31 May 2005

Tips for scuba divers on environmental awareness

Keeping the Earth's treasures pristine for future generations to experience is a challenge, so before doing your next dive, read through these important tips.

  • Dive carefully in fragile aquatic ecosystems such as coral reefs. Many aquatic organisms are fragile that are harmed by the bump of a tank, knee or camera, a swipe of a fin or even the touch of a hand. By being careful you can prevent devastating and long-lasting damage to magnificent dive sites.

  • Be aware of your body and equipment placement when diving. Keep your gauges and alternate air source secured so they don't drag over the reef or bottom. Control your buoyancy, taking care not to touch fragile organisms with your body or equipment.

  • Keep your dive skills sharp with continuing education. Before heading to the reefs, seek bottom time with a certified professional in a pool or other environment that won't be damaged. Or refresh your skills and knowledge with a PADI Scuba Review, PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course or Project AWARE Specialty course.

  • Consider how your interactions effect aquatic life. Resist the temptation to touch, handle, feed and even hitch rides on certain aquatic life. Your actions may cause stress to the animal, interrupt feeding and mating behavior or provoke aggressive behavior in normally nonaggressive species.

  • Understand and respect underwater life. Using them as toys or food for other animals can leave a trail of destruction, disrupt local ecosystems and rob other divers of experiencing these creatures. Consider enrolling in a Project AWARE Underwater Naturalist Specialty course to understand sustainable interactions.

  • Resist the urge to collect souvenirs. Dive sites can be depleted of their resources and beauty in a short time. If you want to return from dives with souvenirs, consider underwater photography.

  • If you hunt and/or gather game, obey all fish and game laws. Local laws are designed to ensure the reproduction and survival of these animals. As an underwater hunter, understand your effect on the environment and respect the rights of other divers in the area who are not hunting.

  • Report environmental disturbances or destruction of your dive sites. As a diver, you are in a unique position to monitor the health of local waterways. Report these observations to responsible authorities in your country.

  • Be a role model for other divers in diving and nondiving interaction with the environment. As a diver, you see the underwater results of carelessness and neglect.

  • Set a good example in your own interactions and other divers and nondivers will follow suit.

  • Get involved in local environmental activities and issues. You affect your corner of the planet. There are plenty of opportunities to show your support of a clean aquatic environment, including participating in local beach and underwater cleanups, attending public hearings that impact local water resources and supporting environmental legislative issues.

    Source: www.projectaware.org


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