Guide to Environmentally Friendly Diving
This simple guide to green diving is based on years of research and collaboration working within the dive tourism sector in SE Asia and marine science institutes. We believe people do not want to harm the marine environment, and with a little knowledge responsible divers can actually have a positive impact on the aquatic world.
SCUBA diving is becoming more and more popular and accessible to millions of people every year. The booming tourism industry has brought people and coastlines together for many years and peoples desire to explore and venture further has naturally increased the popularity of diving. As with anything in tourism, the more popular something is the more associated problems and pollution there is. With SCUBA diving, the effect of unnaturally bringing thousands of people into close proximity with marine organisms is no different and has many documented negative ecological effects.
Depending on HOW you dive, SCUBA diving doesnt necessarily cause problems. There are many things that the diver can do to hugely reduce their impact on the environment and marine species through some simple actions and overall awareness.
Contact:
Touching and altering the physical environment directly upsets ecosystems, and can lead to long term damage. This can easily be avoided through maintaining good buoyancy control at all times. New and inexperienced divers often crash into delicate corals and marine life so practice first on sandy areas or pools.
New snorkellers often stand on reefs to gather their balance, orientate themselves or adjust any kit. This is obviously damaging and should be avoided at all times. A life jacket can help prevent this.
Fin wash can also disturb habitats and upset smaller marine life as well as smothering corals in sediment and sand.
Gloves are a getting more and more common which give the diver a perceived sense of protection. This often encourages the diver to feel the reef and can lead to many ecological impacts.
Collecting marine life, dead or alive is now a common trend as tourists want to collect a souvenir from their trip abroad. Dont take anything as it is often illegal.
Anchors can cause massive damage to reefs and so mooring buoys are a preferred environmental alternative. Encourage your dive operator to do so.
Incidentally there are thousands of marine species that are toxic, poisonous or can cause severe pain and even death to humans. By avoiding all contact you are actually preventing the risk of damage, severe injury or worse!
Interactions and diving etiquette:
Other than simply coming into contact, deliberately or accidentally with a reef, the way you dive also has an effect on marine species.
Chasing or touching marine species like turtles, whale sharks (if your lucky!) fish, jelly fish, dolphins and other larger marine mammals can cause a great deal of stress to animals. This can lead to further problems and can even cause death and transmission of diseases.
Fish feeding is a simple way to lure species to a diver but in doing so is interrupting a very natural nutrient behavioural balance which is essential for healthy marine habitats.
Littering is easily avoided. When on board a boat, litter is blown overboard with plastic being the largest culprit. Turtles and other marine mammals eat these plastic bags thinking they are jelly fish or other digestible organisms with lethal consequences to the animal.
Underwater Photography is now readily available to even the most inexperienced of divers as cameras getting cheaper and more available. Camera flashes and the proximity of cameras to marine wildlife is causing many problems with species going blind or leaving their nesting spots due to being chased by cameras. Think before you click!
Spear Fishing is also becoming a more popular sport. This activity drastically upsets the natural ecology of the local environment. It is also often illegal as many dive spots are in National or Marine Parks.
Dry time:
Due to the very location of popular tropical diving locations today there is often an associated delicate terrestrial habitat that needs the respect it deserves. Before you choose who to dive with, do a little research and see how environmentally aware they are.
Fresh water is becoming a rare resource so clean your kit and yourself with the bare minimum you require. Additionally, cleaning products can be very harmful to the marine environment, keep your shampoo and soap off the boat and make sure the dive centre is not using damaging chemical products to clean your kit.
Plastic bottles and polystyrene food containers are popular options for dive centres. Gently persuade your dive centre to swap to less wasteful methods of feeding and watering their guests.
Plastic bags as mentioned before contribute to a huge Global litter problem so bring a cloth or reusable bag and politely decline plastic bags in shops.
Whenever you go diving remember to bring back any rubbish to dispose of on land and take any toxic waste such as used batteries back home with you.
Coastal communities often catch many species for sale as gifts or souvenirs such as large shells, coral jewellery and even dried sea fans. Dont buy them as this is a basic removal of many important species and is again often illegal. If it is not illegal in the country you are on holiday in, it could be when you try to bring it home to your country!
Shark Finning for soup is now a well known problem due to the great work of many organisations. However, it is still very popular and often encountered when on a diving holiday. Ask the restaurants if they sell it and try to avoid those who do to discourage the demand for shark fins.
Entrance fees and Environmental taxes are often included in many diving packages or destinations where diving is permitted inside parks or marine reserves. Ensure that these are paid to continue the work they support.
Diving is a simple sport (once you have qualified!) and can produce incredible experiences and memories that will last a life time but it is important that we try and make sure that future generations also have the same experiences. It is also important when you are in someone elses country that you are respecting their environment and culture as you would expect them to do so in your country. Many people depend on the seas and the marine life within it, so preservation and conservation is one of todays most important objectives.
Enjoy your diving holiday, stay safe and have fun.
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This guide to environmentally friendly diving was kindly written by: The Reef-World Foundation: a UK based charity that has worked with local people to conserve coral reefs in Thailand for over 10 years.
If you would like anymore information on responsible Scuba diving or would like to be involved with them, please visit www.reef-world.org or email info@reefworld.org.
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This simple guide to green diving is based on years of research and collaboration working within the dive tourism sector in SE Asia and marine science institutes. We believe people do not want to harm the marine environment, and with a little knowledge responsible divers can actually have a positive impact on the aquatic world.

