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Scuba Divers in the Florida Keys help clean up the local waters

(DiverWire) A Deep Blue Dive Center in Key Colony Beach, FL participated in Ocean Conservancy’s 26th annual underwater clean up last weekend. For the 8th year in a row A Deep Blue Dive Center rallied volunteer scuba divers to hit the water and clean it some of the trash beneath the surface.

This year’s primary focus was the Thunderbolt Wreck offshore of Marathon, Florida. Two teams of volunteer divers completed four dives to clean up fishing debris off of the wreck.

“This is something that’s important and we try to organize cleanups several times a year,” said Jeff Neidlinger of A Deep Blue Dive Center. “We are also trying to get more local dive centers here in the Keys involved because its important to keep our waters clean and enjoyable for divers.”

The Thunderbolt, a 188-foot military ship is a jewel for Open Water Advanced Divers. Sunk intentionally in March 1986, she now sits perfectly upright in 115 feet of water offering 45 feet of relief.

Scuba divers collected trash during a cleanup dive last weekend.Originally named the USS Randolph, she was built for the U.S. Army as a cable laying boat. She later served FP&L as a research ship to attract and study lightning, hence her name “Thunderbolt”. After sinking at the dock in Miami, she was later purchased by the Artificial Reef Committee in 1986, prepped as an artificial reef, and scuttled for her destiny as an artificial reef offshore of Marathon, Florida.

Not only is it readily used by divers but local fisherman angling for any of the large fish that call this wreck home. Because of it’s active use by fisherman the T-bolt is left with lots of debris. A Deep Blue Dive collected over 85 pounds of monofilament, lead weights, steel leaders, hooks and rope. In previous years divers have encountered live animals entangled in monofilament, luckily this year is was just the hull. Volunteers may contact A Deep Blue Dive Center and sign up to be included in future ventures by e mailing or calling 305.743.2421.

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