Helpful Tips for Zero Impact Diving and Snorkeling
Be comfortable in the water
Only snorkel or dive in water conditions (depth, visibility, surface conditions, etc.) which you are comfortable and confident in. Ensure that your equipment is fitted and secured appropriately so that you move efficiently and easily in the water and don’t make unintentional contact with the reef.
Be mindful of your buoyancy
Make sure you are properly weighted and If you are unsure of your control over your positioning in the water, give plenty of space between yourself and the reef.
Maintain a “no-touch” policy
Contact with sensitive surfaces on corals and sponges can damage them (even if no visible impact is seen immediately), leading to stress, infection, illness, and mortality. Some reef creatures sting and scratch, as well. Even the sand and rubble patches are teeming with life, so try to keep contact to a minimum.
Dive and snorkel calmly, without chasing or harassing marine life
Rapid movements can scare off many fish, but many are curious and will stay or even come closer if you are still, slow-moving, or approach at an oblique angle. Reefs are home to an abundance of life that you can see more of if you take your time.
Lend a helping hand
If you see garbage or old fishing line that you can remove, do so. There are also often reef surveys and research or conservation projects which you can contribute to while enjoying a recreational dive or snorkel by simply taking and sharing photos.
Care for your skin and the reef
Many sunscreens contain chemicals which are toxic to corals. Look into reef-friendly sunscreens and wearing clothing such as hats and long-sleeved shirts to protect from the sun.
Have an inquiring mind
As you observe the reef, you’ll see beautiful creatures and complex interactions that you’ll surely want to know more about. Speak to other divers and snorkelers, consult fish books, and look online to understand more of what’s going on. Getting to know the underwater world on a deeper level will only enhance your experience.
Be willing to speak up
If you see that others around you are intentionally or unintentionally having an impact on the reef, don’t stay silent. Sharing information that you have about how and why to be a good steward of the reef in a friendly manner will help us all to do better.
Make a choice with your wallet
You can make a difference with the choices you make in terms of dive centres and tour operators. By patronising businesses that are proponents of conservation, you are demonstrating your values as well. You can also make many choices in your everyday life to reduce your impact on the environment.