Coin Diver, is not the name of a computer game. It is a profession. A job in its literally sense. In some port in Indonesia some children and teenagers dive for coins to earn a living.
I first witnessed this unique attraction of young men, and sometimes women, dive for coins when I was crossing Sunda Strait, a small strait between Java and Sumatra Island. Just before the passenger ferry leaves the port, several young people jump from the deck of the vessel down to the water below. They will ask the passenger on board the ferry to throw coins atthem. Then shockingly enough, they will dive to retrieve those coins. The divers would race each other. Whoever gets the coins can keep them.
How dangerous is this attraction?
Entertaining as it is, the spectators might not get the idea of how dangerous is this activity for the divers. The divers run the risk of being hit by the vessel or pulled into the ship’s propeller that can slice them into pieces. In addition, they might bump their bodies when jumping down from the deck of the vessel to the water. Some divers sometimes are brave (or silly enough) to dive under a moving ferry to retrieve coins. The divers have to be extremely fast swimmer and have guts enough to do this job.
To be able to swim fast, the divers have to keep their hands free, so when their pocket already full, they will keep the coins they get inside their mouth.This adds to the dangerous aspect of the attraction as they divers now have to be careful too not to swallow the coins.
Why do they do this?
The coin divers are mostly children in their preteens or young adults. Some of them are school students who do this in their spare times for extra pocket money. Many others had dropped out of school and do this to earn a living. They use whatever amount they earn to help support their family.
Most of the divers have no other skill other than swimming and diving. This is the main reason why they keep doing this job even though they are very much aware of the risk.
They don’t earn much, however. The value of one coin is ranging from 100-1000 rupiahs. On the average one diver could earn ten to twenty thousand rupiahs or one to two American dollars a day. Not much but still means a lot for the divers and their family. During holiday season when the traffic of passenger ferry in the port is high, one diver could earn up to five dollars a day. But this is a rare occasion.
Most divers enjoy their job and are proud of it. Their jobs keep them from the street and they could earn good money legally.