The Southwest Florida Women's Dive Club at Siesta Beach. Photo: SWFWDC Facebook page

The Southwest Florida Women’s Dive Club at Siesta Beach. Photo: SWFWDC Facebook page

PADI Women’s Dive Day was held yesterday, July 16 at several locations in Florida and at many other locations worldwide. The annual event is intended to promote the sport of scuba diving for women and girls, provide an opportunity to meet fellow divers, and offer diving lessons to new divers.

One group of divers in Sarasota took Women’s Dive Day a step further, combining a day of diving activities with an underwater beach cleanup at Siesta Beach. The Southwest Florida Women’s Dive Club dove within the swimming area to clean up the garbage left behind by swimmers and beach goers. There were also scuba diving lessons available to women and girls ages 10 and up.

The  Southwest Florida Women’s Dive Club is sponsored by Ocean Pro Dive Shop in Sarasota, FL.

“Recent studies show that woman make up only 35 percent of open water scuba divers and just 23 percent of divers in continuing education courses. By coming together as an industry to celebrate women in diving, PADI hopes to cultivate the female diver community, attract new women to the sports of scuba diving and freediving, and motivate existing female divers to get back in the water and continue their dive training”, says Kristin Valette, chief marketing and business development officer, PADI Worldwide.

The 2015 launch of the organization’s “Women in Diving” campaign resulted in an increase in PADI certifications among females. While female divers account for a disproportionate share of the dive community, many women involved in the sport are launching and participating in impactful initiatives to create further awareness for diving and larger ocean conservation efforts.

While the focus of the event is women and their accomplishments, anyone from all levels of diving were encouraged to take part and dive together on the same day. The event will take place again next summer at locations across the world.