5 WAYS SCUBA DIVERS CAN PROTECT THE OCEAN
Did you know that as a scuba diver, you've got special powers?! Yup, you can actually use your skills to help protect one of the most fragile and important ecosystems on our planet. The ocean is our life support system and although there has been more awareness in the last few years (through campaigns and programs like Blue Planet), more still needs to be done. We are in a unique position - scuba divers can protect the ocean!
Here's 5 things you can do on your next dive.
1. Don't touch! Take only memories, leave only bubbles
When we dive and a cute marine creature comes close, it's so tempting to touch them... but we really must resist and encourage others to do the same! Marine creatures are not pets and do not depend on us for their survival. We are entering their home so we must respect them. Look from a distance and don't distress them in any way. Plus by doing this, you'll get the purest and most natural response from them in their habitat.
Never collect marine life… even if it seems insignificant like a piece of dead coral or a shell. Everything in the underwater ecosystems is perfectly balanced and removing an important piece of the puzzle can have a detrimental effect on the structure of the ecosystem. Our divers never take lobsters, crabs or scallops when we're diving. We know it's not illegal as long as you follow the rules, but even so - we'd much rather see them again on our next dive!
2. Dive with a purpose and protect what you love
When on a dive, we love to look around and see the beauty of nature surrounding us... but it makes us sad when we see marine debris damaging the environment. For most people, this problem is out of sight, out of mind but scuba divers can protect the ocean by directly tackling this problem. After all, we're the only ones with the skills to venture beneath the waves!
Take the Dive Against Debris speciality course so you can dive with a purpose. You'll become a citizen scientist who takes a mesh bag on every dive to collect trash. Afterwards, you'll sort, weight, record and report the data back to PADI AWARE who will use it as evidence to make changes in regulation and policy. Not only are you taking care of your favourite dive sites, you're also helping make changes on a global scale!
At The Fifth Point, we dive against debris on EVERY. SINGLE. DIVE. Surveying all the trash we collect. This allows us to monitor any patterns at our adopted dive sites. For example, The Farne Islands in Northumberland are normally clean with minimal trash. However, Beadnell gets a lot worse in the summer with more ‘picnicy’ type pollution.
3. Beach clean-ups
Our work doesn't have to be all underwater. Organising beach clean-ups or picking up rubbish when you're out and about is a great way scuba divers can protect the ocean without getting wet! Trash has an ugly journey from inland to the ocean. It's blown by winds and moved by rain and eventually it'll end up in rivers moving to the ocean. So… next time you see some trash, pick it up and prevent plastic pollution in our oceans!
The Fifth Point team are regularly on the beaches picking up litter. It's a perfect thing to do to pass the time on a surface interval, and even Dive Dog Hal gets involved every morning when he's walking by the river next to the dive centre. Imagine the impact we could make if everyone picked up just 3 bits of rubbish every day.
4. What's in your dive products?
As divers, we handle more products that contain reef damaging ingredients than you may think. When you're next out enjoying the sun, ensure your UV protection is reef-safe. There are nasty chemicals in traditional sun cream that are bad news for corals... and these products are not just important in tropical destinations! We have beautiful coral reefs right here in the UK so on the odd occasion we actually get some sun, consider using a reef-safe product.
As consumers, we have a huge opportunity to influence the market by being picky about where we shop and what we buy. Supporting eco-conscious businesses and searching out greener products is a great way scuba divers can protect the ocean in their day to day lives. Try to reduce, reuse and recycle as much as you can, and when it comes to buying new scuba diving gear, The Honest Diver Supply Co has you covered!
Honest is our sister company and specialises in eco-commerce. We highlight the most environmentally friendly dive gear on the site.
- There's a great range of reef-safe goodies from Stream2Sea including sunscreen, leave-in conditioner, shower gel and more
- We promote products that are ocean positive and made from recycled plastic bottles and old fishing nets
- We seek out dive gear that comes in recyclable and/or compostable packaging
- We pride ourselves in using responsibly sourced packaging to get your order to you and that's easily recycled or reused once you've opened it
- We use carbon neutral delivery drivers and we work hard to reduce or offset our own carbon emissions.
5. Educate yourself and spread your knowledge!
Congratulations! You're already halfway there! By reading this blog you've shown an interest in the preservation and protection of coral reefs and as a result, have educated yourself. Pat yourself on the back, you deserve it! Sharing your knowledge can influence other people to make changes in their lives. You can inspire others and show them how scuba divers can protect the ocean. Think global, act local!