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Where We Work

Where We Work

In general, the Hawaiian Islands are known as the “paradise islands.” We agree they’re incredibly beautiful.  These islands deserve our stewardship and care especially because their beaches and waters are marred by abandoned fishing gear—both commercial and recreational—as well as plastic and “gyre-type” pollution.

In 2016, due to the great need for ocean cleanups, Ocean Defender Alliance (ODA) began working in Hawai'i. We kicked off our debris-removal work in Oahu with the help of long-time friend Stephen Boreman, Esq., his nephew Mash Hatae, Vicki Szymczak, and friends from the University of Hawai’i who are very concerned about the health of their local waters.

Since that time, ODA-Hawai'i has expanded significantly, with dozens of volunteers participating in ocean cleanups on Oahu and the Big Island, with Maui to be added in early 2022.


Because the coastal waters of Hawai'i are generally very deep, it’s quite different from the work we do off the coast of California where we can dive 35-100 feet and remove debris that’s sitting on the ocean floor.

The way the ocean currents flow, most ghost gear collects in the Pacific Gyre (garbage patch), but some spins out and washes ashore. Often, we remove very large quantities of fishing net from beaches along with fishing ropes and other garbage. Occasionally, we also find fishing equipment such as nets floating at sea, and regularly we find recreational fishing lines and toxic lead weights on the coral-laiden underwater cliffs and near-shore bottoms. ODA-Hawai'i is also expert at removing debris from harbors, bays, and inlets.



In Hawai'i, rather than own and keep vessels (which means high costs for purchasing, maintenance, and moorage), we partner with four reputable dive companies:

  • Oahu: Island Divers Hawaii, Matt Zimmerman (owner)
  • Big Island: Jack’s Diving Locker, Teri & Jeff Leicher (co-owners)
  • Big Island: Kohala Divers, Rebekah and Greg Kaufmann (co-owners)
  • Big Island: Kona Honu Divers

We are fortunate to have these excellent partners. We work from their boats and they help connect us with people who want to give back to the oceans.



We’re thankful there are so many people in Hawai’i who are passionate about their coastal waters!

On the Big Island, as mentioned above, we enjoy working with three dive companies (Jack’s Diving Locker, Kohala, and Kona Honu Divers) cleaning both debris from harbors and at sea.

Our monthly dives in Oahu waters from the Island Divers Hawai’i boat always see full crews; we’ve had over a hundred different divers participate.  Our Oahu coordinators and Advisory Board Members are Glenn Roberts (Dive team coordinator) and Marjorie Zenson.




In Hawai'i, we work regularly in the waters and on the beaches of Oahu and the Big Island, and Maui.

Some of our regular cleanup sites:

China Walls, Fishing Camp
Hālona Blowhole
Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve
Kaneohe Bay, He'eia Pier
Magic Island
Waiahole Beach Park

Island of Hawai'i:
Honokohau Harbor
Kailua Pier
Kawaihai Harbor
Keahole Point
Tako City

La Perouse Bay
Dragon’s Teeth at Makaluapuna Point.


If you haven’t already explored our California page, we invite you to do so.

We’d love to have your help in Hawai'i, whether on a beach or on a boat or helping with outreach. Check out all the types of volunteering on our Get Involved page.


Volunteer Opportunities

Check out the current list of volunteer opportunities on our ODA-Hawai'i Activities page.


Hawai'i Articles

Sep 29, 2022 - Small ODA-Hawai’i Team Makes Big Impact

Sep 27, 2022 - Kailua Pier in Kona Gets a Whopper of a Cleanup by ODA and Other Groups

Sep 22, 2022 - The Waters Below ‘Dragon Teeth’ Yield Large Amount of Hazardous Fishing Gear

Sep 6, 2022 - Kona Honu-ODA Expedition Sees Two Sites Cleaned of Ocean Debris

Aug 19, 2022 - Spitting Cave on Oahu Coast Spits Out Marine Debris

Jul 29, 2022 - Kohala Divers and ODA Team-up to Train New Debris-Removal Divers

Jul 18, 2022 - ODA and Kona Honu Divers Partnership Launched with Successful Debris Cleanup Dive

Jul 11, 2022 - ODA’s Eighth Cleanup at Honokohau Harbor Great Success

Jun 28, 2022 - He’eia Small Boat Harbor Says Good-bye to 110 Toxic Tires

Jun 17, 2022 - Monk Seals and Turtles Motivate ODA-HI Ocean Debris Cleanup Work

May 20, 2022 - Crew Chronicles - Marjorie & Mark - divers Oahu

Apr 26, 2022 - The Aloha Spirit of ODA-Hawaii Volunteers Yields Successful Earth Day Cleanup

