Top 3 Ways to SCUBA Dive Responsibly

diver okSCUBA divers enjoy a privilege that few others have experienced. Divers have real-life access to an enchanting underwater world that the majority of people can only experience through second-hand accounts or imagine from pictures. As such, they have a responsibility to do their part in preserving the world’s oceans. As SCUBA divers come in direct contact with marine life, responsible diving is an important aspect of an overall effort to protect marine life and their underwater habitats.

Obviously, divers do not want to harm the beautiful oceans they are so fond of exploring. However, some beautiful dive spots have been ruined by irresponsible divers over the years. To avoid this, here are three of the best ways to SCUBA dive responsibly and protect the oceans while enjoying their boundless beauty.

Dive with caution. Employing proper diving techniques will ensure that a diver’s movements will not harm aquatic life. Divers should keep themselves properly weighted and neutrally buoyant while swimming horizontally in an effort to avoid bumping into underwater organisms. Responsible SCUBA divers glide cautiously through the water in order to avoid disturbing aquatic creatures and the environment they depend upon for survival.

Don’t interfere with marine life. This means following key diving practices, such as not attempting to ride manatees, manta rays, sea turtles, or any other marine creatures. Also, divers should not try to catch aquatic life or spearfish unless they are aware of the local laws, which are in place to maintain the survival of various marine species and promote a healthy marine environment. SCUBA divers should also observe responsible feeding practices by only feeding creatures food that they brought with them.

diver harassing dolphinLook, but don’t touch. By following this one simple rule, divers can ensure they have the smallest possible impact on the underwater dive sites they enjoy. Merely observing marine life can be an extremely rewarding experience, but some divers feel compelled to reach out and touch a coral reef or an eel, which may damage the reef or be a terrifying experience for the creature. In some situations, touching can also be dangerous for divers. So, it is best to leave the handling of marine life to divers experienced in doing so.

Images via christophercjensen, gulfnews.com

 


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Comments

  1. Take only pictures, leave only bubbles people!

  2. Take only pictures, leave only bubbles people!

  3. Shame, shame, shame, shame!!!!!! Take pictures, leave bubbles. AND…as Mike Ball says…”Peace on the reef”

  4. Shame, shame, shame, shame!!!!!! Take pictures, leave bubbles. AND…as Mike Ball says…”Peace on the reef”

  5. This is definitely no wild dolphin. Probably a dolphin dive like those I’ve seen in Roatan, Honduras. I definitely agree with you though. It’s sad these animals are trained and used in such fashion, however at least the dolphin dives are in open water and not as bad as the incarceration animals at SeaWorld suffer.

  6. This is definitely no wild dolphin. Probably a dolphin dive like those I’ve seen in Roatan, Honduras. I definitely agree with you though. It’s sad these animals are trained and used in such fashion, however at least the dolphin dives are in open water and not as bad as the incarceration animals at SeaWorld suffer.

  7. Leave the animals alone! They don’t exist to entertain you !

  8. Leave the animals alone! They don’t exist to entertain you !

    • Coming from a diver, who pays to go see, and be entertained, by them.

    • Yes, a diver who visits their world with respect and as an advocate for conservation. Leave the animals alone!

    • I am also a diver, who acts with respect when in the water or anytime in nature. I also hunt, fish, and spearfish. This does not mean I do not respect their world. I am also an advocate for conservation, and based on your attitude, I would assume more knowledgeable and active about many environmental issues than you. Parroting “leave the animals alone” is not conservation. As a hunter and an angler, I have seen some incredible and sometimes unbelievable displays from animals in their native world, much more than proponents of this “stay away and don’t touch” crowd. I could understand if there was some negative effect to interacting with wildlife, but there is not.

    • I certainly don’t see you as a conservationist based on what you have said. “Leave the animals alone” is all I could expect anyone who would think it’s okay to grab dolphins, turtles, etc to understand.

