BREEF Celebrates World Oceans Day 2024 with Community Snorkel Event

Nassau, Bahamas – June 8, 2024: The Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF) celebrated World Oceans Day 2024 with a successful public snorkel event at Sea Beach Promenade on West Bay Street, engaging the community in marine conservation activities. This year’s event focused on snorkeling, providing participants with an immersive experience in the underwater world.

BREEF takes out a group of first-time snorkelers on World Oceans Day (photo by BREEF)

Thirty snorkelers participated throughout the day. They were given a tutorial on how to use their snorkel gear before entering the water and fish identification slates to identify various marine organisms during the snorkel.
Snorkelers Explore Reef at BREEF World Oceans Day event (Photo by Michael Freifelds)

Bahamas Youth Ambassador for Sustainable Development Goals and first-time snorkeler Kiran Halkitis shared his excitement, saying, “I had a wonderful time today, I snorkeled twice, because after the first time, I felt so much more comfortable in the water. I would definitely like to do this again.”

Another participant, C.R. Walker High School student, Jayden Adderly, remarked, “It was really eye-opening because in this area, you wouldn’t really believe that there was so much going on underwater because we just see it as a beach. But it was incredible to see what we really have living on our Bahamian beaches.”
First time snorkelers participate in BREEF’s World Oceans Day snorkel (Photo by Michael Freifelds)
Snorkelers swim over reef (Photo by Michael Freifelds)

Heather Brockbank, BREEF’s Outreach Officer, emphasized the importance of these initiatives, stating, “This month is absolutely essential. We are always providing opportunities for the community to join us in the water. These activities will help everyone to grow a stronger appreciation for our marine environment and see a greater need in protecting it.”

BREEF Outreach Officer, Heather Brockbank gives safety briefing ahead of snorkel activity (photo by BREEF)

In conjunction with World Oceans Day, Prime Minister Hon. Philip Davis renewed the National Ocean Protection Week proclamation, highlighting BREEF’s critical role in marine conservation. The proclamation for the week of June 3rd to June 8th, underscores the importance of protecting the Bahamas’ pristine waters, crucial for the nation’s economy, culture, and identity.

This year also marks the 10th anniversary of the Ocean Atlas sculpture at the Coral Reef Sculpture Garden (CRSG) in New Providence. Ocean Atlas, the world’s largest underwater sculpture, created by artist Jason deCaires Taylor, serves as an active symbol of hope in the fight against climate change and a thriving habitat for marine life. 
 (L) Ocean Atlas, the world’s largest underwater sculpture, located at BREEF’s Coral Reef Sculpture Garden beside (R) coral thriving on a coral tree at BREEF’s coral nursery. (Photo by Shane Gross)

In 2023, The Bahamas witnessed a major coral bleaching event due to record high temperatures, and this year, the trend continues with a potentially even hotter summer ahead. Ocean Atlas, an artificial reef covered with living coral, plays a crucial role in our coral restoration efforts, highlighting the importance of protecting these vital ecosystems and the need for climate action. The CRSG, with its coral nursery and underwater classroom, continues to play a pivotal role in BREEF’s coral restoration efforts and marine education programs.

As BREEF remains dedicated to empowering the community to take an active role in protecting the ocean, the success of the World Oceans Day snorkel event reflects the growing commitment among Bahamians to safeguard their marine environment for future generations.

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