Stories of crowdfunding or crowdsourcing campaigns gone array are all over the internet. People ask the public for money for plastic surgery, a new tractor or a host of other ridiculous things.
There is no shortage of stories where requests for money are simply deemed ridiculous and more than a little selfish or entitled.
But what about scuba diving? Can you reach out to an infinite public audience and ask for funds to go on a scuba diving expedition?
A British organization is proving it may very well be possible, courtesy of a recent campaign to raise £9,900 for a new engine for a vessel that is surveying a WWII underwater relic.
The British community diving and research group is run entirely by volunteers. The group is registered with the British Sub Aqua Club (BSAC) and started nearly ten years ago.
Its primary focus is on saving and salvaging artifacts from the sunken WWII Sunderland Flying Boat T9044.
Roughly 75 years ago, the Sunderland Flying Boat, T9044 sank during a violent storm that hit the Milford Haven Waterway. The boat and was lost to the waters off the UK.
Though the region is covered with WWII vessels of all varieties, the T9044 is special as it’s documented as the only remaining Mark 1 Sunderland in the world.
The team’s aim is to save and recover as much of this one-of-a-kind aircraft as possible. Expeditions that have been held over the course of a decade have led to the recovery of some essential elements.
The team was able to extract some relics, including the aircraft’s front gun turret’s machine gun, which are all on display to the public at the UK’s only Flying Boat Interpretation Center, the Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre.
The wreck was originally discovered by the group’s diving officer, Nick Hammond, in 1998 while he was freeing a fishermen’s lobster pot that happened to be tangled around the propeller of the submerged aircraft.
In the years since, Nick has performed roughly 100 diving trips to the site, simply because of its iconic status, and the massive role the aircraft played in WWII.
The long-term goal of the group is to recover the substantial airframe components that will provide the core of an upcoming public exhibition.
The new engine will allow the researches to create a detailed survey of the region and investigate further how this operation can best be performed.
The group clearly has the enthusiasm for the work, but the desperate need of a new outboard engine is the final piece in achieving their longstanding goals.
The story of the T9044 and the volunteer group itself has made local headlines in Britain, and to date, the organization has raised £3,440 or roughly a third of the funds needed to move forward.
The pledge period ends on August 29th, but with the amount of publicity, there’s a good chance that this dive group will get even closer to their goal in the days to come.
So can you crowdfund a diving expedition? It looks like the answer is yes, but the underlying reason had better be good like saving a one-of-a-kind WWII aircraft.