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9 FAQs About The Avalon Harbor Underwater Cleanup

In the old days, when the big steamer ships would approach the pier in Avalon after a channel crossing, children in town would either paddle out or swim to the ship. “Throw a coin!” they’d shout at the ship’s passengers. Coin diving was a pastime on the island for decades. Most of the small change thrown by visitors was scooped up by local swimmers, but there’s always a chance you could find an old coin if you dive and search hard enough around Avalon’s waters. Unfortunately, coins and treasure aren’t the only things that get tossed into the ocean water; consider just how much trash can get thrown—accidentally or on purpose—into the ocean in the harbor of Avalon. Bottles, cans, towels, boat parts, wrappers, and all kinds of plastic pieces of trash end up in the water around Catalina. Each year, divers gather to remove debris from the water during the Avalon Harbor Underwater Cleanup, which is organized by Catalina Divers Supply. Part of being a scuba diver is loving and caring for the ocean, and this is a great event for the dive community to gather, to give back, and to protect the ocean they love so much. Read on to learn the answers to 9 FAQs about the Avalon Harbor Underwater Cleanup.


Divers in the water at the Avalon Harbor Underwater Cleanup

 

1.)    When is the 2024 Avalon Harbor Underwater Cleanup? The cleanup this year will be held on Saturday, February 24, 2024. Take note: Average ocean temperatures in Avalon during the month of February are around 60 degrees. You’ll want to set aside about 8 hours of your day to dedicate to the dive and its additional activities. After the cleanup, there is an Awards Ceremony and a raffle too. Officially the hours are from 7am to 3pm.

 

2.)    What is the cost to register for the Cleanup? Whether you’re a returning cleaner-upper or a first-time visitor, you can join in this great service event. Hundreds of divers join each year. For 2024, prices vary, depending on when you register. Regular registration costs $55, and it ends February 18th. If you’re signing up on or after February 19th, divers will need to pay $65. Non-diver participants are welcome too; the fee for non-diver registration is $30. You can find a registration link here.

 

3.)    What causes do registration costs go to? Proceeds from the Underwater Cleanup help to benefit the USC Catalina Hyperbaric Chamber. This is a life support recompression facility on Catalina Island that serves as a safety measure for the thousands of divers who come to scuba dive around Catalina each year. In addition, money raised from the event will help to fund future improvements to the Casino Point Dive Park.

 

4.)    What if I need gear? You might want to suit up in a thicker wetsuit for the chilly February ocean temps. Fortunately, dive equipment is available from Catalina Divers Supply. They offer tanks, weights, wetsuits, and more. Be sure to reserve your rental gear ahead of time and arrange for pickup either at the Casino Point Dive Park or at the Green Pleasure Pier. Be sure to bring a game bag or other bag to collect the trash or treasure you find too.

 

5.)    Who comes to the Avalon Harbor Underwater Cleanup? More than 600 volunteer divers have participated in recent cleanups. This is a major dive event for Southern California, and dive clubs from other California towns as well as neighboring states all come to join in the effort to clean the harbor each year.


A volunteer in a kayak at the Avalon Harbor Underwater Cleanup

 

6.)    How can I help? You can volunteer! There are opportunities to work the registration table, sell raffle tickets, serve as surf safety patrol, and more! There’s a Signup Genius link with available opportunities posted here.  Sorry friends, the trash sorting and cataloging jobs are all taken, but you can still come see all the trash and treasures that get found on the day of the dive.

 

7.)    How do the events of the day go? During a typical Underwater Cleanup day, divers begin to check in early in the morning, around 7am. Then, a dive orientation is held before all the divers head into the water, and the official cleanup begins. Divers can choose to dive from Step Beach, the Green Pier, or Casino Point. There’s no boat diving, and you’ll need to go with a dive buddy.

 

 

8.)    How long has the Underwater Cleanup been around? Local lore lets us know that this special dive event started in the 1970s when the local dive community decided to get together to clean up the harbor. This day has gone through many changes and different organizers throughout the decades, but its honorable mission remains the same: keeping our ocean and the beaches of Avalon clean. Catalina’s underwater ecosystems are one of California’s most valuable natural treasures. The Cleanup has always aimed to keep it that way.

 

9.)    Can beginners dive too? Seasoned divers and new beginners all join forces in this great event that welcomes all skill levels. Be sure to get certified beforehand, and reach out to Catalina Divers Supply with any questions about certification details.

 

 Join us for a great day cleaning up the ocean. Reach out to Catalina Divers Supply with questions. For more information, send an email to: info@catalinadiverssupply.com.

 

 

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