    • I certainly don’t see you as a conservationist based on what you have said. “Leave the animals alone” is all I could expect anyone who would think it’s okay to grab dolphins, turtles, etc to understand.

    • There is no negative effect to interacting with wildlife? I’d wager the animlas you hunt would disagree. Rudy the idiot.

    • Ma’am I am the very definition of a conservationist and I suggest you get your terms straight before you ramble any further. You are clearly not a conservationist, for if you were, you would believe in the allowance of human interaction in nature (including hunting and fishing) as long as it remains within sustainable limits. The declarations you have made are from a Preservationist viewpoint, that is, you believe people should stay out of/away from nature altogether, allowing no interaction or consumption of resources. Your dive activities already counter that though, so really you are just a hypocrite. I already know what your perception is of me; just a hillbilly that goes out and rapes the land to satisfy a blood-lust. I will tell you right now if you could look at all the money and time and effort I have spent over the years in everything from habitat restoration to fundraising to shark tagging you would not be so quick to open your mouth. I guarantee this hunter has done more for the environment than you ever will.

    • Yeah I suppose those critters don’t like being shot. Fair statement. But I hope to God you are a vegetarian before you take that point any further.

    • Just a hillbilly…? Thanks, couldn’t have said it better myself. Unless I were to say drunken hillbilly who rapes the land and that whole bloodlust thing. You are an idiot with delusions of grandeur.

    • Just a hillbilly…? Thanks, couldn’t have said it better myself. Unless I were to say drunken hillbilly who rapes the land and that whole bloodlust thing. You are an idiot with delusions of grandeur.

    • Wow, you took the insult that I completely disproved and tacked on “drunken” in front of it. Good job, you’re winning! Take a good look at who the disillusioned one is.

    • My comments are not about “winning” with the likes of you.

  9. I fail to see how the well being of this dolphin is being at all compromised by this diver. You honestly believe that a wild dolphin could be held bare-handed by a diver against its will? If it didn’t want to be there, it wouldn’t be. Common sense please people. If you truly adhered to this don’t touch/interact/impact then perhaps you should stop running out to reefs in diesel chugging boats and chase fish off trying to photograph them.

  10. There is no reason for a diver to catch a ride on a dolphin or a turtle or a whale shark. All those that do are flat out idiots

    • that’s like saying all those who ride horses are idiots. Everyone dreams of connecting to a wonderous creature. They are incredibly intelligent and have found ways to communicate with us. I agree, as a diver, there are certain things to refrain from, and to protect wildlife. however i have dreamed of sharing a moment with such animals. If the creature doesn’t want me to touch, I will find out.

    • So many insults, absolutely no reasoning.

    • Agreed, Daniel. Apparently we have some here.

    • Agreed, Daniel. Apparently we have some here.

    • Jason clearly doesn’t know how family units are split and killed for his moment. Get a clue. http://www.thecovemovie.com/

    • What does slaughtering dolphins have to do with touching them? Please, present a relevant argument, or at least an intelligent one. Are you really suggesting that since we do not see fault with interacting or touching dolphins that we are advocating their slaughter?

    • 1. Horses have been bred and domesticated to work with humans. Some dolphins have as well but only a moron would go and try to ride a wild horse. 2. Most of the dolphins that are trained to interact with divers in “dolphin experiences” are captured in terribly inhumane slaughters. My opinion, of course, which is why I choose not to participate in these “encounters.” Why am I the only one who seems to be reasonable for my side. :)

  11. I’m surprised by the amount of ignorance coming from what I assume are divers on this subject. You most certainly can harm large marine mammals by riding on them. It stresses the animal which causes it to consume more O2 which can lead to drowning. Sitting still and letting them come to you on their terms will lead to a much more meaningful interaction.

