Be part of the solution! Help clean up West Australian oceans, harbours and rivers in the annual Narc Dive Club Underwater & Land Cleanup. As a certified PADI Advanced Scuba Diver, I volunteered for their 2020 efforts. Here’s how to get involved.
As a certified PADI Advanced Open Water Scuba Diver, exploring Western Australia’s expansive and enviable coastline is always a delight. From packed boat trips out to Rottnest Island reefs, or an easy shore dive off the beach; to a night dive under the local Jetty or a cheeky Sunday slip into Swan River – WA waters always offers up the goods.
But I would be lying if I said that under WA’s picturesque sparkling surface was a pristine and plastic-free world. The truth is, especially if you look hard enough, man-made rubbish always lurks beneath. The even sadder truth is much of this rubbish blends in so well to its surroundings, that you would be mistaken for thinking it was part of the ecosystem. Then there is the bigger issue of microplastics – tiny plastics largely invisible to the naked eye.
Let’s not lose hope here, because it doesn’t actually have to be this way – or even have to stay this way. At least not when Western Australian environmental conservationists and scuba divers have anything to do with it. And you too, can be part of this movement. Join the fight against plastic and debris in our oceans, by helping to clean up Western Australia’s polluted waterways, rivers, oceans and harbours by participating in the Narc Dive Club Annual Underwater & Land Clean Up event.
I hate seeing rubbish in our waters, so I decided to do something about it by joining the 2020 Narc Dive Club Annual Land & Underwater Clean Up, which so happened to be Narc’s 10th Anniversary milestone of cleaning up WA waters! The location of choice – the not so scenic and oily, tyre-filled waters of Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour. But that’s okay – because the Fremantle’s famous Little Creatures Brewery was just around the corner for reward drinks after 😉
Held across the weekend of Saturday 24th – Sunday 25th October 2020, this special two-day event saw a fantastic number of volunteers (both scuba divers and land volunteers) come together to be part of a great cause. I volunteered on the Saturday, along with my bestfriend, Louise, and my boyfriend, Adam. Read about my experience below!
About NARC Dive Club
Narc Dive Club has been cleaning up West Australia rivers, harbours, oceans and waterways for the last ten years. Consisting of Perth-based conservationists and scuba divers, Narc Dive Club runs annual land & underwater clean up events that are volunteer-led. Whether you are a scuba diver or not, everybody and anybody is welcome – it’s free to join!
Chris Dodd, the President and Event Organiser of Narc Dive Club, has been interviewed by a variety of WA media outlets over the last decade on their admirable clean up efforts. For further reading, check out some of these articles:
- 7News report 2019 report – “Plastic Pollution: The Dive Team Vowing to Clean Up WA’s Rubbish-Filled Waterways“
- PerthNow’s 2016 report – “Narc Dive Club Recover Tonnes of Rubbish From Fremantle Harbour“
- West Australian’s 2018 report – “Divers Called in For Clean-Up Effort For ‘Filthy’ Hillarys Boat Harbour“
For the 2020 Narc Dive Club Annual Land & Underwater Clean Up, the Melville Gazette reported on it below – where you can spot Adam and I waving enthusiastically at the camera in one of their featured images. Noice!
Watch the Video
Helping to clean up Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour was an eye-opening experience for me. To give you an idea of what it was like, look no further than how the previous year went by watching the below video, where Perth’s Today Tonight interviewed the Narc Dive Club’s President, Chris Dodd, on the club’s mission and success.
Why I Got Involved in the Dive Cleanup of Freo Harbour
I first heard about this event through a friend of mine, Louise, who is also a scuba diver. I couldn’t believe I had not heard about Narc Dive Club earlier, considering they have been running successful volunteer-led cleanup events in Western Australia for the last decade. After heading to their Facebook Page and reading up on the event, I registered immediately.
With 2020 being such an anxiety-fueled year with much uncertainty, it felt timely and right to put my energy and mindset into something far greater than myself, to make some positive change happen with results I could see. The COVID-19 pandemic really highlighted to me just how precious the health of our planet – our ecosystem – needs to be for a sustainable and healthy future for next generations to enjoy. Humanity needs to ‘get it together’ in tackling what I think is another pandemic that has been going on for some time – the waste pandemic – and the staggering accumulation of plastic and other man-made waste that pollute our environments.
