The Ultimate Guide To Being An Eco-Diver

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.  

What is an Eco-Diver?

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.

9 Great Ways to be an Eco-Diver.

You can become an eco-diver by following these simple steps at home and when you are on holiday.

1.     Reduce Your Plastic Use.

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.

2.     Reduce Your Carbon Footprint.

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. At home. 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:
  • Drive less.
  • Use your air conditioning as little as possible.
  • Switch off lights when not in use and change to energy-saving lightbulbs.
When traveling. 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.
  • Stay local or travel to nearby destinations to reduce air travel when possible.
  • Calculate your carbon footprint from your travels and offset it with a donation to a conservation organization.
  • Donate to a tree planting program to help offset your carbon footprint every time you fly.

3.     Organize or Join a Clean-Up.

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.

4.     Use Reef-Safe Sunscreen.

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.

5.     Be Water-Wise

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:
  • Turning water off when it is not needed.
  • Taking shorter showers.
  • Installing water-saving faucets in your house.
  • Putting water butts in your garden, so you can collect rainwater for your plants.
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. READ MORE: EXPLORE THE 20 BEST DIVING SPOTS IN THE CORAL TRIANGLE

6.     Choose Sustainable Dive Gear.

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.

7.     Practice Your Buoyancy Skills.

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!

8.     Take Only Photos, Leave Only Bubbles.

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.

9.     Eat Sustainably

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:
  • Have a meat-free night once a week.
  • Choose your seafood using a sustainable seafood guide.
  • Eat land-based foods grown without toxic fertilizer.
  • Consume meat harvested from small, sustainable farms.
  • Choose to eat locally and organically whenever possible.
In what ways do you practice being an environmentally conscious diver? Comment on this blog and let us know! CLICK HERE TO JOIN THE BLUE OCEANS COMMUNITY TODAY!

Eco-Friendly Dive Centers – How to Find Them.

 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.

What is an eco-friendly dive center or operator?

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:
  • Only diving within official marine sanctuaries.
  • Not anchoring (only live-boating or using mooring buoys).
  • Turning off boat engines as much as possible.
  • Supporting local reefs with other conservation efforts.

How can I find an eco-friendly dive center or operator?

To ensure you dive with an eco-friendly center/operator, find an  SSI Blue Oceans Center near you.  

The Best Courses for Eco-Divers.

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:
  • Enhance your dives with new marine life knowledge. Help you understand how ocean ecosystems work.
  • Teach you how to safely interact with marine life.
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! PROTECT WHAT YOU LOVE – BECOME AN ECOLOGY SPECIALTY DIVER TODAY!