Diving offers an unrivaled opportunity to witness the breathtaking beauty of underwater ecosystems. Yet, as the popularity of this sport grows alongside its impact on the marine environment, so does the need for a responsible approach to scuba diving operations. This is why Green Fins was initially developed and where the Green Fins assessment comes into play, serving as a crucial tool in promoting sustainable diving practices globally.

What is Green Fins?

Developed through a collaboration between the United Nations Environment Programme and The Reef-World Foundation, Green Fins is currently the only internationally recognized program aimed at reducing the environmental impacts of scuba diving, snorkeling and other marine sports. By providing a consistent set of environmental standards, Green Fins helps guide dive centers towards sustainable practices that protect coral reefs and marine life.

What is the Green Fins Assessment?

A Green Fins assessment is a yearly visit from a trained assessor who evaluates a Green Fins Member’s compliance with the Green Fins Code of Conduct and provides suggestions for improvement of the member’s environmental impact.

The assessment uses a 0 to 330 point system, with a lower score indicating a lower environmental impact. The assessor also provides environmental training for all staff and crew, and meets with the dive shop operators to agree on action points to improve environmental sustainability over the next year. These action points might include such things as an improved reef-safe sunscreen policy or digitalizing the check-in process for new divers in order to decrease paper use.

Green Fins Certified Members are ranked as Gold, Silver, or Bronze based on their performance in this assessment. To become a Green Fins Certified Member, the dive shop must score 200 or less on the assessment.

green fins education padi industry sustainability

Key Areas of the Green Fins Assessment

The Green Fins assessment is comprehensive, focusing on various aspects of diving operations to ensure minimal environmental disruption. Keep reading for information on what the assessment entails.

  1. Environmental Briefings: Green Fins emphasizes the importance of educating divers about eco-friendly practices before they even enter the water. Top environmental briefings include information on how divers should act in the water, responsible behavior around marine wildlife and advice on how to avoid damaging coral.
  2. Waste Management: Dive centers are evaluated on their ability to manage waste effectively. This includes practices like recycling, proper disposal of hazardous materials, using covered ash trays to prevent cigaret ash from entering the water and strategies to minimize single-use plastics.
  3. Energy Use: The assessment reviews how dive centers manage their energy consumption. This might involve using energy-efficient equipment, opting for solar power where possible, and implementing measures to conserve water.
  4. Conservation Activities: Active participation in local conservation efforts is a significant part of the assessment. Dive centers must engage in ocean conservation activities, such as coral reef monitoring, clean-up dives, and educational outreach programs.
  5. Safe Diving Practices: Ensuring that diving practices do not harm the environment is crucial. This includes maintaining proper buoyancy to avoid contact with the seabed or coral reefs, and never touching marine life, even to provide clients with a better photographic opportunity.
  6. Staff Training: Regular training for dive staff on the latest environmental practices and how to enforce them is also a critical aspect of the assessment.

Digital vs. Certified Green Fins Membership

Green Fins operates on the ground in 14 countries throughout Asia, the Middle East and the Caribbean. In these ‘active’ countries, Green Fins Members are provided with in-person assessments and training as described above.

However, Green Fins Digital Membership is also available to dive centers around the world, even before their countries officially participate in the program. Digital Membership is designed to be self-managed and fully online. Upon joining, members conduct a self-evaluation of their environmental practices. This assessment yields a personalized score and an annual action plan tailored to their specific needs, facilitating continuous improvement in their sustainability efforts.

Unlike the traditional Green Fins certification, there is no minimum score requirement for Digital Members.

To distinguish between a Green Fins Member that has undergone an in-person assessment and a Green Fins Digital Member, look for the Green Fins logo displayed at the dive center or on their website. Dive centers that have had an in-person assessment will display a bronze, silver or gold logo, while Digital Members will use a dark blue Green Fins logo.

a padi eco center and green fins member assesses the coral reef

The Role of Green Fins in PADI Eco Centers

Through adherence to the stringent criteria set by Green Fins among other requirements, dive centers can achieve recognition as PADI Eco Centers. This prestigious designation is awarded to those who not only meet but excel in implementing environmentally sustainable practices. By opting for a PADI Eco Center on your next dive, you are choosing a facility that has proven its commitment to environmental excellence.

Go Eco!

Dive centers bearing the PADI Eco Center designation have passed the rigorous Green Fins assessment, which means they operate with the utmost respect for marine ecosystems.

Make a responsible choice for your next dive trip. Choose a PADI Eco Center, where sustainability meets exceptional diving experiences. Dive responsibly and contribute to the conservation of our oceans. Find a PADI Eco Center by clicking on the button below and join us in protecting the blue planet.

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