When looking for information about your favourite underwater sport, the internet is a great resource. Forum and groups are a popular solution to ask specific questions to fellow divers. As a moderator of a couple of scuba diving online groups, I wanted to share insights about how to use them for your and everyone’s best interest.
How to choose a good scuba diving group?
Active scuba diving forums thrive at building a community where members can feel their contribution is valued, may they be expert or total beginners.
Not all groups are the same. Some have high standards regarding responsible diving practices; some are tech diving oriented, or others are location specific. Make sure to read the description and to check if the group has detailed policies. Don’t be upset if your post isn’t approved; you may have failed to respect the group’s rules.
Some of the best scuba diving groups and forums online include:
- Divers Forum
- Scuba diving & Adventure
- Scuba on Reddit
- Diver’s around the world
Top etiquette tips on scuba diving groups
1 . Courtesy
Everyone can have opinions. Scuba diving doesn’t run out of subversive topics, whether it’s about training or the environment. Be courteous, bring sensible arguments, share authoritative links and there should never be any need to call each other names to make a point. Please also remember most of the English speaking groups are very international.
If you witness abusive behaviour, there is always a report function you shouldn’t hesitate to use. Groups are usually run by volunteers who are passionate about scuba diving but sometimes they can’t see everything.
As a rule of thumb:
- Apply basic politeness in any situation
- Support the beginners in a kind way
- Be mindful of the potential cultural gap
- Report abusive comments to moderators
2 . Sharing content in a responsible way
It’s ok to share content you love, whether it is a video of your dream dive with a whale shark or an educational poster about how to use less plastic. It is not because an image is available online that it is free to use anyhow you like. Downloading pictures and sharing them directly from your account without permission (even if you give credit) is not only not cool, it’s illegal. Copyright laws apply to everyone, businesses like individuals.
The best way to support the organisations, photographers, and videographers bringing up all this amazing content is to do a share from their profile on social media or with a link to their website. On the other hand, refrain from sharing sensational videos which are mostly click-baits.
Promoting responsible diving practices is another serious topic. You should always ask yourself what the impact of sharing the video of a diver chasing a turtle for a trophy selfie is. We are all responsible for stopping showing marine life harassment as something cool.
3. Promoting your business without being spammy
One of the most common question on groups is “I want to go scuba diving in XYZ, which centre do you recommend?”. While it is never an issue that divers post reviews of their personal experience, self-recommendation by a dive centre is usually frowned upon.
However, there is a way of advertising your services for free on scuba diving groups. Bring added value with an enthralling story and quality photography for instance, and your posts are likely to be accepted. Alternatively, spend more time giving your customers an unforgettable experience, and they will do the job for you online!
Florine is a PADI Divemaster and a Dive Travel blogger at World Adventure Divers. She dives in tropical to extreme cold waters, selecting her destinations when both adventure diving and cultural discoveries are part of the journey, and showing you how to do it without breaking the bank.