Through the Dive Tribe — an international grass-roots organization of divers he founded — Gwyn Mills works to protect Thailand’s undersea treasure. For his countless hours of hard work — which are paying dividends for his region underwater — Gwyn Mills is Scuba Diving magazine's May 2013 Oris Sea Hero.
What are you focused on?
“We just secured permission to sink a new wreck in Pattaya — all of the local dive operators have been struggling for three years or more to persuade the authorities to place a wreck in the area.”
“It’s on our doorstep. I’ve often had people ask me why I bother when there are other places more beautiful that need protecting. My answer is always the same: The reefs of Pattaya [about 100 miles south of Bangkok] have a lot to offer divers. If we can focus public attention on the need for their protection, this will surely help reefs everywhere.”
How can divers get involved?
“We have to make the public aware. If you focus on your local area and dive sites, you will soon become an authority on what that area needs. With this information, it becomes easy to start building projects that will help your marine environment and educate the public. The Dive Tribe is an all-volunteer operation; get in touch through our website or if you are in the area. We hope to be officially opening a branch in Phuket soon.”
What’s next for Dive Tribe?
“We have a new shark-tagging and -release program, coral-reef rebuilding, and marine-restoration projects under way. We also just finished creating a number of marine-biology courses that will be offered to schools, universities and the public. And we have worked with the Intercontinental Hotel Group to stop the sale of shark fins in their restaurants — they will be signing a pledge to be displayed in all their resorts and hotels that lets the public know that they do not sell shark-fin soup at any of their establishments.”
Each SEA HERO featurd in Scuba Diving will recieve an Oris Diver's Date watch worth $1,595. At the end of the year, a panel of judges will select one overall winner who will receive a $5,000 cash award from Oris to further his or her work. Learn more about our 2011 and 2012 Sea Heroes, and find out how to nominate a Sea Hero, right here.