In this months blog we want to introduce you to an amazing local non profit organisation; Beyond The Reef.
Beyond The Reef is the reason we have some amazing new dive sites such as the Willy T and Sharkplaneo. So let’s have a look at who they are, why they are so amazing and what you can do to help them!
Founded by Chris and Kendyl, Beyond The Reef aimes to create artificial reef systems in locations where there has been a decline in the seafloor by either storm or man damage. They try to recycle materials on hand to reduce waste as you can see in their Willy T and Sharkplaneo projects. Adding art to the projects impacts the experience of those who snorkel and dive these amazing places which will turn into positive publicity and tourism. They are trying to involve local children in their projects in order to educate future generations on the need to protect our ocean.
Their biggest goal and problem at the same time is the swimming problem. No one knows how this could be possible, but less than 1/3rd of the children living in the BVI know how to swim. Besides being a necessary skill when living on an island chain where we use boats to get around it is also a fun, cheap and social activity giving children something to do.
On top of that the BVI’s thrives on tourism and the ocean is our biggest asset for this. Being able to swim comfortably opens doors to future jobs such as boat captains, sail instructors, scuba diving instructors…
Educating these children from a young age about the importance of our ocean is important. If we can show them that the ocean could offer them fun and good jobs then we can hopefully deter them from exploiting our oceans resources for money by for example turtle hunting.
Beyond the reef work with local companies that offer sailing, kayaking, diving etc as extracurriculars to try to get children excited about the ocean, their islands and opportunities for them in the future.
What can you do to help Beyond The Reef succeed in their mission and thank them for giving us amazing new dive sites?
They are suggesting a $5 donation from every scuba diver or snorkeler that enjoys one of their artificial reef wreck sites. This money will go directly towards programs that teach local children how to swim. In exchange, each donator gets a fun souvenir sticker! You can make your contribution at collect your souvenir sticker at any dive shop in the BVI and they will make sure your funds go to our Beyond The Reef and the kids swim programs.
Next to that there are some really fun t-shirts that you can buy at the dive shops in the British Virgin Islands. Part of these proceeds will also go towards Beyond The Reef and their amazing efforts. Or you can of course donate directly on their website https://1beyondthereef.com/donation to support this amazing non profit!