Shortly after I returned, the Caledonian Sky cruise ship grounded on a treasured dive site I had just enjoyed, destroying approximately 1,600 square meters of coral reef. I was heartbroken, and imagined what I could do with some funding, if I were there. This solidified my resolve to lead the Sea of Change Foundation in creating a new kind of grant to enable local, timely responses to such incidents. Soon after, we launched the Reef Rescue & Rapid Response (RRRR) Fund.
The goal is to empower local divers as first responders to vessel groundings and anchor drops, storm damage from failed infrastructure like docks and jetties, and oil spills, for example. When these impacts happen, there is a lot divers can and want to do. For example, divers can restore dislodged corals to allow the colony to recover, physically remove debris, install oil booms where needed, and collect coral fragments for transplanting. Because we recognize that time is of the essence, we make the application process short—generally one page—so we can send out funds as quickly as possible, ideally in under two weeks. Once a project is approved, we provide funds ranging from $500 to $5,000 for things like boat gas, lift bags, meter tapes, oil booms and field gear and materials. Divers can learn more at seaofchange.com