Sunday, August 2, 2009

Watch Where Your Donations Go

Marine Cleanup Initiative Inc is dedicated to cleaning our waterways. When you donate to this organization, you do not need to fear some day you will read an article about us like this one. We post our accomplishments, videos of our efforts, and all newspaper articles that relate to our work on this site. Do not be discouraged by the fleecing artists and profiteers that frequent the south Florida beaches. Rather assist a worthwhile venture and follow the good we are doing as seen on local TV and in the press. Our efforts are high profile projects that draw dozens, if not hundreds of participants. We encourage the media to track the progress we make. Rather than seek donations with billboards, we make public appearances and offer presentations. Our accomplishments are not discussed in complicated IRS forms. Instead, you can come to the cleanup sites and see what we bring in.

We will again dive the Sebastian Inlet this coming Saturday, August 8th, weather permitting, and clear the fishing pier and "L" dock of monofilament line and casting nets that harm our wildlife.

We are currently in need of a pontoon boat and trailer to transport divers and debris to and from dive sites and around the state - with or without motor. Help us save the critters and our waterways. No luxury vessels please

Thank you for your support.

Captain don

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Divers in Palm Beach Join the Cleanup Effort

Click on the link below to see what divers in Palm Beach County are digging up in their efforts to clean up the underwater environment.

Divers Clean Up Underwater Waste

Data Card for Inlet Cleanups

If you are a diver who participated in either the Ft Pierce Inlet Cleanup on July 25 or the Sebastian Inlet Cleanup on August 8 and have not yet filled out a data card, a link can be found on the right side of this page that will open up a data card form. Please fill out the form, save a copy to your computer as a Word.doc, and e-mail it to at your earliest convenience.

Thanks very much,
Captain don

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Operation Reallocations for 2009 and Beyond

In order to maximize energies for the upcoming Earth Day 2010 celebration, Earth Day Journal will focus its attention on the planning of this monster event while Marine Cleanup Initiative Inc. will focus on reef and inlet cleanup events in Florida and other locales, as needed.

Therefore, to better serve our volunteers, all diving events and information will be communicated through this site and by e-mail to Captain Donald Voss.

Please take the time to bookmark and check back regularly for updates on upcoming events and sign-up forms.

PLEASE, if you did not have an opportunity to fill out a data/collection card at the Fort Pierce Inlet Dive, e-mail me and I will send you a form to fill out. The information that you include on these cards helps our counties to better fund these efforts and gain public support.

I want to thank all who turned out to dive, offered their vessels and volunteered. You did a great job. We were covered on Channel 12 at the 6,7 and 11pm news. The Tribune will have a 350 word story about us as well. In addition, Mayor Benton was on one of our boats and was very excited about our efforts.

Let me know of your ideas. E-mail me for data forms and watch my site and your e-mails for updates (and video) of our dives.

Captain don

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Waterway Cleanup After-Party

All volunteers, including captains, divers, and deckhands who were present at either the Sebastian or Fort Pierce Inlet cleanup dives are invited to the Fort Pierce Yacht Club on Sunday, August 16, 2009 from 12:30p.m. until 3:30p.m. for food, resfreshments, and t-shirts in thanks for your efforts and support.

Please RSVP to Captain don via e-mail or call (772)528-0675 on or before August 9th.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


1. Bring your own dive equipment. Your local dive shop has anything you may need.

2. Rent tanks or bring your own. Local dive shops will discount the rental and refill your tanks afterwards for free if you mention this dive effort.

3. You will need a Diver Down flag and float with 20 to 30 feet of string to attach flag/float to you as a locator.

4. Bring a cutting device… a snubbed knife, rounded scissors or something you can use safely to cut fishing line and plastics.

5. You will need a “tank banger” to signal other divers of trouble or to indicate “end of dive/surface now.”

We have some inventory of these items, but with the overwhelming response, we do not have enough to go around. Each diver will HAVE to have a FLAG and FLOAT attached to enter the water.