Apr 21, 2022 - Ocean Cleanup Crew Safely Cleans Waters at Spitting Caves

Apr 14, 2022 - Maui Volunteers Remove Abandoned Fishing Gear at La Perouse Bay

Mar 16, 2022 - Coral and Octopus Glad to See Ocean Debris Removed from Their Habitat at China Walls

Mar 14, 2022 - ODA Divers Levitate Ocean Debris to the Surface at Magic Island

Mar 2, 2022 - Nudi Wear and ODA-HI Haul Off Over Two Tons of Debris from Waiahole Park

Feb 23, 2022 - Maui Chapter of ODA Officially Launched with Successful Underwater Debris Cleanup

Feb 21, 2022 - Lost Fishing Gear Continues to Collect and ODA-HI Removes It

Feb 7, 2022 - Passion for the Ocean Fuels Big Cleanup at He’eia Pier

Feb 3, 2022 - Honokohau Harbor Enjoys 7th ODA-Hawaii Cleanup

Jan 25, 2022 - Volunteer Activities - Hawaii

Jan 25, 2022 - ODA-Hawai’i Cleanup at Fish Camp Yields Great Results

Nov 24, 2021 - Fish Camp in Oahu Waters Gets Much Needed Cleaning

Nov 20, 2021 - ODA Crew Removes Marine Debris at Hālona Cove

Oct 28, 2021 - Hanauma Bay Gets Relieved of Ghost Nets and Plastic Debris

Oct 21, 2021 - Dedicated ODA-Hawai’i Volunteers Regularly Clean Coastal Waters

Sep 28, 2021 - Cleanup at Keauhou Bay for World Manta Day

Sep 14, 2021 - Launch of Kaneohe Harbor Cleanup Project

Aug 18, 2021 - China Walls’ Waters Need Regular Removal of Ghost Gear

Jun 17, 2021 - Keeping Oahu’s Coastal Waters Free of Debris

Jun 1, 2021 - Abandoned Fishing Gear & Trash Removed from Kawaihae Harbor

May 25, 2021 - More Debris Removal at Honokohau Harbor with Partner Jack’s Diving Locker

May 19, 2021 - ODA-HI Cleans China Walls & Makes Plans for Kaneohe and Hanauma Bays

Apr 28, 2021 - Earth Day Reef and Beach Cleanup at Magic Island, Oahu

Apr 13, 2021 - A Little Help from Our Friends…and Some Great Equipment

Apr 2, 2021 - Even Beautiful Hanauma Bay Needs to be Cleaned of Ghost Gear

Mar 17, 2021 - Fishing Nets, Boat Hulls, and Tires Removed from Waiahole Beach

Feb 19, 2021 - A Valentine’s Gift to Oahu’s Turtles and Fish

Feb 4, 2021 - Endangered Green Sea Turtle Habitat in Oahu Waters Gets A Cleaning

Jan 27, 2021 - ODA-Hawai’i Divers Make Ocean Debris Disappear at Magic Island

Jan 19, 2021 - Second FAD Removed by ODA-HI This Month

Jan 15, 2021 - Coastal Waters of Oahu Free of Abandoned Fishing Gear

Jan 4, 2021 - Fish Aggregating Device ‘FAD’ Removed from Harm’s Way in Oahu Waters

Dec 28, 2020 - Killer Debris Removed from Popular Oahu Fishing Site

Dec 8, 2020 - ODA-Hawaii Cleans Two Debris Sites

Oct 29, 2020 - Simultaneous Sea-Saving Successes

Aug 6, 2020 - Waiahole Beach Park is Relieved of 3,000 Pounds of Debris Thanks to ODA-HI and Nudi Wear

Jul 29, 2020 - Partnership & Scientific Studies with Friends of Hanauma Bay

Jul 14, 2020 - Trio of Ocean Defenders Haul Out Hazardous Fishing Line

May 20, 2020 - Three Ocean Debris Sites Cleaned in Oahu Waters

Apr 28, 2020 - Individuals in Our Alliance Defend the Oceans

Apr 20, 2020 - Whales Sing Praises to the ODA-HI Crew

Apr 7, 2020 - Calm and Collecting Debris at Point Panic

Mar 21, 2020 - So Much Ocean Defending Work to Do

Jan 27, 2020 - Large Volunteer Turnout for Honokohau Harbor Cleanup

Jan 16, 2020 - Sandy Beach in Oahu Gets Cleaning by ODA

Jan 14, 2020 - Strong Currents Don’t Stop the ODA-Hawaii Debris Removers

Nov 27, 2019 - Marine Wildlife Motivates ODA-Hawaii Debris-Removal Crew

Oct 1, 2019 - ODA’s Initial Cleanup at Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

