With coral bleaching, overfishing and invasive species at the forefront of environmental news, as scuba divers, we are getting front row seats at watching the world destroy the small slice of heaven that is left on this planet. By learning to become more environmentally conscious divers we can hopefully change this negative trend.
Here are 6 ways you can can become a sustainable scuba diver:
- Practice Buoyancy Perfection
Practice makes perfect! Don’t wait until you are on your tropical scuba diving vacation to figure out how to control buoyancy. Every year tonnes of inexperienced divers on vacation destroy hundreds of years of coral growth in one finkick.
Don’t be one of those divers. Get out to that sandy bottom beach near your house and practice, practice, practice! Lay on the bottom, fiddle with your BCD, get your weighing just right. There is no better place to get your diving down to a tee than in a controlled environment where you are not a problem for marine life. The better your buoyancy the less you are a risk to reef damage.
2. Education is Key
When someone falls in love with an animal they will want to forever protect it. Don’t be afraid to talk about your underwater adventures. Pictures, video and even show and tell with scuba gear, are all great ways to get people curious about life beneath the waves.
By talking about your passion you can connect non divers to a completely different world, and help them get excited by the cool and strange looking animals you find.
3. Look But Don’t Touch
It is important to remember that we are visitors to the underwater world and we should conduct ourselves accordingly.
Looking but not touching marine wildlife is not only for the animals safety but also for our own. Some species can be dangerous if alarmed, disturbed or aggravated. The last thing you want to deal with is an emergency at 50 feet.
Sometimes the best thing you can do as a scuba diver is absolutely nothing at all. Let’s all strive to lead by example and keeps our hands and fins to ourselves!
4. One dive, One Piece of Garbage
Picking up one piece of trash every time you dive may seem like a silly thing to do, but can you imagine what the impact would be if every scuba diver in the world did it. Imagine just how much cleaner our waterways would be.
It doesn’t need to be a big piece of garbage even an old candy wrapper does the trick. By getting into the routine of cleaning the ocean one bit of trash at a time, scuba divers like you and I can all contribute to building a better tomorrow.
5. Underwater Volunteering
Travel with purpose. There is always so much to do in the realm of environmental science and not a lot of funding to go with it. Spend your vacation fish and reef monitoring, animal tagging or helping out with a coastal cleanup.
Non for profit organizations often depend on good samaritan volunteers to help out with conservation projects. By working together with people that share a common goal, you can not only connect and make friends but also make a difference. Giving your travels focus and meaning can help make your adventures very rewarding and fulfilling.
6. Pick a Sustainable Dive Shop
Keep those fins green while scuba diving! To help minimize your impact on the ocean environment try and pick a dive shop that prides itself in sustainability. Make sure to do your research prior to diving as not all self proclaimed “eco-friendly” dive shops are created equal.
Some good resources to use to find environmentally conscious dive shops are; Project AWARE, Green Fins and Blue Star Operators.
It’s not enough anymore just hope that nature can rebound from decades of environmental damage. We need to start being the change we want to see in our oceans.
In general scuba divers are among some of the strongest advocates for ocean awareness and conservation. We have the power to do a lot of good in the underwater world. Let’s help our passion spread and make sure our impact on the aquatic realm is a positive one.
About Alisha Postma of Dive Buddies 4 Life:
Who you are is largely to do with what you do and I am a scuba diver.
For me and the underwater world it was love at first sight. Sometimes I even think I could swim before I could walk. I have been sporting a neoprene wetsuit for the better part of a decade. After completing my undergraduate degree in marine biology I began my career employed in laboratory and aquarium settings. Now I am a blogger trying to teach the world about our lakes, rivers and oceans.
Everyone has their calling… mine came when I put on my first set of fins. I love the underwater world and it is my dream to captivate people with my scuba diving blog the way the ocean has captivated me. Connect with Alisha and Joey from Dive Buddies 4 Life on Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and Instagram.
-Guest Post for the Office of Sustainability written by Alisha Postman