Are you Really a Responsible, Eco Friendly Scuba Diver?

save the oceans- healthy reefScuba Divers are the ambassadors to the underwater realm. We have the privilege to get close to the worlds most magnificent creatures. We have a huge responsibility on our hands to keep the environment intact and healthy when visiting underwater, and to minimize our ecological foot steps on land. These small simple steps can make a difference in our effort to keep the oceans clean and healthy for generations to come.

Saving the oceans- current ocean status:

Recent researches claim that nearly 30% of the world’s coral reefs have already died. the impact is easily noticeable. I for example have been diving at Honduras for may years. When I recently came back for a visit I couldn’t find species once common and easily spotted. Eagle rays, Nurse Sharks, Stingrays and others all nearly disappeared due to extensive Conch and Lobsters collection over the years. Mangroves used by most creatures as nurseries for their youngs turned to summer houses and resorts and the outcome is unbearable. No, there’s nothing YOU can do in these aspects on the short run, but lets face it, as much as some of us would like to think differently, we divers aren’t Eco friendly too. Question is, can we do anything and minimize the damage we do?

Saving the oceans- Getting there:

getting to the dive site
One way to get to the site without pollution...

The main issue and one which is hard to swallow, has no direct influence on the ocean, yet it’s a major issue when it comes to air pollution and global warming. And the winner is…..Flying. Diving at remote and exotic destinations requires long distance flying, which scientists say is a major contributor to global warming. Add that to burning fuel on the boats and you’ll find that we’re causing a lot of damage before we even started diving.

Saving the oceans- what we eat and drink:

As we come to a foreign country and explore the delicacy of the local cuisine, we’ve got to bare in mind that some of it is on the verge of extinction. Tourists presence and increased demand for local food can cause a huge damage on the creatures’ population and destroy the delicate balance of the local ecosystem. Please check local list of state of the species, and avoid feasting on top predators such as Sharks, Barracudas and others, which their disappearance can affect the entire food chain.

Saving the oceans-Loitering:

As you can see, we’re creating a lot of damage simply by visiting a place. I’m not going to be the one telling you not to travel, I’ll be a hypocrite. Just act responsibly, that’s all. A huge issue with travelers loitering is plastic bottles and bags. When traveling I always check if there are places to refill my bottles, reuse plastic bags and generally try and minimize my garbage production to minimum.

Saving the oceans- Choose a Responsible Dive Operator:

1. If possible in the local area, don’t anchor or dive with operators who anchor their boats, which can cause horrific damage. Drift dives, or diving of boats tied to buoy lines makes perfect solution here.
2. Avoid Animals Feeding. Researches show that feeding wild animals such as Sharks, Eels, and Barracudas can disturb the balance between predators and pray. Feeding wild animals also may cause these creatures to relate Humans to food which can be quite hazardous

3.Dive in Small Groups: It’s safer fro you and for the environment. it more fun, you can see more….why not than? Reduce the load on the environment; be closer to your dive officer to prevent damage. Don’t compromise on the prices some busy operators might offer in return to diving in a “soup of divers” it’s not worth it

save the oceans, don't touch!
Great facebook moment, horrible impact to the reef

Saving the oceans-What can we do to minimize the damage underwater?

Adhere to Good Dive Practices:
1. Conduct proper Buoyancy Checks prior to diving. Carrying to much weight increases drag on your lower body, increasing chances you’ll damage the reef or stir out the bottom accidentally.
2. Maintain proper buoyancy. If you’re still struggling with it, consider taking a PPB class, it’ll do wonders to your confidence, air consumption and minimize your presence on the reefs.
3. NEVER touch a creature underwater. Don’t touch or chase one either. Remember, we’re aliens underwater. By touching creatures we remove their protecting layer of the skin making them more prone to diseases, while delivering them some of our own. Try to leave no trace when you’re diving.
4. Don’t pick souvenirs. Even empty shells can be a perfect place for a Hermit crab, keep it where it belongs. Take only trash with you, making sure first it’s not already occupied by marine creatures.
5. Taking the prefect shot on your new camera is great, but what about keeping the reed intact? Very often we tend to forget what’s around us when we aim for the perfect Facebook moment.

6. Use rechargeaball batteries for your camera or torches to prevent unnecessary waste.

Saving the oceans by getting environmentally involved.

1. PADI’s project aware allows scuba divers to get involved by donating some money that funds marine researches and conservation programs.

2. Check out our list of other marine conservation programs.

3. Check our list of Facebook marine conservation programs.

From my experience in the industry, most diver, especially the more experienced ones, are becoming more and more aware of their impact on the underwater realm. Is that enough? I’m not to sure, but next time when you’re diving, please use these simple tips, make a little change, let others know what they can do to prevent this amazing realm from disappearing. Make a change!