After registering for the cleanup 2020 event as an ‘Underwater Volunteer’, I received an email with further details of the Narc Dive Club Safety Briefing. This Safety Briefing is compulsory to attend, and is held one week prior to ensure all know the dive schedule summary ahead, as well as safety protocols. It’s also an opportunity to network, meet your ‘Team Leader’ and ask any questions.
NARC Dive Club 10th Annual Land & Underwater Clean Up
The Dive Schedule Summary for the two-day event was made easy by grouping all land and underwater volunteers into four main teams – Team Nautilus, Team Mana, Team Mermaid and Team Kraken – each with their own team captain, and a schedule detailing rotational shifts at allocated time slots throughout the day.
Here’s a brief summary on my schedule. On Saturday 24th, my team – Team Nautilus – were first in the water to retrieve underwater rubbish at 8am-9am at “Hub 1” – a targeted area in the harbour. Afterwards, Team Nautilus moved to the role of ferrying rubbish from 9am-10am. After ferrying rubbish, Team Nautilus assisted in sorting and cataloguing incoming debris from 10am-11am. Then, Team Nautilus moved onto helping the next dive team “kit up” at 11am to 12pm. At 12pm-1pm, we all had lunch together, before moving onto “Hub 2” – the next section of the Habour, and so this rotation of teams continues.
The rotational diving schedule was efficient with everybody helping each other in one way, or another. There was no just ‘standing around’ – it was all hands on deck, even children were getting involved, helping to log rubbish for statistics and hosing down hot divers! It was great to see all involved to be part of such a great cause.
Take a look at some of the great action shots taken by True Focus Images of the 2020 Narc Dive Day Clean up below, where you can spot Adam, Louise and myself in some of the photos ;P
As a thank you (reward) for volunteers’ efforts over the two days, Narc Dive Club put on a celebration event at Fremantle’s Little Creatures Brewery with a live band, food and drink tab. We enjoyed socialising out of our wetsuits, and after a game of musical chairs to loosen everybody up, there was good banter, laughter and tales galore – you could feel everyone bonding.
The 10th Anniversary of the 2020 Narc Dive Club Annual Land and Underwater Cleanup event of Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour was a huge success – it ended up being the biggest haul of rubbish since the Narc Dive Club first started over ten years ago!
A total of 17.66 tonne of waste was taken from Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour on the Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th of October, 2020. This takes Narc Dive Club’s overall total (over the last ten years) to a massive 82.16 tonne of waste retrieved from Western Australia’s harbours, rivers and waterways combined.
Wow! Well done to all who have volunteered over the years, that’s awesome work. It really is an empowering and positive feeling when human beings get together to create positive change for the greater good. Remember, even if you are not a certified Scuba Diver in Western Australia, land volunteers are still very much needed for these clean-up events. I hope this blog inspires you to get out there and volunteer for the next Western Australian underwear & land cleanup event.
Whether it’s hosted by Narc Dive Club or another local Dive Club does not really matter – because at the end of the day, all Dive Clubs are filled with passionate people who care deeply about the ocean. So join the movement – and do your part!
Contact NARC Dive Club
Like what Narc Dive Club is all about? Want to join their efforts?
Give them a ‘Like’ on their official Facebook Page and follow their posts on Facebook, where they post regularly about upcoming events. If you need to get in touch with the club or their Club President, Chris Dodd, on this email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Diving for the future and trying to reduce human impact on this Earth while having fun at the same time! 🙂
– Narc Dive Club
Photography from the Event
The majority of images seen in this article are from True Focus Images. The photographer, who is also a scuba diver, has a passion for underwater photography! He did a fantastic job photographing the event while participating in the clean-up. To see the full albums of Day 1 & Day 2 of the Narc Dive Club 2020 Cleanup, please visit his Facebook Page.
Thanks for reading!
Feel free to leave a comment below. And to finish off, I’ll quote Narc Dive Club – “if you step over it, you allow it!”