If you are immersed in the wonderful world of diving, you most likely, have an affinity or a love for our ocean planet, leading to a desire to help save the ocean. To get you started, we’ve put together five easy conservation initiatives to incorporate while diving to help you protect the dive sites you love most.
1. Reduce your Waste
Plastic is one of the world’s biggest polluters – there’s no denying that. As divers, we are in a unique position as we come face-to-face with this problem so we can make conscious choices to reduce our waste. Easy ideas for reducing your waste when diving include:
Ask Questions Before Booking
Before you book with a PADI dive operator, don’t be afraid to enquire about their policies regarding plastic. Each of us have the individual purchasing power and we can make informed and educated decision with this in mind. Green Fins is a great initiative that provides participating dive operators with a 15-point code of conduct that includes methods of reducing marine pollution.
This includes water bottles, cups, cutlery and bags – bring these with you to avoid single use items. Not only are they better for the environment, but a reusable bottle will keep your water colder for longer, you can have a cup in your favorite color, reusable cutlery always works better than plastic and you’ll be able to carry any extra dive gear in the tote bag you bring along!
2. Buoyancy, Buoyancy, Buoyancy
When we dive, we are guests of the underwater world. Here, good buoyancy is synonymous with good manners so it’s essential to be on your best behavior to protect the environment. Three things that are critical to maintaining good buoyancy include: the weight you wear, the way you breathe when diving and being as calm and relaxed as possible.
Maintaining good buoyancy will allow you to glide above the ocean floor and observe those amazing marine environments and critters we all love, without risking any harm to them. If you are looking to gain more confidence in your own buoyancy, consider enrolling in the PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy Specialty course where you’ll learn more about breathing and weight distribution while diving. At the end of the course you can say you’re one step closer to mastering the art of buoyancy!
3. Use Reef-Safe Sunscreen
As a conscious diver, you undoubtedly know that oxybenzone (found in many sunscreens) bleaches coral and kills larva – or if you missed that news, check out these reports from the United Nations and DAN, or this article about the best natural sunscreens.
Although there are certainly greater threats to our waters than the sunscreens and shampoos that we choose to use, the drops in the bucket do add up. When we use knowledge that has been documented by scientists around the world – and read the ingredients in the products we choose — we can minimize our impact on the planet and beloved coral reefs.
4. Take Only Photos, Leave Only Bubbles
Nearly everything you see when diving is alive or will be used by a living creature in order to survive. Taking corals, shells or animals from their environment can disturb the natural balance and be extremely detrimental to marine ecosystems. Repeat removal of marine life can even lead to complete dive site depletion, so remember to take only photos (and trash) and leave only bubbles!
5. Become a PADI Torchbearer
Every adventure starts small; saving our ocean is no different. It will take many people working together, uniting our different perspectives, cultures and talents, this task doesn’t belong only to divers – anyone who cares about a sustainable, healthy ocean can do their part.
Join the PADI Torchbearer Movement to Save the Ocean
The role of a PADI Torchbearer is shining a light on what’s possible while leading communities towards a sustainable future. PADI Torchbearers care deeply about taking action to heal the planet and believe there is a better, more responsible way for humanity to live in balance with nature. Torchbearers work towards 5 community goals: stand up for the ocean, assume responsibility, dive with a purpose, reduce our carbon footprint and make sustainable choices. Join the PADI Torchbearer Movement today and do the Torchbearer 5 to help save the ocean.
Carry a Dive Against Debris mesh bag
Don’t let your dives go to waste – grab your mesh bag, scuba gear and data card to collect any marine debris you find on your dives! As you most likely know, Project AWARE’s citizen-science program, Dive Against Debris, empowers divers to remove marine debris from the ocean and report on data collected to help improve the health of ocean ecosystems. Head to Project AWARE’s website and learn how you can conduct your own Dive Against Debris.
Adopt a Dive Site
Do you have a favorite diving spot in your local area that you dive frequently? If you answered “yes”, then you can Adopt a Dive Site and share your love of the ocean with others! Adopt a Dive Site urges scuba diving leaders around the globe to engage in ongoing, local protection and monitoring of our underwater playgrounds. The program is dedicated to the most dedicated of divers, who commit to carrying out monthly Dive Against Debris surveys, reporting quantities of marine debris found underwater each month from the same location. You can adopt a dive site as an individual, or contact your local PADI dive shop or diving club and get them on board!
We hope we have given you inspiration to help conserve our oceans on your next dive. We encourage you to share these with your friends and your local dive shop. We can all do our part to save the ocean and we can’t wait to see the positive impact made by you and your community.