Volunteer divers bring mountain of marina trash to the surface

While the divers scoured the bottom for debris, shore support volunteers collected and carried it to the collection point in the parking area behind B and C docks.

Sunday morning began early for a group of 60 eager volunteer divers and shore supporters as they donned scuba gear and dove in at the south end of the Edmonds Marina.

But this was no pleasure dive. It was a continuation of the semiannual marina underwater cleanup events led by “Ocean Annie” Crawley as part of her ongoing efforts to raise awareness of the importance of the ocean to our planet and our responsibility to protect and cherish it. And it strives make a dent in the years of accumulated debris that fell, dropped or was tossed into the waters of the marina.

Annie Crawley has been doing these semiannual marina cleanups for the past 10 years.
Both divers and shore supporters carefully sift through everything that comes up to rescue any marine animals – like this red sea star – that often hide in old bottles, jars, and other pieces of debris.

Crawley is an internationally known ocean advocate, underwater photographer, educator, youth organizer and tireless advocate for the oceans’ environmental health. She and her crew of volunteers see this as much more than just a cleanup, but a part of their larger shared mission to raise awareness of marine environmental issues.

“One of the big reasons we’re here today is to make people more aware of what is going into the ocean,” Crawley explained. “And with Earth Day coming up next week and World Ocean Day on June 8, the timing is particularly good.

Crawley, right, pauses for a photo with first-time volunteer Abby Goudey.

“We’re hoping that bringing all this garbage to the surface will help people think about the larger issues of what flows into our oceans and how we can stop this – it’s a visual representation of what’s happening below the sea,” she continued. “I think of what we’re doing today as lifting the surface of the ocean to show what’s hiding beneath the surface. It’s easy to think that when something that falls into the water it just sinks and goes away. But there is no “away.” The ocean is so important to our lives – the ocean would be fine without us, but people won’t be fine without a healthy ocean.”

A 1980s vintage boom box was among the debris collected.
Barbara Bromley, who teaches fifth grade at Lynnwood’s Hazelwood Elementary. has arranged with Annie Crawley to make monthly visits to her classroom. Bromley plans to bring back some samples of the debris collected Sunday to her classroom, where it will become part of a display.
With modern electronic ignition systems now standard, this old distributor cap is a relic from years gone by.
The group of divers and shore supporter pause for a photo next to the mountain of debris brought up from beneath the marina boat moorage.

Beyond these goals, Crawley and her dive team’s underwater cleanups reflect the strong environmental stance of the Port of Edmonds, which five years ago formally added these events as a key element in its environmental plan. City Councilmember Will Chen and Port Commissioners David Preston and Jay Grant were on hand to show their support and thank Crawley and her team for helping raise awareness of this issue.

By the end of the morning. Crawley and her team had collected enough debris from beneath B and C docks to fill a large dumpster. While impressive, she stresses that this represents only a small dent in the worldwide problem of ocean pollution.

Learn more about how you can join Crawley’s team at the Our Ocean and You website.

— Story and photos by Larry Vogel

  1. Thank You, Ocean Annie and all of your volunteers for all of your efforts in making our underwater Edmonds more beautiful and cleaner! Thank you Barbara for making a display for the students teaching them the importance of a cleaner environment! Job well done!

  2. Thank you, Annie Crawley and all of the volunteers for another successful clean up effort. We are very fortunate to have you and your team working so hard to preserve our environment.

  3. Thank you! Great Job. Grab that distributor cap with the barnacles and use it for Ikebana. Outside vase.

  4. This community driven event sure makes me proud to live in a City where people care enough about their environment to join in these volunteer efforts to help make things better for everyone.

    When I say “Many thanks to Annie and all the volunteers”, I know I’m expressing what all the good people of Edmonds are saying!

  5. Thanks Annie and team. This is really a gift to our marina and the whole waterfront. You keep us all involved by showing us what’s be thrown away and becoming more mindful of what we can do to protect the environment.

  6. Applause to elementary schools that are talking trash, recycling and nature. How about each ESD elementary school do a household battery collection in May? Two weeks ago, I spoke in-person with Shoreline Costco to set-up a household battery recycling bin at their front door … to date no action. Costco must sell millions of Duracell batteries every year (at each location) , yet don’t provide recycling? Call Costco 206.546.0480 to demand a store-front recycling bin so our school kids can be taught to Recycle Right at Costco. It is unbelievable that Duracell and Costco do not recycle the millions of batteries sold. Please call and demand member happiness.

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