We can't think of another sport that connects you with nature and wildlife in the same way that scuba diving does. The moment you dive into the water, you're immersed in an unspoiled world full of surprises. We don't know any other place offering the same experience!
But even more than the terrestrial world, marine life is fragile and vulnerable to environmental changes. Threats like climate change, overfishing and pollution impact our oceans. Globally, more than one-fifth of all coral reefs are already lost, and the trend is clear.
Mankind is currently overexploiting the sea, and there's no end in sight. This is why we need to take action now - and our beloved hobby is the best place to start. We can act as role models for the ocean's future - and we should. Here's a few easy tips that make you a more mindful and eco-friendly diver. Think globally, act locally!
6 Tips to make your diving more sustainable
Don't interfere with marine life
That's the obvious one. Touching coral or fish creates long-lasting negative effects on marine life and increases your environmental impact of diving. Did you know that many corals only grow by a single centimetre every two to three years? Broken coral branches often need decades to restore and never reach their full health again. Take a camera with you instead to create memories without having to hurt any marine life!
Feeding fish is an equally bad idea because it changes the fish's behaviour. They might stop hunting and thus lose the ability to chase their own prey, leaving them starving. Let them follow their natural instincts. You'll see that watching them feed and live in a natural way is an extraordinary experience!
Make every Dive a "Dive Against Debris"
As an avid diver, you might know that even on the best dive sites, you might spot trash or old fishing lines at some point. It sounds devastating - but unfortunately, it's a fact. Pick up a piece of debris on every dive, put it in your BCD pocket and bring it back to the shore. Small steps create a whole!
Another way to do good would be to actively participate in an official "Dive Against Debris". These events are often organized by local dive clubs or dive centres and might even be combined with a couple of fun dives! It's a great way to minimize the environmental impact of diving while still having fun!
Discover Local Dive Sites
Talking about reducing the environmental impact of diving - did you ever try diving in your home country? Travel is one of the main causes of global warming and increasing pollution levels. By eliminating this factor, your footprint caused by diving could be reduced by a massive amount.
You might not find the world's best dive sites in your neighbourhood - but it's the best way to make diving more sustainable. And who knows: there might be some surprises you wouldn't have expected!
Live the zero-waste life when diving
Are you trying to reduce your waste in your daily life? Don't make an exception on your dive trips! Trash management on a boat and in remote scuba diving destinations isn't always easy. It's a sad fact that in many exotic locations and especially in countries that are hardly developed, trash is becoming a huge issue. Many people burn their garbage, throw it in the woods - or even worse, in the ocean.
Unfortunately, this is especially true for countries like Indonesia. With its incredible marine biota and world-class dive regions like Komodo, the impact is even bigger than elsewhere. It's on us to make a difference here.
So why don't we try to avoid creating waste in the first place? Bring your refillable water bottle along and take a dry bag for your belongings with you. If you can't avoid trash completely, ask the management about their disposal practices. Sometimes it's worth taking your trash with you instead and disposing it at a place you can trust.
Dive with rental gear and save some money too
Overconsumption is a big issue in today's society, and people tend to buy things they don't really need. Scuba diving relies on certain equipment, but this doesn't mean every diver has to buy a full kit of scuba gear.
As long as your dive centre of choice provides high-quality rental gear, there's no need to bring your own. Rental gear is utilized much more frequently and maintained in the correct way. This way, it clearly offsets the emissions caused during the fabrication process. The same thing might not be true for your dusty, old BCD in your basement. Another side effect: travelling is a lot easier without having to carry around a heavy dive bag.
Choose your dive company wisely
Speaking of places you trust, dive companies carry a lot of responsibility. They ensure your safety underwater and on the boat, but should - in theory - make sure no divers damage any marine life too. While many dive shops worldwide are well aware of the challenges our oceans face, some are not. Be picky with your selection and do your research beforehand.
A dive centre's website is a good place to start your research. Check if they carry any certificates and follow standards like Green Fins. Find out if the company is committed to any marine conservation projects or supports organisations doing so. And last but not least, it's always a good idea to read some first-hand reviews on tripadvisor.com or another site. Guests take note if a crew acts in an unecological manner, and they often include this in their reviews.
Go with an eco-friendly dive centre
At OrcaNation, we don't watch the oceans suffer - we take action instead to reduce the environmental impacts of diving. We lead projects in a variety of areas, from coral nurseries to artificial reefs. Our oceans are in need of help, and we approach all of our operations with an educational aspect. We instil a love for the oceans and a sense of urgency to our guests in order to turn the tides. Learn more about our marine conservation efforts and educational programmes!
With locations spanning over Southeast Asia's best regions for diving, OrcaNation is your perfect diving partner. Experience beautiful marine life and learn more about coral reefs on our dive trips! We're an eco-friendly dive centre focusing on making the oceans a better place.
Article by Christian Buergi
To find out more about how to dive more sustainably, contact our Conservation Team and they will be happy to provide you with information.