Each year, under the direction of REEF.org (FORCE BLUE’s “Official Conservation Coordinator”) and their Director of Special Projects, Lad Akins, FORCE BLUE conducts at least one, two-week Recruitment & Training Exercise for the sole purpose of bringing new veteran divers onto the team.
In a setting that mirrors a military-style schoolhouse, recruits are given instruction by a cadre of the best minds in the fields of marine science and conservation. Here they are taught how to properly ID fish, marine reptiles and mammals, how best to combat invasive species, what is required to successfully grow and transplant different types of coral, the importance of preserving mangroves and seagrass, as well as the techniques used to survey shipwrecks and artificial reefs.
The goal is to give these incredibly skilled operators a fresh take on the underwater world. To teach them how to think about the ocean, not as work or something to be overcome, but as an interdependent community of life, currently under threat, that needs their help to survive. And to instill in them the basic preservation and restoration training they’ll need to embark on FORCE BLUE deployments around the world.
Additional “work-ups” detailing specific tasks are conducted at the start of each deployment to ensure FORCE BLUE fields the most confident, capable team for the mission at hand.