Dive Center provided transportation for the volunteers, who collectively removed 15.7 pounds of dock and anchor lines and 8.7 pounds of monofilament fishing line.

In addition to helping the environment, 13 students also earned a Marine Debris Specialty Certification through Project AWARE.  Founded by environmental advocates at the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), Project AWARE empowers scuba divers to protect the oceans and conserve the creatures that inhabit it. Documentation of the trash removed from the wreck was sent to Project AWARE’s database that monitors underwater pollution worldwide.

The FKCC Scuba Club continues Earth Day festivities through the weekend.  They will hold their annual Finathon event at the College’s Dive Training Lagoon on the Key West Campus on Sunday at 12 noon.  Finathon, a worldwide Project AWARE challenge, raises awareness and money to protect the world’s oceans, with particular focus on the over-exploitation of shark and ray populations and the increasing amount of marine debris that damages the health of ocean ecosystems.  The FKCC Scuba Club has already raised $1,140 and hopes to beat last year’s amount of $1,325.  To donate to the FKCC Scuba Club Finathon fundraiser, visit: http://finathon.org/team/FKCCScubaClub.