    • You are joking, correct? That dolphin is not going to stress and die because someone is along for a ride on it. Animals don’t just die from human interaction. If you have ever observed dolphins hunting or playing you would see that they would exert themselves much more in those situations than this casual swim with the diver in tow. As far as letting them come to you… do you suppose the diver in this pic just swam down a free-swimming dolphin, or the dolphin came to him, and obviously had no issue with the interaction? Animals aren’t just fragile touch-and-die organisms. A dolphin is an insanely powerful and smart animal. It would most certainly be able to leave if it didn’t want to interact with the divers. Same thing with the common example of manatees. I have seen manatees come up to rub themselves on kayaks and even roll over like a puppy for a belly rub; and they thoroughly enjoyed the experience. But technically that is illegal because of all the “harassment” laws on the books written be eco-terrorists that have no concept or knowledge of nature; only what they observe and hear about. There is nothing wrong with interacting with nature. Harming and interacting are not mutually inclusive.

    • You are joking, right?

    • You are joking, right?

    • ^Great argument. Really shot me down there.

    • No really, I have to think you just punking us.

    • No really, I have to think you just punking us.

    • I am not, I wish this conversation had not taken such a nasty turn, but I am not joking. I feel I am right and making a valid argument.

    • Rudy, I think the photo was just for context. I’m sure it’s a staged shot with a trained dolphin. But the spirit behind the article and PADI’s Code of Conduct is not to interfere with marine life. Interacting is OK, it’s interfering that is not.

    • Keep in mind Rudy, the rude comments started with you, buckeroo.

  12. Ahh wish it was possiable to lose a licence for something like this.. maybe some would finally learn..

  13. Ahh wish it was possiable to lose a licence for something like this.. maybe some would finally learn..

  14. What typical stupid human barbarism. “Because I have opposable thumbs, I’m superior.” It’s never okay. Leave them alone! Unless, of course, that money that Rudy “pays” is going to the dolphin to help him support his family…..

  15. What typical stupid human barbarism. “Because I have opposable thumbs, I’m superior.” It’s never okay. Leave them alone! Unless, of course, that money that Rudy “pays” is going to the dolphin to help him support his family…..

  16. so the next time a stingray comes to me for a little rub, I will just turn my head and swim the other way….NOT…

    • They dont come to you for a little rub they come to you because theyre conditioned ot you feeding them. get a clue.

    • The perfect example, Alex, is Stingray City at Grand Cayman. Every day about a hundred dive and snorkel boats go to the same area to feed the rays. The animals come running like hungry puppies. They are no longer “wild” animals. They are conditioned to be beggers, no longer needing to hunt for their own food.

    • Eels are also fed there, and other places, with far more horrific results. These animals have poor vision and big, nasty, backward leaning, flesh ripping teeth. There are many “attacks” on people, as the eels bite the ignorant feeder instead of the food. Operators who think they will thrill their customers by handing 5′ green morays have had serious injuries.

    • There is a video for sale on Key Largo with a local captain putting a hot dog in his mouth. The eel is all over him and takes the hot dog. I wonder if the man still has his nose.

    • so, it’s impossible for any sea creature to swim over to me unless they are looking for food? I’ve had Dolphins, Cuttle Fish, sharks, and stingrays swim up to me in areas where they are NOT being fed. Maybe they are curious, and are seeking contact with us too. You don’t give the animals enough credit…

    • No, they also come to you to push you away from their eggs and stuff like that.

    • Dolphins are trying to push him away from their eggs?

    • Sorry, didn’t realize we were only talking about just dolphins right there. So edit that comment to say dolphins pushing you away from their young.

  17. It’s a shame observation isn’t enough for so many. Hopefully I never share a liveaboard with you.

  18. I misread Rudy’s second statement. Didn’t realize it was a response. So, in response to that, I don’t pay to be entertained by them. As a diver, I pay for the privilege of being awed and humbled by them in their environment.

    • And touching, connecting, and interacting with them is even more of a humbling and awe-inspiring experience. No matter how you word it though, it is still a form of entertainment. Just much more meaningful than what one commonly associates with “entertainment”.

