Conservation Group Fathoms Free's Beach and Sea Cleanup in Looe, Cornwall

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Volunteer divers preparing to enter the water (picture: Richard Davies / Marine Science Society UPSU)

This was the second year that Fathoms Free attended the Looe Festival of the Sea in Cornwall, UK, and I think we brought the rain again with us this year too. As soon as we arrived at 8am it started to rain, so we quickly set up our gazebo (upgraded from last year with our logos printed on the canvas) which looked amazing (even in the rain) but it kept us and everything inside dry and wind free.

The dive for debris was not due until 1pm so we had plenty of time to set up our display in the gazebo. There was already an event happening on the beach with several people doing weight lifting exercises and bashing rubber tyres (just for fun).

Around 11am the rain stopped and the sun started to make an entrance and the public started to arrive and looking around everyone’s stands.

The five divers kitted up after a quick safety rec of the area to assess sea conditions and the diving plan. It was two hours from high tide, so we split up into two teams and made our way into the water. The sea was relatively flat with only small surges, visibility was approx 5-7m.

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Filling the collection bags underwater

After our scheduled 60 minutes both teams arrived back on shore and the beach had changed dramatically from when we went in. A bouncy castle had popped up, hundreds of people had appeared from nowhere and the rafts for the raft race had all arrived waiting to start shortly.

The marine debris collected was brought to the front of our gazebo and displayed on a sheet to be analysed and recorded for Project Aware statistics. A total of 17kg of debris was collected between five divers with two hours diving time.

It is always surprising how much the public/families start to interact when they see what debris has been brought up, either curious of what we find, or just disappointed to see what rubbish/litter has made its way into the ocean and hidden from human view but not from marine life.

The divers thoroughly enjoyed talking to the public and promoting our cause to protect our oceans, with everyone taking a real interest especially with us hearing old stories of Looe from the locals.

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The team from Fathoms Free display some of their litter haul in front of their magnificent new gazebo (L-R John Kent, Zillah Robertson, Rob Thompson, Nat Bel, Jan Ziolo, Dave Perry)

So the start of the day did not look promising, but it certainly ended on a high note with the sun shining. Thank you to everyone involved in the planning and preparation of the day and to all the other stall holders and volunteers. We will surely be back again next year (hopefully with more sunshine).

You can read more about more about the work of Dave and Fathom's Free on their website, and more about the Looe Festival of the Sea on theirs. We're always interested to hear about local projects being organised to help combat the ever-present problem of pollution on our beaches and in our seas. If you have an interesting event to tell us about, drop us a line at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




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