Posted: February 2, 2016
Scuba diving is an action packed activity that provides thousands of people with memorable experiences every year. It gives you the chance to be one with nature while you get up close and personal with reef and marine life. However, it’s important to make sure that your diving activities are responsible and ethical. In order to preserve our oceans, we need to make sure we are aware of the impact of our adventures so that the next generation can also enjoy this underwater paradise.
Here are our seven tips to help you become a more responsible diver:
Before you get into the water check that your equipment is secure and has no dangling parts. This will ensure that you don’t break off sensitive parts of the reef and will prevent you from damaging your gear in the process. Once you are in the ocean, make sure to keep your hands at bay and don’t touch anything! By keeping your arms folded in front of you or behind you, it will help you be more streamlined and you will be less likely to touch and potentially harm the reef and marine life.
By being on top form in the buoyancy department, you can avoid contact with the natural environment while diving. Your diving buoyancy refers to your ability to float in the ocean, an essential skill that you cannot go without. If your buoyancy is not on point you can injure yourself by bumping into the reef and damaging the marine life that took centuries to grow. Make sure you are weighted suitably and neutrally buoyant when exploring the reef. Neutral buoyancy means your neither sink nor float, you kind of just “hang” in the water. If buoyancy is something you struggle with invest in a PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy course.
A big part of any diving experience depends on what you see and who doesn’t love seeing their favourite marine creatures face to face? Unfortunately, many dive operators use bait to attract marine life to optimise divers’ sightings. Attracting marine life with bait is not an ethical practice and causes disturbances in the sensitive ecosystem. Refrain from supporting operators who use bait and help conserve the natural behaviour of the dive sites you visit by trusting fate to send you amazing sightings on your dives.
According to stats by National Geographic, there are over four billion plastic microfibers per square kilometre that litter the deep sea. Because of this our marine life is affected and certain creatures like sea turtles develop the “floating syndrome” where they float from ingesting plastic. A floating turtle can’t flee from its predators or move away from boats, let alone dive down into the ocean for it’s next meal. This is why it’s important to make sure all your photography gear, dive equipment and weight belts come back up with you.
If you can’t give up your love of seafood, make sure you eat sustainably. Check out the MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) approved list and avoid eating items that are not listed here. The fish you should avoid vary from country-to-country and are categorised according to their conservation status. Give yourself peace of mind by researching your country’s list of fish to avoid, choose the MSC eco-label and support sustainable fisheries to be a responsible in and out of the water.
Further your diving education and receive responsible and professional dive training to ensure that you have as much knowledge about diving and marine life as possible. It is important to do your research about available dive associations and operators to ensure they practice ethical diving. In other words, they are environmentally focused and put the well being of the ocean before their own profitability. This will not only conserve the ocean for generations to come but also enhance your own diving experience.
Joining marine conservation initiatives is a great way to give back to the environment and clock up those dives. Many NGO’s and volunteering organisations are always on the lookout for trained divers to join their programmes and give them the much-needed manpower to collect the data they need to save endangered marine areas. Even if you aren’t yet a PADI certified diver, you can find projects that can take you all the way from an Open Water Diver to an IDC Advanced Diver.
By following these seven simple ways to become a more responsible diver, you can enjoy preserving our oceans and the life it supports. Dive into adventure responsibly!
Find out more about GVI’s international, award-winning volunteering programmes and internships! Choose from over 150 community development, animal care, teaching, women’s empowerment and conservation projects worldwide!