As a diver, it sometimes seems there’s no getting away from plastic. Many components of our kit are plastic-based and essential to the job at hand, but we are also acutely aware of the impact plastic pollution – especially single-use plastic – is having on the marine environment.
According to the Marine Conservation Society, some areas of our ocean contains six times more microplastics than plankton. This is a frightening statistic but together we can turn the tide on the amount of plastic debris reaching our seas.
A DIVER’S GUIDE TO PLASTIC
Here are just a few simple ways as a diver you can help ‘sink’ the problem of single-use plastic….
On dive trips take only essential multi-use plastic (ie, your kit!) on to your RIB, hardboat or shore dive.
When it comes to single-use plastic on dive trips, adopt the ‘DIY, swap or ditch’ approach:
- Take a packed lunch in re-usable or recyclable packaging and swap that on-the-go latte for your own reusable coffee mug or flask.
- Keep hydrated with a reusable water bottle –ask the skipper if they provide water refills and try to avoid disposable plastic water bottles wherever you can. If it’s not possible, check the bottle before you buy to ensure it can be easily recycled…. but do try to re-use it for as long as you can.
- Try to avoid carton drinks and ditch the plastic straw altogether.
Don’t forget the ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ mantra when it comes to your kit.
Every diver’s kit suffers from wear and tear and running repairs and replacements are the norm on any dive trip. Maintaining your equipment, repairing kit and recycling what you can will ensure that you still get your dive while helping to protect the environment.
- Look after your kit to prolong its shelf life. Kit maintenance is an essential part of every diver’s routine but don’t forget to pay attention to the perishable and throwaway parts such as neck and wrist seals, mask straps, fins straps, mouth pieces etc. Rinse them properly with fresh water after each use, keep lubricated (when needed) and dry (when storing) as well as out of direct sunlight and you should get plenty of good use out of them.
- Cable ties, o-rings, broken fin straps and on-board diver plastic waste can find their way into the sea – dispose of responsibly and check the deck before you leave the dive boat for any stragglers that may have been dropped (it doesn’t take much for them to be washed overboard).
- When the time eventually comes to replace, make sure you dispose of unfixable or no longer usable items or kit parts carefully. If you are upgrading and your old kit is still perfectly usable, pass it on – donate to your club or to new members who are looking to get going with their kit.
Working together as a club, pledge to reduce your collective use of single-use plastic, both on trips and socials.
- Simple changes such as switching to reusable water bottles, collectively ditching items such as plastic straws and recycling plastic water bottles and single-use plastics at the end of every dive trip can really add up.
- Add a ‘diving with a purpose’ twist to your dive plans – organise an underwater litterpick on a favourite dive site, plan a dive to retrieve discarded fishing gear from a wreck or encourage all members to ‘marine clean’ on every dive.
- Make the most of your diving ‘down time’ to clean up! Keep a look out on your surface interval and scoop up any surface litter you may see or get the whole club, family and friends active in a topside beach clean.
- For further guidance, check out our BSAC Marine Clean online resources, which includes information on how to organise an underwater litterpick and essential advice on lifting licence requirements and risk assessments.
Away from the water, wherever possible cut down single-use plastic in your everyday.
Just a few simple tweaks and you will be surprised how you can make a positive change.
- Shop local – if you can get your new kit items from your local dive shop, you can also cut down on unnecessary packaging and waste.
- Plastic bags – just say no! Save your 5p every time you reuse one of your own bags and see how much you have at the end of the year.
- Get creative – look for alternatives to packaging, cleaning materials, toiletries etc. For some great ideas on alternatives to single-use plastics, check out the Marine Conservation Society’s easy to use Living without Plastic
- Support marine environment charities by buying their plastic free products – Surfers Against Sewage, Bite-Back and the Marine Conservation Society to name just a few have some great ideas.
Join in the BSAC Marine Clean – collect, capture and upload your Marine Clean 2018 pictures and success stories.
From a photo of the litter you collect, to a pic of your Underwater Litterpick or Beach Clean team in action, share your Marine Clean efforts on Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #bsacmarineclean OR enter your Marine Clean photos using this form www.bsac.com/entermarineclean to show your support and be entered into the prize draw.
If you’re not a BSAC member you can still enter but please use the form so BSAC can contact you if you win.
You’ll be in with a chance of winning an Apeks Regulator worth over £500! The winner will be selected at random after the 30th September 2018. View Marine Clean 2018 entries at www.bsac.com/bsacmarinecleanpictures
BLUE EARTH – Future Frogmen Podcast Series – Deep-Sea Stories From a Shadow Diver: a conversation with Richie Kohler
A series of conservation educational podcasts from Future Frogmen, introduced by Jeff Goodman.
