When the Conception caught fire on Sept. 2, 2019, while in California’s Channel Islands, the shock of the heartbreaking loss of so many lives spread through the dive community. That community includes everyone at DAN. Even though our headquarters is across the country, the feeling throughout the organization was that we had to do something. There had to be some way we could help.
One resource we have available, due to our position in the dive industry, is our relationship with many other dive businesses and organizations. We also have our DAN members and divers around the world who we have reached in some way. Our thought was to leverage those connections to help the families who lost loved ones. We launched a fundraiser with the idea that we could contact enough of our colleagues, friends and divers throughout the community and encourage them to give so we could provide financial relief.
Fortunately, many other organizations were also looking for a way to help and united with us by contributing to the fund and helping increase the awareness of our effort. We thank the following partners that committed to helping us: American Academy of Underwater Sciences, California Diving News, Catalina Cylinders, Dolphin Divers of Sacramento, Diving Unlimited International (DUI), the Historical Diving Society, the National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI), the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), Professional Scuba Inspectors/Professional Cylinder Inspectors (PSI-PCI), Scubapro, Scuba Diving International (SDI), Scuba Schools International (SSI), Undercurrent, Ventura County Sherriff’s Office, and Women Divers Hall of Fame.
We also had an outpouring of donations from individuals. Divers worldwide came together to help other divers.
When we wrapped up the campaign, the dive industry had cooperated to raise $220,961 for the families of the 34 divers who lost their lives. All of the money raised is going to the victims’ families, with those who lost more than one loved one receiving a share for each person. We began sending the funds in late December and hope financial assistance can help ease one of the burdens left upon the families.
“It has been heartening to see the dive industry and the community of divers around the world come together to help those most affected by this tragedy,” DAN President and CEO Bill Ziefle said.
We won’t soon forget what happened, and the families of those divers will be on our minds and in our hearts. We also won’t forget that in times that are difficult beyond words, divers are indeed a community that cares for each other. We thank all of you.
© Alert Diver — Q1 2020