Kidz at Sea’s SXM Coastal CleanUp Project Issues Dive Certificates to Residents | SOUALIGA NEWSDAY

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - Six young St. Maarten adults recently completed their PADI Open Water Diver certification as part of the SXM Coastal CleanUp Project. Kidz at Sea launched the project in July through funding received from Resources for Community Resilience-R4CR. The successful participants who applied to join the program will take part in several dive courses and use the skills learned to map and remove Hurricane Irma debris from the coastline of St. Maarten.   The participants completed their Open Water Dive training through Dive Adventures and Aqua Mania Watersports. During the course they were introduced to the basic safety and self-rescue skills required to be able to safely scuba dive, and then joined four dives at local dive sites. Underwater the participants were able to perfect their new skills and view marine life firsthand.   “There's a certain beauty about the way life exists under the water, independent of what's going on, on land. Participating in this project has given me access to this beauty while also giving me the opportunity to give back to the island through participating in the much-needed coastal cleanup,” said participant Jonathan Van Arneman.    These participants, along with 6 more who already had their first dive certification, will receive more in-depth training moving forward and take part in dives along the coastline of St. Maarten to find, document, and map various hurricane debris that remains in the area. Based on the advice and assistance of the Nature Foundation the SXM Coastal CleanUp will execute a full underwater clean-up of one bay on the Dutch side.   “The participants did an amazing job during their Open Water Course, and I am very excited for them to move on to the more advanced skills,” said Project Coordinator Leslie Hickerson, “Along with life-time diving certifications and skills that they could use in future careers we hope that this project inspires them to protect the marine life of St. Maarten. Many of these young adults had never been diving before and it has been amazing for them to see the underwater world that surrounds their island.”  “Education is a key pillar in the push to make St. Maarten a more sustainable and protected island. Many people here do not know the long-term effects of things like plastic waste or wastewater entering the ocean. Introducing this group to the realities and health of our marine ecosystem will, hopefully, inspire them to be advocates for conservation on St. Maarten.”  Resources 4 Community Resilience (R4CR), a program implemented by VNG International and funded by the World Bank Trust Fund for St Maarten, was created to provide assistance to the island after the devastating hurricane Irma in 2017. Kidz at Sea has used the assistance of R4CR to expand their maritime training to include this program and the first dive certifications for their participants.   Follow the SXM Coastal CleanUp on Facebook and Instagram @SXMCoastalCleanUp kidz pix frpg possible kidz ins2 kidz ins1 kidz ins3

Source: Souliga Newsday