How to be a ‘Coral Friendly Diver”
Divers and other coral reef visitors are becoming some of the strongest and most effective advocates for coral reef conservation. Please follow these simple guidelines and be a “coral friendly” diver.
BEGIN AT HOME:
- Support coral reef conservation by choosing your resort with care and being a “green consumer” with your vacation dollars.
- Opt for environmentally conscious places to stay.
- Look for coral parks and other marine conservation areas, and pay user fees that support marine conservation.
Choose Coral Friendly dive operations that practice reef conservation by:
- Giving diver orientations and briefings.
- Holding buoyancy control workshops.
- Actively supporting local coral parks.
- Using available moorings.
- Using available wastewater pump-out facilities.
- Keep your diving skills finely tuned, and be sure to practice them away from the reef.
- Learn all you can about coral reefs—they are fascinating and fragile environments.
IN THE WATER:
- Never touch corals; even a slight contact can harm them and some corals can sting or cut you.
- Carefully select points of entry and exit to avoid areas of reef.
- Make sure all your equipment is well secured.
- Make sure you are neutrally buoyant at all times.
- Maintain a comfortable distance from the reef.
- Practice good finning and body control to avoid accidental contact with the reef or stirring up the sediment.
- Stay off the bottom and never stand or rest on corals.
- Avoid using gloves and kneepads in coral environments.
- Take nothing living or dead out of the water, except recent garbage.
- Minimize Contact With Marine Life
- Do not chase, harass or try to ride marine life.
- Do not touch, handle or feed marine life except under expert guidance and following established guidelines.
PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEOGRAPHY:
- Divers need advanced diving skills to take pictures and video underwater.
- Photographic and video equipment is cumbersome and affects a diver’s buoyancy and mobility in the water.
- It is all-too easy to touch and damage marine life when concentrating on “the shot”.
ON DIVE BOATS:
- Choose dive operations whose boats make use of available moorings—anchors and chains destroy fragile corals.
- Make sure garbage is well stowed, especially light plastic items.
- Be sure to take away everything you brought on board, such as packaging and used batteries.
- Support coral parks and other conservation projects by:
- Paying user fees in recognized coral parks and conservation areas that are actively supporting coral reef conservation.
- Encouraging and supporting the use of dive moorings.
- Filling in wildlife sighting forms.
- Participating in cleanups.
- Volunteering your skills.
- Donating used equipment such as cameras, dive gear or reef ID books.
- Avoid purchasing souvenirs made from coral, turtles or other marine life—often this is illegal, and it’s never environmentally wise.
- Speak up; make sure your dive buddies understand these simple but important conservation practices.
- Good divers know the best way to enjoy a reef is to slow down, relax and watch as reef creatures go about their daily lives undisturbed. Be sure to find out about local laws and regulations as they may differ from these general guidelines.