Deep Sea Stories From a Shadow Diver: a conversation with Richie Kohler.
This episode of the Blue Earth Podcast is a conversation with Richie Kohler. He’s an explorer, technical wreck diver, shipwreck historian, filmmaker, and author.
Richie was featured in Robert Kurson’s incredible book “Shadow Divers ”. It’s a thrilling true story about Richie and John Chatterton’s quest to identify the wreck of an unknown WWII German U-boat (submarine), 65 miles off the coast of New Jersey. They dedicated six years of their lives attempting to identify the wreck.
Richie has travelled the world and explored many deep wrecks, including the Andrea Doria, Titanic, and Britannic. He’s the author of “Mystery of The Last Olympian” about the Britannic.
Richard E Hyman Bio
Richard is the Chairman and President of Future Frogmen.
Born from mentoring and love of the ocean, Richard is developing an impactful non-profit organization. His memoir, FROGMEN, details expeditions aboard Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s famed ship Calypso.
Future Frogmen, Inc. is a nonprofit organization and public charity that works to improve ocean health by deepening the connection between people and nature. They foster ocean ambassadors and future leaders to protect the ocean by accomplishing five objectives.
You can find more episodes and information at www.futurefrogmen.org and on most social platforms @futurefrogmen.
New Fisheries Act misses the mark on sustainability, but what now?
The UK’s landmark post-Brexit fisheries legislation has now become law. The Fisheries Act, the first legislation of its kind in nearly 40 years, will shape how the UK’s seas are fished for years to come.
The Marine Conservation Society, which campaigned for amendments to the legislation throughout its development, is disappointed by the removal of key sustainability amendments and by the removal of a commitment to rolling out Remote Electronic Monitoring.
The charity has committed to pushing the UK Government to go further than the framework which the Fisheries Act sets out, with greater ambition for the state of UK seas.
Sandy Luk, Chief Executive of the Marine Conservation Society said: “UK Government and devolved administrations must act urgently to deliver climate and nature smart fisheries under the new Fisheries Act. This is a key condition if our seas are to recover to good health. The UK Government removed key amendments from the legislation while making promises on sustainability and the introduction of remote electronic monitoring. We will continue to hold the government to account over these promises.”
“I’m pleased to see the recognition of the important role fisheries play in our fight against the climate emergency. However, even with a climate change objective in the Act, actions speak louder than words. We must get to work delivering sustainable fisheries management, which will have a huge benefit to our seas, wildlife and the communities which depend upon them.”
The Fisheries Act has become law against a backdrop of the ocean’s declining health. UK waters are currently failing to meet 11 out of 15 indicators of good ocean health and over a third of fish in UK waters are being caught at levels which cannot continue into the future. Whilst the legislation failed to address some of the more pressing issues facing UK seas, including overfishing, there is still an opportunity to affect change in the years which follow.
Sam Stone, Head of Fisheries at the Marine Conservation Society said: “The Fisheries Act marks the start of a new era of fisheries management in the UK, but the next two years will be critical in defining what this looks like. The new Act has some good objectives, but we now need to come together to make sure it really delivers the on-water change that is desperately needed for ocean recovery.
“There is genuine opportunity to create fisheries that deliver for coastal communities and for the environment, but it means moving away from ‘business-as-usual’. The UK and devolved governments now have the powers to move forward with progressive new management in their waters. That means proper incentives for low impact fishing, proper monitoring of catches and proper commitments to sustainable fishing.
“In the short term, the four nations must work together to make impactful changes, starting by addressing the UK’s most at risk fish stocks. Recovery plans are needed for our depleted stocks, including new catch limits, selectivity and avoidance measures, protection of vital habitats and fully documented catches. Rolling out Remote Electronic Monitoring with cameras on larger vessels throughout the UK should be top of the agenda if future policy is to be as well informed as possible.”
For more information about the Fisheries Bill and the Marine Conservation Society’s work, visit the charity’s website.
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Sharks Bay Umbi Diving Village is a Bedouin-owned resort with stunning views and a lovely private beach. It is ideal for divers as everything is onsite including the resort's jetty, dive centre and house reef. The warm hospitality makes for a diving holiday like no other. There is an excellent seafood restaurent and beach bar onsite, and with the enormous diversity of the Sharm El Sheikh dive sites and the surrounding areas of the South Sinai, there really is something for every level of diver to enjoy.More Less
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