You may not think of yourself as a leader, but as someone who loves the underwater world, you’ve seen and experienced things most people haven’t. By sharing your love of the ocean, you can be a torchbearer for marine ecosystems! When you talk about the world beneath the waves, your words influence others. We all have the power to make a difference, and your passion for the marine world can be used as a force for good to inspire others to follow in your footsteps.  

The connection you have with the ocean planet is a super-power for the ocean. By setting a good example, you can inspire people to save the ocean.

Be a PADI® Torchbearer and spark change in your community; use your voice to shed light on important issues and inspire others to take action for ocean protection. Together, our collective actions can create a groundswell of positive change.

“The Greatest Threat to Our Planet Is the Belief That Someone Else Will Save It”
– Environmentalist Robert Swan, OBE

Be a Steward for the Ocean and Your Local Beaches

  • Always clean up after yourself and remove trash others may have left behind
  • Follow boating practices that don’t harm the reef or coastal habitats
  • Volunteer for a local beach cleanup or Dive Against Debris®
  • Tread lightly – don’t interfere with wildlife
  • Never remove rocks, coral or shells
  • Be a smart tide-pooler and follow all posted guidelines 

Ditch the Disposable Lifestyle

Many of us grew up learning we should “reduce, reuse, recycle,” but people forget – those words are a hierarchy. We’re supposed to reduce waste first and reuse what we can, recycling is the “last” option.

Straws, disposable utensils, snack wrappers and many plastic bags can’t be recycled, and most plastic items take up to 1,000 years to decompose in landfills. The plastic bags we use in our everyday life take 10 to 20 years to decompose, while plastic bottles take 450 years. Most of our plastic waste is shipped on barges to developing nations that can no longer handle it, resulting in a global crisis in waste management. Moreover, during transit, it can get blown into the ocean, causing fatalities in seabirds, turtles, seals and other animals that mistake the plastic for food.  

Be a role model to others and ditch the disposable lifestyle. Below is a list of reusable products that can help you reduce waste. If you already own the items below, consider giving them as gifts:

Our collective efforts can make a positive impact. Simply switching to a reusable coffee mug reduces landfill waste by 10 kgs/23 lbs per year per person.

Be a Voice for the Ocean

  • Share petitions, pledges and campaigns on social media
  • Ask a local PADI Dive Shop what environmental issues they’re concerned about and contact the appropriate local representative to take action
  • Speak up if you see a threatened species on a restaurant menu or at the seafood counter (use the free Seafood Watch app to evaluate the options or dine at Surfrider’s list of ocean friendly restaurants)

Reusable shopping bags when travelling

Shop Sustainably

Your choices matter. For example, if everyone chose sustainable seafood instead of exploited species, the demand for overfished species would drop and endangered fish populations could start to recover. Here are a few more ways to shop sustainably:

Visit eco-friendly travel destinations – and create a financial incentive for communities to protect their marine habitat. Never purchase items made from coral, tortoiseshell, sharks or other marine life.

Buy up-cycled products whenever possible. Up-cycled products reduce waste and bring value to items that might otherwise be thrown away, for example:

In the workplace:

  • Encourage your co-workers/staff to video conference instead of traveling for an in-person meeting
  • Choose catering services with eco-friendly practices
  • Ask whether the company can provide reusable cups and utensils for employees and visitors and set a good example by carrying your own
  • If your office has grass or other plants which require watering, suggest xeriscaping instead

Choose Experiences Instead of Things

Here’s something many PADI Torchbearers have in common – we’d rather have amazing memories than more stuff. Swimming with a seal, seeing a dolphin or hearing a whale song, these are unforgettable gifts from nature. Diving is the perfect experience to gift someone else or yourself.

As mentioned above, where you travel and the businesses you choose matter. Whether you’re already a diver or you want to get certified, check out this list of eco-operators from PADI Travel®, or search for PADI GREEN STAR™ dive shops and 100% AWARE partners on PADI’s website. 

Be a torchbearer in your community

Support Organizations Committed to Ocean Protection

No matter where you live, there’s an organization that could use your help. Volunteer your time, sign a petition, start a personal fundraiser, do whatever you can to support organizations working to protect our oceans.

Not sure where to start? Here are a few of our favorites: 

PADI AWARE® – a global movement for ocean protection powered by a community of adventurers.

Surfrider – passionate protectors of the ocean, waves, and beaches.

Oceana – an international advocacy organization dedicated to restoring and protecting the world’s oceans.

The Coral Restoration Foundation – dedicated to restoring coral reefs through the cultivation, outplanting, and monitoring of genetically diverse, reef-building corals.

Lonely Whale – an incubator for courageous ideas that drive impactful change on behalf of our ocean.

Be a torchbearer and report Manta Rays at brisbane dive site

Be a Torchbearer Citizen Scientist

Knowledge is power – the power to protect our oceans. If you are diving in a region that is home to rare marine species, such as manta rays, whale sharks or turtles, report your sightings. Marine researchers contribute to ocean protection by showing shifts in marine life behavior and numbers. There are multiple online platforms where you can report sightings and upload photos, including:

MantaMatcher (for manta ray sightings)

Sharkbook (for shark sightings)

Wildbook for Whale Sharks (specifically for reporting whale shark sightings)

Instructor - PADI - Scuba Diving - Underwater

Become a PADI Pro

PADI Divemasters and Instructors are in a unique position to inspire new divers and promote awareness of marine conservation. As a PADI Pro, other divers will look up to you, and by role modeling marine-friendly behavior, you will set a great example for others to follow!

Working in the diving industry is not only a great platform for marine conservation, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. Imagine diving every day and sharing your passion with others.

Are you ready to take the challenge and Go Pro? Find out more about PADI Professional Courses here.

We hope the ideas above make you feel inspired and empowered, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed, that’s okay. Ocean protection is a big job – that’s why our ocean planet needs ocean lovers like you to spark a movement that will create lasting change above and below the surface. 

If you aren’t yet a diver, one of the best ways you can get hands on in saving the ocean is by getting your PADI Open Water Diver certification. Not only will getting scuba certified help you to #LiveUnfiltered, it will also allow you to be a huge part of #OceanChange.

Check the link below and get started with PADI eLearning from home today!

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