Diving is a very popular sport in any seaside resort or island. Many individuals opt to dive into the depths of the ocean to catch glimpses of the underwater marine life and ecosystem. However, not many know that they may unknowingly cause damage to the same in the process. If you love diving and are planning for one, here are some tips to make the dive a green adventure you will never forget.
Opt for Responsible Dive Operators
When it comes to diver operators and shops, do not choose the cheapest option alone. Choose the operator or shop who ensures that your dive will have minimal impact on the underwater coral and reef gardens.
Practice your Buoyancy
Just because it is underground doesn’t mean it is protected. The marine ecosystem is very fragile and stands high risks of being accidentally damaged if you don’t perfect your buoyancy underwater. So practice in shallow waters quite a few times before heading underwater as it would help you resist the urge to grab onto a few pieces of coral or reef if you lose your balance underwater.
Choose your sunscreen wisely
Although sunscreen is recommended for a day dive, chances are the sunscreen brand you use contains an ingredient called oxybenzone which is detrimental to coral life. So consider skipping the sunscreen altogether, or choose a brand that does not contain this ingredient.
Opt to remove the gloves
Most of us tend to wear gloves when diving underwater owing to the cold temperatures below the sea. However, it has been widely noted that those who wear gloves are usually the first ones to touch a reef or prod a coral garden. If you leave the gloves, you will feel more apprehensive of sticking out your hand to touch anything that comes from an unfamiliar coral or reef garden.
If needed, you can use just one glove to hold onto the mooring line when you descend and ascend. Alternatively, you can keep the gloves in your pocket and take them out only when you are feeling a bit too chilly underwater.
Take note of waste
A good thing about opting for a responsible dive operator or shop is that they will be more conscious of the marine ecosystem and the efforts to protect it. This is why many such operators will have trashcans and ashtrays on board the boats to avoid plastic bottles, candy wrappers, cigarette butts and even masking tape from being blown away into the ocean.
So be responsible and check for a trash can on board the boat you dive from. If you cannot find a trash can, don’t leave the trash lying around in the boat. Rather, store it safely and throw it into a trash can once you reach land.
Avoid feeding the fish
Fish feeding is considered as a very popular practice in many South Asian countries. Many tourists to these destinations also consider it as a helpful practice and opt for it while diving. However, this has shown to have adverse effects on the feeding patterns of these fishes. Not only do they get used to being fed every day (which diminishes their natural hunting skills), they end up eating only bread which does not provide them with the nutrients their natural food source does.
Moreover, feeding on bread will stop the fish from feeding on the algae. Increase in the amount of algae will also force the reef to shift to an algae dominated state, leaving the coral to die a slow death.
Give tips to other divers
If you are a seasoned diver, you can give tips to other less experienced divers about being more conscious of the marine ecosystem. The awareness thus created, will spread to other divers, thus creating a chain which will help preserve the ocean for years to come.
Diving has started increasing the risks of damage to the marine ecosystem. In addition to being aware of the myriad ways in which you can enjoy a dive in an eco-friendly manner, you can educate other divers to adopt these practices as well.