10 Top Tips for Sustainable Diving

As divers, we see firsthand the damage that is being done to our oceans; Fish getting caught in plastic bags, dolphins becoming tangled in discarded fishing nets, plastic being washed up on beaches. But it is never too late to turn things around.

There are many small changes that can make a huge difference to the environment if we all put in a little effort.

If you would like to become a more eco-conscious diver, read on for our top tips for sustainable diving.

Did you know?

  • It takes plastic 500-1000 years to degrade.
  • Three times as much oil is carried out to sea from runoff from roads, rivers and drainpipes than from headline-grabbing oil spills.
  • 18 billion pounds of plastic waste goes into the world’s oceans each year.
  • 60% of all seabird species have eaten plastic.
  • By 2050, ocean plastic will outweigh all of the fish in the oceans.
  • The Great Pacific Garbage Patch contains around 1.8billion pieces of trash. There are a total of five of these garbage patches that have formed and are floating out at sea.

What can we do to help clean up our beloved oceans?

1.Participate in beach clean ups

Unfortunately trash gets washed up onto beaches all the time, and it needs to be picked up and disposed of properly. There are beach and water clean-ups organized regularly all over the world by individuals or by dive centers. If you cannot find one near you, why not start your own and gather like-minded eco-warriors together to help make our shores cleaner? You will probably make some great friends along the way.

2. Wear recycled ocean plastic clothing

Unfortunately there are over 46,000 pieces of plastic in every square mile of ocean on this planet. But, some fantastic fashion brands are doing their part to turn some of that plastic into beautiful items of clothing. From swimwear to jewelry, you can look great and help to clean up the seas, too!

3. Reduce your plastic usage

Single use plastic bags have been banned in many places around the world, this was a huge step forward in the war against plastic pollution. But more can be done. Just a few small tweaks to your day to day life can reduce your contribution to plastic in the oceans massively and contribute to sustainable diving:

  • Always carry a reusable bag for when you visit the supermarket
  • If you like to drink with a straw, try a metal or bamboo alternative
  • Say no to plastic takeout containers
  • Choose products that come in packaging that is not plastic

4. Wear reef-safe sunscreen

Did you know that many sunscreens contain chemicals that cause damage to our ocean’s reefs? Reefs are so important for the health of our oceans, and our planet as a whole. You can do your part to protect them by switching to a reef-safe sunscreen such as Sun Bum. Reef safe sunscreen makes an excellent gift for eco-conscious divers and are an easy way to contribute to sustainable diving culture. Read our blog post "Top 11 reef-safe sunscreens" to find the best ocean friendly sunscreen.

5. Eat locally-sourced fish

Around 650,000 marine mammals are seriously injured or even killed each year from commercial fishing practices. These include dolphins and whales. Switching to small and local fishing companies is a much better way to enjoy seafood, while reducing the amount of bycatch and lowering the threat to large marine life.

6. Perfect your buoyancy

Not having good buoyancy control while scuba diving can lead to kicking coral or marine life and damaging fragile ecosystems. It is important when we dive to never touch anything and give respect to the underwater environment. That is at the heart of sustainable diving. Of course you learn the basics of buoyancy in your first scuba diving course. But if you would like to perfect your buoyancy you can look into taking the Perfect Buoyancy Speciality program, which teaches you how to master perfect buoyancy, and protect the homes of your fishy friends.

7. Dive locally

Many people think they have to travel far and wide across the globe to enjoy scuba diving, but you might be surprised how many beautiful dive spots could be closeby. Even cold, murky waters hide interesting surprises! Diving locally lowers your carbon footprint from flying, as well as supports local businesses.

8. Conserve water

Water that we waste at home is water that could be used for environmental purposes, such as protecting endangered marine species. Here are a few ways to conserve water at home:

  • Turn off the tap while you clean your teeth
  • Take showers instead of baths
  • Only do laundry when you have a full load, and use clothes more than once if possible
  • Do not over-water your plants or yard

9. Reuse and recycle

Recycling is beneficial for stopping so much plastic ending up in landfills. But did you know that only 9% of plastic waste ever created has actually been recycled? So avoiding plastic and reusing items is a much better solution to our plastic problem. You can reuse things like tupperware or jars instead of using plastic wrap or styrofoam containers. There are also many refill stores open around the world that allow you to take your own container to stock up on essentials such as rice, pasta, flour, shampoo, and soap.

10. Join the Blue Oceans team

Here at SSI we are passionate about protecting our oceans and all those who live in them. We developed our Blue Oceans movement to bring together a community of ocean lovers who want to help ensure healthy seas for the future. Simply register for free on the MySSI app to gain access to free trial programs and Blue Oceans materials. You will be able to view news, videos, and hear about events. By becoming a Blue Oceans team member you will vow to follow the SSI responsible diver code by:

  • Dealing with the underwater world in an ethical manner
  • Avoiding garbage
  • Showing environmental awareness
  • Using resources responsibly.

It is easy to practice sustainable diving. Sign up today and join our caring community!