SCUBA diving is becoming more and more popular and accessible to millions of people every year. The booming tourism industry has brought people and coastlines together for many years and peoples desire to explore and venture further has naturally increased the popularity of diving. As with anything in tourism, the more popular something is the more associated problems and pollution there is. With SCUBA diving, the effect of unnaturally bringing thousands of people into close proximity with marine organisms is no different and has many documented negative ecological effects.

Depending on HOW you dive, SCUBA diving doesnt necessarily cause problems. There are many things that the diver can do to hugely reduce their impact on the environment and marine species through some simple actions and overall awareness.

Contact:

Touching and altering the physical environment directly upsets ecosystems, and can lead to long term damage. This can easily be avoided through maintaining good buoyancy control at all times. New and inexperienced divers often crash into delicate corals and marine life so practice first on sandy areas or pools.

New snorkellers often stand on reefs to gather their balance, orientate themselves or adjust any kit. This is obviously damaging and should be avoided at all times. A life jacket can help prevent this.

Fin wash can also disturb habitats and upset smaller marine life as well as smothering corals in sediment and sand.

Gloves are getting more and more common which give the diver a perceived sense of protection. This often encourages the diver to feel the reef and can lead to many ecological impacts.

Collecting marine life, dead or alive is now a common trend as tourists want to collect a souvenir from their trip abroad. Dont take anything as it is often illegal.

Anchors can cause massive damage to reefs and so mooring buoys are a preferred environmental alternative. Encourage your dive operator to do so.

Incidentally there are thousands of marine species that are toxic, poisonous or can cause severe pain and even death to humans. By avoiding all contact you are actually preventing the risk of damage, severe injury or worse!

Interactions and diving etiquette:

Other than simply coming into contact, deliberately or accidentally with a reef, the way you dive also has an effect on marine species.

Chasing or touching marine species like turtles, whale sharks (if your lucky!) fish, jelly fish, dolphins and other larger marine mammals can cause a great deal of stress to animals. This can lead to further problems and can even cause death and transmission of diseases.

Fish feeding is a simple way to lure species to a diver but in doing so is interrupting a very natural nutrient behavioural balance which is essential for healthy marine habitats.

Littering is easily avoided. When on board a boat, litter is blown overboard with plastic being the largest culprit. Turtles and other marine mammals eat these plastic bags thinking they are jelly fish or other digestible organisms with lethal consequences to the animal.

Underwater Photography is now readily available to even the most inexperienced of divers as cameras getting cheaper and more available. Camera flashes and the proximity of cameras to marine wildlife is causing many problems with species going blind or leaving their nesting spots due to being chased by cameras. Think before you click!

Spear Fishing is also becoming a more popular sport. This activity drastically upsets the natural ecology of the local environment. It is also often illegal as many dive spots are in National or Marine Parks.

Dry time:

Due to the very location of popular tropical diving locations today there is often an associated delicate terrestrial habitat that needs the respect it deserves. Before you choose who to dive with, do a little research and see how environmentally aware they are.

Fresh water is becoming a rare resource so clean your kit and yourself with the bare minimum you require. Additionally, cleaning products can be very harmful to the marine environment, keep your shampoo and soap off the boat and make sure the dive centre is not using damaging chemical products to clean your kit.

Plastic bottles and polystyrene food containers are popular options for dive centres. Gently persuade your dive centre to swap to less wasteful methods of feeding and watering their guests.

Plastic bags as mentioned before contribute to a huge Global litter problem so bring a cloth or reusable bag and politely decline plastic bags in shops.

Whenever you go diving remember to bring back any rubbish to dispose of on land and take any toxic waste such as used batteries back home with you.

Coastal communities often catch many species for sale as gifts or souvenirs such as large shells, coral jewellery and even dried sea fans. Dont buy them as this is a basic removal of many important species and is again often illegal. If it is not illegal in the country you are on holiday in, it could be when you try to bring it home to your country!

Shark Finning for soup is now a well known problem due to the great work of many organisations. However, it is still very popular and often encountered when on a diving holiday. Ask the restaurants if they sell it and try to avoid those who do to discourage the demand for shark fins.

Entrance fees and Environmental taxes are often included in many diving packages or destinations where diving is permitted inside parks or marine reserves. Ensure that these are paid to continue the work they support.

Diving is a simple sport (once you have qualified!) and can produce incredible experiences and memories that will last a life time but it is important that we try and make sure that future generations also have the same experiences. It is also important when you are in someone elses country that you are respecting their environment and culture as you would expect them to do so in your country. Many people depend on the seas and the marine life within it, so preservation and conservation is one of todays most important objectives.Enjoy your diving holiday, stay safe and have fun.

This guide to environmentally friendly diving was kindly written by: The Reef-World Foundation: a UK based charity that has worked with local people to conserve coral reefs in Thailand for over 10 years.

If you would like anymore information on responsible Scuba diving or would like to be involved with them, please visit www.reef-world.org or email info@reefworld.org.Got something you’d like to add to this page? Leave a comment!