Founded 1989, Project AWARE was created by a group of environmental advocates at the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), who were concerned about emerging threats to the underwater world. In 1992 Project AWARE Foundation became a separate nonprofit organization.

PADI remains a key partner donating generous in-kind services to the foundation each year. Project AWARE’s ongoing partnership with PADI encourages involvement of divers and scuba professionals in conservation activities across the globe.