The world of scuba diving is global. We travel to exotic locations in search of unique marine life, colorful reefs and unique travel experiences.
Planning and embarking on a dive trip is the perfect opportunity to incorporate sustainability into our decision-making and even into our diving lifestyle. At Johnson Outdoors, we believe this is more important than ever and it’s our duty to help build a more sustainable future. A few simple choices can help protect our ocean, build local communities, save money, and come back from your trip knowing you stood behind your beliefs.
Your choices start as soon as you start planning the dive trip.
1) Choose a responsible resort or hotel
The dive tourism industry takes conservation seriously, which helps to make information more readily available. The extent of conservation efforts will be different in each location, but could involve renewable energy like solar panels, responsible management of septic tanks and sewers, reduction of single-use materials like plastic water bottles and l use of local building materials such as bamboo.
2) Make sure your dive operator is community oriented
Go beyond tip #1 by ensuring live-a-board, resort, and/or dive operators are active in their local community. Find out if they hire local staff, support local marine reserves, participate in local committees, and organize beach and dive site cleanup events. Many operators do a great job with this and go above and beyond in terms of helping employees. Some resorts and live-a-boards even offer special dives and events to help with programs such as coral reef restoration.
Each of these efforts is leading to a more sustainable dive travel business model. Your sponsorship rewards these operators and guarantees that they will continue in this way. Plus, you’ll likely have a richer diving experience with employees who are passionate about showing you their corner of our blue planet.
3) Traveling with a group
Dive trips can be taken as a single person or as part of a larger group. Although each type of trip has advantages, it is always best to arrange ground transfers with your friends or other guests.
Not only will you create efficiency in transportation, but you will save money compared to transferring solo or with just two people.
4) Bring a reusable water bottle
You’ve probably heard this before, but be sure to bring a reusable water bottle on your trip. It will come in handy as soon as you go through security at the airport, where you can fill it out to help combat dehydration common with long international flights. Every time you refuel, you use one less plastic cylinder, which is especially important at dive sites where recycling programs are limited or non-existent.
5) Rely on hats, rashes, and Reef Safe sunscreen
Protecting yourself from the sun is essential during diving trips. The best way to do this is to rely on shade from the resort, beach, or dive boat, along with hats, sunglasses, and UPF clothing like rashes. Sunscreen is next in our line of defense. Reef-safe sunscreens are now readily available at dive shops and other retailers. Several dive destinations even ban reef-safe sunscreens with very expensive violation penalties.
6) Use rechargeable batteries
Use rechargeable batteries whenever possible. It’s a great solution for traveling divers, as you only need to carry one set and one charger. They are also much cheaper over time. If your equipment requires disposable batteries and you need to replace them during your trip, be sure to take the batteries home so you can recycle them properly.
7) Don’t touch the reef
Every contact with the reef has the potential to harm corals and other marine life. You’re also exposing yourself to potential harm, like brushing off small stinging hydroids or fire corals. Touching the reef goes beyond your hands. Make sure you don’t have an SPG, console dive computer, or Octopus regulator hanging and trailing on the reef. Your flippers can also damage the reef, so be sure not to kick the coral or create sand clouds while kicking.
Photographers are particularly guilty of these offences, so take special care whenever diving with a camera.
8) Express yourself
Often we see other divers touching the reef or harassing the marine life. We understand that accidents happen, but if you notice a diver continually engaging in behavior that harms the reef or marine life, you can politely report it. If the issue is something like fins kicking up clouds of sand, they may not be aware they are doing this and will likely appreciate feedback.
9) Every dive is a cleaning dive
A simple effort that we can all do is pick up at least one piece of trash per dive. If you are even more motivated, you can take a bag on your dives especially to collect litter. Many divers use the mesh bag with which our SCUBAPRO fins are sold as an underwater bag. In fact, our designers had this in mind when designing the bag.
10) Share the underwater world
Photography is the most common way to share diving experiences with friends and family while raising awareness of the beauty of our ocean. Citizen science is also becoming a popular consideration in dive trips. Divers can participate in ocean science and conservation in many different ways, including coral reef restoration, fish counts and data collection, clean-ups, participation in research expeditions, and local volunteer opportunities. . Adding this element to your plans will not only enrich your dive trip, but your entire experience as a traveling diver.
Many of these principles are found in our daily lives. Johnson Outdoors employees help clean up local recreation areas each year, use reusable water bottles in the office, and continually incorporate sustainable practices into new products. We are all in the same boat. To learn more about how SCUBAPRO and the rest of the Johnson Outdoors family of brands are supporting sustainable activities, visit our new Outdoor Adventure blog.