Sep 10, 2019 - Kawaihae Harbor Gets Cleaned by ODA-HI

Aug 28, 2019 - Massive Haul at Honokohau Harbor Cleanup

Aug 26, 2019 - Dedicated Oahu Divers Remove Deadly Marine Debris

Jul 17, 2019 - Video: ODA-Hawaii Volunteers Untangle Coral and Pufferfish

Jul 3, 2019 - Sea Turtles and Puffer Fish Helped by ODA-Hawaii

Jun 13, 2019 - World Oceans Day is Busy for ODA-Hawaii

May 10, 2019 - Oahu Divers Give Back to the Ocean

Apr 22, 2019 - Two-Year Anniversary of a Partnership Made in Ocean Heaven

Mar 21, 2019 - Volunteers Rid Hawai’i Waters of Coral-Strangling Lines and More

Feb 20, 2019 - ODA-HI Oahu Dive Team Removes Ghost Gear

Feb 6, 2019 - Hawaii’s 'Big Island' Water Cleanup with Kohala Divers

Jan 21, 2019 - Improvement Project Continues in Big Island Boat Harbor

Dec 27, 2018 - Toxic Lead Fishing Weights Removed from Oahu Waters

Oct 8, 2018 - Honokohau Harbor Cleanup Kick-off

Sep 19, 2018 - Opportunity to Cleanup Honokohau Harbor

Aug 6, 2018 - Hazardous Fishing Gear Hauled Out of Oahu Waters

Jul 31, 2018 - Honokohau Harbor and Two Other Sites Get ODA-HI’s Attention

Jul 26, 2018 - Underwater Harbor Cleanup in Big Island Waters

Jul 2, 2018 - ODA-HI Oahu Team Cleans Oceans to Help Marine Wildlife and Habitat

May 30, 2018 - Big Island’s ‘Trail of Tears’ Freed of Trash and Fishing Gear

May 24, 2018 - Oahu’s Spitting Caves Cleaned of Marine Debris

May 7, 2018 - Earth Day Cleanups on the Big Island of Hawaii

Apr 20, 2018 - ODA Partners in Monster Net Removal at Kailua Beach

Mar 12, 2018 - ODA-HI Volunteers Remove Ghost Gear and Multiple Abandoned Nets

Feb 5, 2018 - Abandoned Fishing Gear Removed from Oahu’s Coastal Waters

Jan 23, 2018 - Jack’s Diving Locker and ODA Launch First Debris Removal Expedition

Jan 4, 2018 - Hawai’i Preparatory Academy Cares About the Ocean

Jan 2, 2018 - Kohala Divers and ODA Join in Inaugural Debris Removal Dive

Oct 26, 2017 - Fishing Lines and Lead Weights Litter Oahu’s Ocean Floor

Oct 12, 2017 - Marine Wildlife Affected by the Health of Coral in Oahu

Sep 20, 2017 - Maui’s Sugar Beach Sure Looks Sweet (After ODA Cleanup)!

Sep 14, 2017 - Big Island of Hawai’i Coastal Waters Need Our Help

Sep 11, 2017 - ‘Kohala Divers’ and ODA: New Big Island of Hawai’i Alliance for Ocean Debris Removal

Sep 8, 2017 - ‘Jack’s Diving Locker’ Partners Up with ODA for Clean Oceans on the Big Island of Hawai’i

Aug 29, 2017 - Oahu Coral Freed from Smothering Ghost Gear

Aug 3, 2017 - Removing Monofilament Fishing Line Makes Oahu Water Safer

Jul 6, 2017 - Oahu’s China Wall Cleaned by ODA-HI Crew

May 26, 2017 - Big Island and Maui Added to ODA's Hawai'ian Expansion

May 18, 2017 - ODA Hawai’i Schedules Monthly Dives in Oahu Waters

Mar 31, 2017 - Hawaii Ghost Gear Removal by ODA’s Captain

Sep 29, 2016 - Hawai’i Chapter of ODA Launches First Expedition!

Mar 23, 2016 - Inaugural Activities for ODA Hawai’i

Mar 18, 2016 - ODA Launches New Hawai’i Chapter