    • Apparently you find entertainment in hunting and killing, Rudy. You aren’t a person I ever hope to meet on a dive boat.

    • Apparently you find entertainment in hunting and killing, Rudy. You aren’t a person I ever hope to meet on a dive boat.

    • Rudy if you want to touch connect and interact do it at the source for your form of entertainment http://www.thecovemovie.com/

    • When did I once say I supported killing dolphins? You sir are a fool. I said that I see no problem with interacting with dolphins and now you tell me that is wrong and I should kill them instead? You are a sick individual. (Or maybe it’s just your lack of reasoning and argumentative skills shining through).

    • To Anne, yes I do find entertainment in hunting. Not in killing; I do not hunt to kill, I kill to have hunted. My lifetime spent in the woods has given me a better understanding and belonging in nature than you can ever dream of achieving. But keep eating your supermarket meats that someone else slaughtered for you and pretend to have a “connection with nature”. You know nothing of the sort, and for that, I feel terribly for you.

    • I have no desire to debate my “connection with nature” vs yours. Except to say yours seems to involve cruel and inapprpriate actions that disgust me.

    • I have no desire to debate my “connection with nature” vs yours. Except to say yours seems to involve cruel and inapprpriate actions that disgust me.

    • *Sigh* All you have done is insult me without reasoning. Hunting is inappropriate? I fail to see how you drew that conclusion. All wildlife hunts, something must die so that something else may live. I choose to become more involved in that cycle than you, it is in our evolution and our instinct. Are you a vegetarian? If not, it would do you good to go out for once and see exactly where your meat comes from as there seems to be a massive disconnect there in your mind. Nature is not rosy and cuddly, and your inability to accept hunting as natural and necessary shows what I mentioned earlier, about a lack of understanding and true connection to nature. I absolutely love and respect every living thing, none more so than what I hunt. As I said before, I have given back plenty to ensure the future well being of all the game populations I pursue.

    • You kill for fun, not to survive. You “love” and “respect” them so much I want to puke. That’s not “nature”. That is a sadistic SOB stalking & murdering helpless animals in their own environment so he can feel like a big man. Big brave hunter. I am not a vegetarian. I know where those little wrapped packets in the supermarket come from. Those cows, pigs and chickens are livestock, not wildlife. Unfortunately for them, they exist solely to go to the dinner table.

    • An animal is an animal, whether you kill it in the wild where it had a better natural lifespan, or whether it was stuck in a cage since birth, injected with hormones, feed food it doesn’t naturally eat, and killed 14 weeks later. I would much rather spear a grouper or hogfish in the ocean than eat “farm raised talapia” or a chicken that lived in a 1×1 foot cage. Anne Zee your arguments are weak, and you are crazy!

    • You are certifiably insane Anne. You have a warped sense of the value of life and your place in the food chain. You no nothing of hunting; bravery and sadism? Really? You honestly think that’s what it is about? Get a clue, and get a life. You have a warped and illogical mind. And if you think we go out and “murder” “helpless” animals, then you have obviously never tried to hunt and you should not make asinine assumptions about what it truly is. I am a much more environmentally conscious than you ever will be. I hunt because I enjoy it and because the meat could not be healthier or more ethical. But somehow you feel that buying what are essentially tortured and mass-butchered animals, in a captive, crowded environment makes you somehow morally superior to me, who lets animals live out a natural life in the wild, and gives them a fair chance at survival. This is the problem with society today. No reasoning skills and a complete detachment from nature. You see it as some sort of exhibit for viewing only; any true involvement or interaction is completely foreign to you, going back to my statement about you not knowing what it means to have a true connection to the natural world.

    • Yes. Yes, I am entirely insane for trying to talk with people who think harassing and killing animals for their own perverse pleasure is a good thing. I thought before how some of your statements reminded me of some other rationalization I’d heard. What was it? Oh, yes, pedophiles go on about how much they “love” their little friends, about their “special connections”, about their “wonderful time together” and how the children “aren’t hurt”. Funny parallels. Funny insane me thinking about how people can rationalize their sick behaviors.

