Scuba diving can be a ruthless sport, both to man and nature.
Just as there are rewards, there are also dangers to it. Fortunately, we have unsung heroes who have made it their life mission to make this world a safer place to dive.
Meet the diving angels of the deep blue sea.
Lad Akins (Educator & Marine Conservationist)
Akins is all about preserving the oceans through studying and controlling the invasive lionfish.
“We helped organize the first lionfish derby,” Akins says. “Now there are derbies all around the region, and we’re finding that local control can be very effective in keeping populations down on dive sites.” In the Keys, REEF has trained around 800 divers to collect lionfish. “It’s very unlikely that you’ll see a lionfish in the Florida Keys these days.”
Edd Sorenson (Cave Rescue & Recovery Diver)
Cave diving is a seriously dangerous adventure. Plenty of experienced divers have lost their lives exploring some of the world’s most life-threatening underwater caves. Sorenson has committed himself to cave rescue for the last 15 years.
“I don’t know how I do it,” he says. “I’ve been into stuff so small that my head won’t fit, and I have to turn my head sideways. I’m not very smart I guess, but I just won’t give up.”
Jim Elliott (Disabled Scuba Diver Advocate)
Elliott left his six-figure job behind to volunteer and become a disabled scuba diver advocate. “We work with all the dive agencies to teach adaptive certifications,” he explains. He and his team want to tell the world that diving can contribute to improving the lives of people with medical conditions.
“We did a pilot study in the Caymans and found that, at 66 feet, we get a boost of serotonin that helps with pain management,” Elliott says. “People with multiple sclerosis have experienced pain relief. We had divers with PTSD whose symptoms were eliminated. And pressure therapy might even help with autism.”
Image source: scubadiving.com