The Avalon Harbor Underwater Cleanup, one of the most popular scuba events in the state, will return for its 41st year, where more than 700 bodies will scuba in the harbor to collect an average of 3,000 pounds of debris.
AVALON— On Feb. 25 from 7 a.m.- 3 p.m., Catalina Divers Supply will host the 41st Annual Avalon Harbor Underwater Cleanup, where more than 600 divers and about 100 volunteers will head out to Avalon harbor to groom the seafloor. Volunteers do not need to be Scuba certified; divers are encouraged to bring a mesh bag to collect trash. This is the one time a year when scuba diving is allowed in the harbor, and it is held on a day with minimal traffic, and for the time that the divers are in the water, there are surface monitors in place to ensure there are no issues as well as individuals in kayaks.
For many years the cleanup was hosted and organized by USC’s Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies. This year that torch has been passed to Catalina Divers Supply and the Avalon Rotary Foundation. The event is one of the most popular scuba events in California. In addition to removing trash and debris, the day-long event will raise funds for the USC Catalina Hyperbaric Chamber and improvements at the Casino Dive Park.
Over the last 41 years, dozens of tons of trash have been removed from the marine environment, averaging about 3,000 pounds of debris being cleaned out each year.
“The Avalon Harbor Underwater Cleanup has done so much to improve the environment and bring divers together,” said Christy Lins, the owner of Catalina Divers Supply, in a press release from Jan. 3. “We knew we had to step up rather than see the event slip away after 40 years.”
This year’s event will have a similar format to years past. Divers will enter the water starting at 9 a.m. to remove trash and debris. Divers will need to be out of the water by 11 a.m., and an award ceremony and prize raffle will be held in the early afternoon, with divers receiving prizes for several categories.
“As you would expect, divers find dozens of cellphones and sunglasses along with carelessly discarded cans, bottles, and plastic bags,” said Lins. “But they have also found a surprising assortment of interesting items, like jewelry, toys, and old tires. Marine creatures such as octopus, crabs, and urchins are regularly found entwined with the debris. All the marine life is carefully returned to the ocean.”
In addition to removing trash from the marine environment, the Avalon Harbor Underwater Cleanup has become an essential source of funds for the USC Catalina Hyperbaric Chamber. Located at Two Harbors, the chamber is an important life-saving medical facility for the treatment of diving accidents. This year, funds collected will also be dedicated to the ongoing campaign for comprehensive improvements to the Casino Dive Park. Planned improvements include rebuilding the wall and installing tables and chairs.
The Catalina Divers Supply is an all-in-one center founded in 1960 and is one of the oldest dive shops on the West Coast, offering a full range of scuba classes, diving experiences, rentals, and repairs. Boat dives are available onboard the Scuba Cat. Catalina Divers Supply and have been instrumental in the development and success of Casino Point Dive Park. The company was honored as a PADI Project AWARE partner for its ongoing commitment to marine conservation.
Early bird registration for scuba divers is $45, and registration for non-divers is $30. For more information, visit www.AvalonHarborCleanup.org. To sign up, visit https://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e0c4aaaa82ba6fb6-41st#/.