Friday, January 28, 2022

Marco Island Reef Clean-Up Planned

Divers, boaters, and marine environmental enthusiasts are needed to help with an organized clean-up of debris and trash on our local reefs and wrecks on Saturday, October 20th from 8 AM to 2 PM. Sorting, disposal, pictures and refreshments to follow at the Snook Inn.

Objective: To eradicate reefs of plastics and trash focusing on ghost cast nets, fishing, nylon (anchor), and polypropylene (crab trap) lines.

Game Plan: To couple dive teams with boats to target specific sites with minimal travel time (fuel consumption). Vessels departing Caxambas will be assigned southerly sites with debris drop off at Caxambas Park, and Capri departures will focus northerly with debris drop off at the Snook Inn. All debris will be transported to the Snook for sorting, pictures, and “Feel Good About What We Did” refreshments.

Logistics: Any potential boat volunteers must have a competent captain (able to place their anchor on GPS coordinates) and a vigilant spotter to keep track of divers bubbles. Tarps to protect boats will be provided but owners must understand there is a greater potential for gel coat scrapes than if their boat is sitting on a lift and accept that potentiality. Boats must also have ample means for divers to re-board (ladder). Any potential dive volunteers must be certified and experienced to a reasonable comfort level, have recent dives logged, and be in satisfactory physical condition. Single dive volunteers (to be paired with a buddy) will be accepted but dive buddies (teams of two) are preferred.

Coordination: Wednesday, October 17th, 6 PM at Scuba Marco.

Specific sites will be assigned to teams. Boat volunteers must have either the captain or the spotter present (both preferred). Divers must have at least one person from each buddy team present (both preferred). What to bring up and how will be addressed. What to leave will be discussed also. Standard boating and diving practices and procedures will be reviewed and our emphasis is on SAFETY! If not already friendly, captains and spotters will have an opportunity to meet divers and contact info can be exchanged and individual coordination details discussed.

We can’t clean up all the debris out there but we can make an impact and save future marine life! Lines are terrible trash, over time plants and sponges grow over them and often fishing line is wrapped all around them. When fishermen snag these lines or boaters catch anchors in them and pull up, all the life growing over them is yanked off its structure. Eradicating lines that have growth over them can be a tedious and time-consuming task.

Unfortunately, this is a fantastic time to clean up our reefs, we won’t have to worry about harming the life over the lines; the red tide has already killed it. That’s sadly what we should expect to encounter to a great degree. We can’t fix our red tide dilemma in a day but hopefully we can make environmental changes to mitigate it over time.

For more information, stop by Scuba Marco, 1141 Bald Eagle Drive, Marco Island or call 239-389-7889. Sign up to be a volunteer by October 17 at\site413718\event\439085.

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