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, 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.
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.
In Hawai'i, rather than own and keep vessels (which means high costs for purchasing, maintenance, and moorage), we partner with three reputable dive companies:
- Oahu: Island Divers Hawaii, Matt Zimmerman (owner); Mary Christensen (dive instructor)
- Big Island: Jack’s Diving Locker, Teri & Jeff Leicher (co-owners); Kawika Leicher (boat captain/dive instructor),
- Big Island: Kohala Divers, Rebekah and Greg Kaufmann (co-owners)
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 two dive companies (Kohala and Jack’s Diving Locker) 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 are Ken Staples (underwater photographer), AJ Jaeger (topside photographer) and Glenn Roberts (Dive team coordinator).
In Hawai'i, we work regularly in the waters and on the beaches of Oahu and the Big Island. We’re developing relationships on the Island of Maui, and plan to expand there next.
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.
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
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
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