  19. He probably takes his family to sea world every year.

  20. He probably takes his family to sea world every year.

    • Never been to sea world, no interest in going. I hate to see animals like this pinned up. Interacting in the wild is completely different. But that likely doesn’t matter to you; you probably just saw Blackfish and were eager to make a semi-relevant insult to me.

    • Your ignorance justs shines through. Keep talking, Rudy.

    • Your ignorance justs shines through. Keep talking, Rudy.

    • Now you are just trolling. Every post by you is just an insult to me without any reasoning why you think I’m wrong. The lack of a coordinated argument is not a good way to prove a point. Everytime I have a conversation with an anti-hunter, animal rights activist, etc. the debate always ends up with me presenting valid facts and logic, only to be called names and insulted by an opponent that cannot form anything better to say. There is never a civilized debate. I know you have tuned out everything I have said so far but please, next time, think for yourself. Do not accuse and rant based on blind emotion; find facts or at least logic before making a stand on a certain issue. It is clear blind emotion has guided you in this one.

    • The reason we are conversing on this topic, Rudy, is the attack YOU made on my first post. The troll is you.

    • Every wildlife professional, every wildlife organization, every marine sanctuary, every national park, every marine biologist, every park ranger, etc etc etc in the world, and the State of Hawaii which has huge fines, says the same thing: LEAVE THE ANIMALS ALONE. Do not touch them. Do not play with them. Do not harass them. Do not chase them. Do not feed them. Do not annoy them. Do not ride them. The reasons are numerous.

    • In addition to those reasons already mentioned in this thread, a major reason would be because the animals can hurt your own dumb ass! And whose fault would that be? Oh, the evil creature attacked without provocation! We must find it and kill it before it hurts another innocent human!!! Just like after every shark bite incident, all kinds of boats go out and lots of sharks are killed for no reason, except they are sharks in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    • So I’m going to stick with what the legions of conservation experts say and LEAVE THE ANIMALS ALONE. I am going to ignore you, Mr Duck Dynasty know-it-all, with your oh so logical reason that “it doesn’t hurt them”.

    • http://youtu.be/BVGO5D3yu-4 Here’s some bozos like you interacting with a turtle. Go turtle!

    • You fit right in with these guys, Rudy. Morons!

    • Duck Dynasty is one of the most fake shows ever made, do not lump we with that crowd. I handle animals safely and intelligently, in a way that harms neither myself or the animal, unless I have hunted it. You can;t understand that though from behind the fence you have set up between yourself and the natural world. Just because you know you aren’t competent enough to be at home in nature doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of us who are. I’m a “know it all” for thinking touching animals doesn’t necessarily hurt them? That requires no knowledge, just common sense. Don’t get to close or, god forbid, pet your cat, it might die! Holding it? Obvious death sentence; it’s muscles will build up lactic acid and it will perish. All the “experts” say so. I’m willing to bet these “experts” you have in mind are the same ones that go out and catch, trap, collect, tag, track, and take samples from the same wildlife you advocate not touching. Hell, you attacked me for daring to tag sharks for research for god’s sake.

    • Interesting you don’t see a difference between domesticated pets and wild animals in their native habitat. Please don’t come anywhere near my house, as you would discover just how insane I am after you shoot my dog.

    • I never mentioned anything about PROFESSIONALS doing real research and conservation efforts. Somehow, I don’t think the picture at the top of this thread nor the 2 links I posted have anything to do with professional research.

    • Plus, I do know about the Apex Predator project. And while they may gather some useful data, keep in mind that any fool can send off the tags. Any completely untrained fool can quite badly injure the sharks and misidentify the sharks. And any fisherman standing oh so proudly beside the once majestic now dead fish he’s so bravely pulled from the sea gets to cash in, just like getting 3 numbers on Fantasy 5. Woo hoo! I killed a great shark and get to buy me a 6 pack! So don’t go thinking you’re some kind of scientist doing great work. Your overblown self importance clouding your mind again.