Bring your C card and/or other proof you are a current certified diver.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Performing Tasks While Diving in Strong Currents

Although most cleanup dives are held at slack high tide, some locations require more technical diving. Certain inlets, such as Sebastian, are known for strong currents and strong tides. In these situations, reef hooks can be employed. The reason is simple: You need two hands to collect and this cannot be done when you need one hand to hold on to stay in place in a current.

Simply stated, a reef hook is a very large marlin fishing hook or gig hook with the point filed off. A line is attached to the eye and then to a clip on the divers weight belt or vest. The diver positions himself and engages the hook onto the bottom, a piling, or some heavy object to allow him to operate hands free in a specific place. To release the hook, the diver simply uses his fins to release the pressure on the line and then removes the hook. The diver can then move to another location and repeat the operation. These devices do not cause any harm to the environment and are a good safety tool. By using this method, divers can work specific areas or grids.

As shown in the photos below, the hooks work very well in strong currents. This method is used in the coral reefs of Palau, Fiji and Tahiti with great success. Aquatic life is protected from human hands and fins thrashing about and divers are protected and allowed to successfully complete their tasks.

Friday, April 24, 2009

What We Do and Why

It is not enough to control the lobster harvests through permits and a timed season. It is not enough to control fish catches through weight and size. Monofilament line, bottles, cans, lead weights, lures, batteries, car tires, cast nets and other debris deteriorates and enters the food chain and winds up in our seafood meals. It poisons and mutates our seafood and handicaps the lives of aquatic creatures. All this occurs through inconsiderate littering and a lazy public attitude. It is our belief the public would change their habits if they were aware of the impact of their actions.

I have dived all over the world and have videotaped what I have seen. Humans leave footprints wherever they go… footprints of debris and trash. I have formed this initiative to heighten public awareness for the need to clean our inlets, reefs, wrecks, rivers, beaches, shoreline and jetties. It is easy to spot and clean litter landside. Our underwater side is less noticed. One might suspect that is why people along rivers and jetties or out boating think nothing of tossing over glass bottles, empty ice bags, wasted fishing line, or six pack rings. It sinks out of sight… so it must be gone.

Take two minutes to view the video of the Fort Pierce Inlet taken July 2008. I lead the first recreational divers allowed into those waters since 1974 and witnessed miles and miles of fishing line, hundreds of casting nets, bottles and cans and massive amounts of trash everywhere.

Thirty-five divers dove until they had to stop… not because we ran out of debris, not because we ran out of slack tide and current, not because we ran out of air…. No, we had to stop diving because we ran out of collection bags for the trash we were finding.

Our immediate goals are to:

1. Educate the general public of the need to recycle and pack out all materials they bring in. Our water is not a trash can or disposal site;

2. Educate the fishing public of the need to pack out fishing line and all plastics, bottles and glass;

3. Involve community-based groups, the news media and public officials in a program to educate and to gain support of the public;

4. Increase awareness of the value of scuba diving to undo some of the harm from pollution and littering;

5. Increase the training of divers and increase the involvement of new divers in this cleanup process; and

6. Increase the sites and volume of materials collected until the amounts of materials collected diminish as a result of the success of both cleanup and awareness.

Our long-term goals are to:

1. Through the establishment of a 501(c)3 Not-for-Profit Corporation we seek to write grant proposals for funding for larger, more global projects. Debris and trash enter into our creeks and streams and then follow our waterways to our oceans. Our situation is not unique. It is global. We will build our model program, through which we hope to gain success and teach others, thereby spreading the word.

2. Establish a line of communication with the fishing industry to look for different and less toxic fishing line material without offending or disrupting this necessary and vital industry.

3. Involve the fishing and boating industries in the funding of this project, as divers offer the only current method to reduce the negative impact of the materials they use and dispose of in our waterways.

4. Work with marine patrol officials and waterway professionals to locate derelict and abandoned vessels, determine ownership, contact those legal owners and engage them financially to assist in the cleanup.

MCII hopes to spread the necessity of this project through websites, blogs, and networking to rescue our waterways and critters from our own best intentions.

We thank all the dive shops, divers, deck hands and boat owners that volunteer in this most important project. Without their efforts, our progress would be far less. We acknowledge the understanding and patience of the boating public for giving way the few hours each year that our divers are in the water cleaning up.