(Updated August 2, 2019). More than 600 divers have broken a world record by participating in an ocean floor clean up at Deerfield Beach.
Six hundred and thirty-three divers came together last week to collect trash from the ocean floor near the Deerfield Beach International Fishing Pier in Florida.
Guinness adjudicator Michael Empric traveled from NYC to conduct the official headcount. “I actually stood there and clicked off everyone as they got in the water,” he said to Sun Sentinel.
Divers were required to stay in the water for at least 15 minutes to be counted.
Fishing Gear on the Sea Floor
Thirteen-year-old diver Dahlia Bolin was among the masses, joined by her mother Rebecca. The pair traveled from Illinois to partake. Bolin said that among the “really beautiful fish,” there’s “a lot of heavy weights for fishing line down there.” She brought up a large metal sign from the ocean floor.
The exact amount of trash collected is hard to estimate, however, diver and environmentalist RJ Harper — who helped enlist people for the cleanup — said that the divers recovered 1,600 pounds of lead fishing weights alone, left behind by fishers cutting bait. Guinness Records officially lists the tally at 1,200 lbs.
“All those times the line gets caught, you just never really think about it,” Harper said to Sun Sentinel. “Obviously, trash was collected, but the beauty of it is with 633 divers, we were able to do a very thorough cleaning.”
The total weight of the trash collected is currently being counted but divers brought up at least 60 pounds of fishing line, CNN reported. Ocean conservation group Project AWARE predicts that the participants collected around 3,200 pounds of trash. The Guinness adjudicator Empric said the effort was “amazing.”
The previous record for an underwater cleanup included 614 divers and took place in the Red Sea in Egypt in 2015. It took the team 24 hours to complete, whereas the Florida event took just two.
“It doesn’t matter what happens today with the Guinness World Records,” Empric said. “What really matters is that everyone is out there cleaning up around the pier and trying to improve the community.”
The city will ensure all of the trash is responsibly disposed of.