Originally formed in 1989 as an environmental initiative by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI®), Project A.W.A.R.E. existed to increase environmental awareness through diver education. In 1992, with tremendous support from the dive community, Project AWARE Foundation was registered as an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in the U.S. To further engage divers and activists around the world in conservation, Project AWARE became an established UK charity in 1999 and received formal nonprofit status in Australia in 2002.
For nearly 25 years, Project AWARE has grown and changed in response to emerging challenges facing the world’s underwater environments. Since 2011, we’ve focused on two top ocean issues where scuba divers are uniquely positioned to influence change - shark and ray conservation and marine debris.
Project AWARE has achieved major successes in protecting marine wildlife and fragile marine habitats through science, education, influence and community action. Our global dive community has helped us secure a stronger EU finning ban, protect mantas under the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) in 2011, extend CMS commitments to devil rays and other sharks in 2014 and in 2016, as well as bring about historic safeguards for highly traded shark and ray species under CITES in 2013. You’ve helped us raise awareness of the global marine debris crisis, rally support from volunteers taking action against trash and collecting data critically needed to supports our ongoing efforts towards finding long term solutions to the Ugly Journey of Our Trash. Your voice and your actions matter.
Today, Project AWARE is a global movement of changemakers taking action for ocean protection. We empower people to be agents of positive change for the ocean scaling local actions for global impact. Together, we rally community support, help implement policies to protect the most vulnerable marine species and take action - in and out of the water - to help save the ocean.
Supported by this growing movement, we envision a world where the ocean doesn’t need protecting. We inspire, inform and provide the tools needed to engage and connect individuals, governments, NGOS, and businesses who share our values.
We exist to empower a global community to be agents of positive change for the ocean. The power of our movement creates a global culture that sustains a vibrant, thriving ocean.