GIRT members surveying the wreck of TSS Wandra wrecked at the Drum and Drumsticks, New South Wales, Australia. Photo A. Viduka.
By Andrew Viduka, ODHN
In line with the societal objectives of the upcoming Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021–2030 (particularly a predicted ocean, a sustainable ocean, and a transparent and accessible ocean), the citizen science program Gathering Information via Recreational Technical (GIRT) Scientific Divers is encouraging and facilitating members of the public to document underwater cultural heritage from both archaeological and marine science perspectives. Participation by the public in GIRT is creating an informed community of individuals who are witnesses to change in the marine environment occurring in and near their adopted site. GIRT teaches members to collect robust data in a repeatable manner, enabling longitudinal comparison of identical survey points to demonstrate and quantify any change. The GIRT citizen science program aligns with a key opportunity through the Decade, to improve the integration of archaeology with the marine sciences and unleashes the potential of the public to contribute to science-based decision making to better protect underwater cultural heritage.