Every diver cares about the environment in some way - a bold yet true statement! No matter what got you into diving; whether it is to enjoy the peace and beauty the ocean brings, to hunt underwater, or simply for work, having clean water to dive in is something every diver needs. The good news is it is easy to become an eco-diver and protect the water you love!
With some simple changes in your everyday lives at home, and when diving, you can really help protect our aquatic environments. Read on for our ultimate guide to being an eco-diver and start making a difference today.
Being an eco-diver is much easier than it sounds. It is simply a decision on your part to make lifestyle choices that help protect the oceans. If you want to dive for years to come and enjoy healthy dive sites teeming with life, becoming an eco-diver is the right thing to do.
By being a positive and proactive ocean ambassador, you will be helping to conserve the oceans for future generations to enjoy.
You can become an eco-diver by following these simple steps at home and when you are on holiday.
Reducing your use of plastics is one of the easiest ways to become an eco-diver and has a huge positive impact on the environment. Cutting back on your use of single-use plastics does not just create less plastic waste – which often gets into the oceans and affects marine life. It also reduces the demand for and production of single-use plastics in the first place.
Top plastics to swap out: Straws, grocery bags, water bottles, and toothbrushes.
Your carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced through your daily activities. There are many ways you can reduce your carbon footprint both in your everyday life and while traveling.
There are so many simple ways you can reduce your carbon footprint at home. Our favorite changes to get you started on your eco-diver journey include:
We know that divers love to travel and we are not suggesting you give that up! There are still some great ways you can reduce your carbon footprint whilst exploring and enjoying stunning dive sites around the world.
Organizing clean-ups is a great and fun way to preserve the aquatic environment with your community. Beach clean-ups are the most obvious to conduct as eco-divers but cleaning up other environments keeps our aquatic world clean and healthy as well!
Top places to conduct a clean-up: beaches, lakes, rivers, and streams.
Regular sunscreens contain oxybenzone and octinoxate, two UV-blocking chemicals that can cause coral bleaching. Some areas like Hawaii and the city of Key West in the Florida Keys have passed laws banning the use of non-reef safe sunscreens.
Reef-safe or reef-friendly sunscreens are usually zinc-based and do not harm corals, so make sure you stock up on these sunscreens before heading to the tropics.
Sunscreen top tip: Reef-safe sunscreens are usually made of zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
All water on Earth is connected, so treat it carefully. Being 'water wise' means you are conscious of the water you use and how you treat it.
Reduce the amount of water you use by:
Improve water quality by watching what you put into it:
Use non-toxic cleaning products, low-phosphate detergents, and biodegradable soap, shampoo, and conditioner. When traveling, do not go crazy drinking bottled water; bring a reusable water bottle and stock up on gallon-sized filter water to refill your bottle.
Even the small act of choosing who to buy your dive equipment from can significantly impact the aquatic world. An eco-diver diver chooses to purchase products from companies that try to reduce their carbon footprint and plastic waste.
Equipment manufacturers like Mares have drastically changed their product packaging to include wetsuits wrapped in biodegradable bio-bags and paper-based mask boxes.
Your main goal as an eco-diver should be to practice your buoyancy on every dive. Having perfect buoyancy helps you to conserve air and have a more relaxed, enjoyable dive. It also keeps you and your dive kit off the reef and protects marine life from harm.
Perfect your buoyancy: Start the SSI Perfect Buoyancy Specialty course today!
This saying is famous for a reason; because it is true, and it works. Enjoy the beauty and relaxation of your dive, but please, leave behind the seashell souvenirs. And especially leave behind the hundreds of dried shells and sea stars being sold on the side of the road. Chances are, they were not caught sustainably.
Top eco-diver tip: Do not buy seashells, sharks teeth, or other marine life souvenirs.
Making sure you eat sustainably caught seafood and responsibly grown produce and meat products really help to protect our oceans and land-based environments.
Top ways to eat sustainably:
In what ways do you practice being an environmentally conscious diver? Comment on this blog and let us know!
Choosing to dive with an eco-friendly dive center or operator is easy and helps protect our oceans and support conservation efforts around the world.
An eco-friendly dive center/operator goes above and beyond to ensure they are doing all they can to operate with minimal impact on the environment by taking actions such as:
To ensure you dive with an eco-friendly center/operator, find an SSI Blue Oceans Center near you.
Completing courses about protecting the oceans and their inhabitants will boost your eco-diver credentials and ocean conservation knowledge. Our range of Environment Specialty programs is a great place to start.
These courses will:
Whether you love sharks, rays, corals, or turtles, or want to learn about the exciting science of Marine Ecology, we have a course for you!