  21. I think the bottom line is that the highly ignorant comments are obviously coming from non-divers. That’s not to say they’re not certified. One can possess a C-card and still not truly be a diver. Big difference.

    • I would not ASSume so. Just because I am dressed in camo and not in the water in my profile pic does not make me some dumb hick. While I do not profess to be an expert by any means, I do hold my Advanced open water card from SSI with my sertification in wreck, deep, navigation, and search and recovery diving. I have plenty of logged dives in both fresh and salt, night time and day.

    • Woooo. I’m very impressed by your “sertifications”.

    • Woooo. I’m very impressed by your “sertifications”.

    • Yes, I made a grammatical error. I apologize. I have no desire to impress you, and you may very well hold more logged dives and training than me. My point was that I am not a “non-diver” as I was accused of being. Get down off your high horse and have a real conversation.

    • I will stay on my high horse. I will look down on you for your attitude always.

    • Your attitude sums up yourself and all the pathetic beings like you perfectly. Have fun in fantasy land, and please stop trying to influence my way of life here in the real world.

    • Yes, I am truly pathetic for thinking animals should be left alone in the wild and not frightened, endangered and killed by freaks like you getting their jollies.

  22. Rudy, simply touching the animals changes their behavior. The best bet is to passively observe. There are a few occasions when it is acceptable to physically interact with them. I’ve come across octopus the has approached me and climbed up my arm. But when they want to leave inlet the do what they want. I’ve seen divers yank octopus and eels out of holes just so they can better pictures. That is what the article is trying to emphasize.

  23. Rudy, simply touching the animals changes their behavior. The best bet is to passively observe. There are a few occasions when it is acceptable to physically interact with them. I’ve come across octopus the has approached me and climbed up my arm. But when they want to leave inlet the do what they want. I’ve seen divers yank octopus and eels out of holes just so they can better pictures. That is what the article is trying to emphasize.

  24. BTW, Rudy, your comment about “working your fingers lightly underneath” just sounds so wrong. :)

  25. BTW, Rudy, your comment about “working your fingers lightly underneath” just sounds so wrong. :)

  26. In all of my travels, on all of my dives, over all of these years, I have met only 1 guy I won’t dive with. He was a loud mouth know-it-all airhead. You have to rely on a buddy’s judgment. Now I believe

  27. In all of my travels, on all of my dives, over all of these years, I have met only 1 guy I won’t dive with. He was a loud mouth know-it-all airhead. You have to rely on a buddy’s judgment. Now I believe

    • I would not hesitate for a second to put my life on the line to save yours if we were ever diving together. Our disagreement has no bearing on my ability or willingness to help and watch out for you. It is sad you would assume that about me. And I guarantee neither of us would be talking the same way if we were face-to-face on a dive boat. In fact, you might even listen to what I have to say.

    • I have no worries at all about being rescued. I don’t do stupid things underwater. I would not dive with you because I don’t dive with people that exhibit poor judgment about diving. If you were messin’ with the animals, got yourself hurt, started chummin’ the water, well, I’d have to rescue you. And I’d rather not have to do that. If we were talking face to face and you started on with what you’ve been saying here, I’d say, “Have a nice day” and take off.

  28. (Damn ipad) Now I believe I’ve met another…

  29. (Damn ipad) Now I believe I’ve met another…

  30. O boy – your going to wake Rudy. This thread may live on forever. ;)

  31. Thank you for the thought provoking article, Leisure Pro. My contribution has come to an end. Fair winds and following seas.

  32. How would you feel if someone jumped on your back and wanted “a ride”?

  33. This is absolute animal abuse. I completely agree with Anne. I also think these people have no regard for animals in general and to think they consider themselves humane is another story. And yes don’t even entertain the thought of coming near my house and messing with my animals. The only thing good that would come of it would be a snack for my dogs.

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