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Six ways to make a difference while diving

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By Frederick “Rick” Allen

If you’re a scuba diver, chances are you already care about protecting the ocean. Things like cutting back on single-use plastics and minimizing your carbon footprint are already on your do-gooder to-do list. That’s great for when you’re on land, but did you know it’s possible to make a difference and dive at the same time? Here are six ways you can enjoy scuba diving while giving back to the dive community.

  1. Sign up to monitor or rebuild reefs

Citizen science is gaining momentum. That’s great for the environment. Many organizations rely on volunteers to either collect data or help with restoration efforts.

Groups like the Reef Check Foundation monitor the health of reefs throughout the world. They report their findings to local governments to assist with resource management decisions. For dive volunteers, this means learning to identify certain species while taking notes underwater.

There are also many organizations that take a direct part in restoring damaged habitats. Some of these groups do so by building artificial reefs. Others are involved with coral outplanting. They attach cultivated, healthy corals to reefs that may have suffered from bleaching events or disease.

Whether you prefer gathering data or making things with your hands, these two volunteer options are a great way to get a crash course in marine ecology while protecting underwater habitats.

  1. Become a Scubility Diver Buddy to divers with disabilities

Adaptive scuba diving is becoming more common while word spreads that nearly anyone can dive. Divers with a range of disabilities are discovering the joys of scuba diving. By taking a few extra steps into consideration, Scubility Dive Buddies can share their passion for the underwater world while enriching the lives of others. Get in touch with your local SDI dive shop and ask if they offer any Scubility programs.

  1. Volunteer at your local aquarium

Most people don’t realize this, but many aquariums throughout the world have a dedicated volunteer team. The Kelp Forest Exhibit at the California Science Center is one example. Members perform tasks like cleaning the exhibits, feeding animals and even giving public presentations while underwater.

Exhibit diving is an incredible way to learn more about sea life while working alongside aquarists and biologists. Your interactions with the public can also serve as inspiration for others to start scuba diving. It may even encourage them to pursue a degree in marine science.

If you happen to live in the Los Angeles area and are interested in becoming an exhibit diver, take a look at the volunteer opportunities at the California Science Center here.

  1. Carry a small haul bag while diving

In hiking, there is a common practice to leave trails cleaner than you found them. The same principle can apply to diving. Litter has impacted even the most remote dive sites. An easy way to combat this issue is to store a small mesh bag in your BC pocket. Next time the ever-present plastic bottle floats by on your dive, you can conveniently remove it from the water and recycle it afterward.

  1. Visiting local shops on your next dive trip

This one has more to do with land-based actions, but it still involves a fair amount of diving.

One of the best things about dive travel is getting to experience other cultures. Ask local dive center employees about their favorite things to do around town. You’ll get the inside scoop on authentic places to eat. You may even hear about things to do that aren’t listed in the travel brochure.

Many of the world’s top dive destinations are in areas where the economy has a high dependency on tourism. Go ahead and splurge a little. The local businesses you spend your money at will greatly appreciate it.

  1. Become an SDI Instructor and introduce others to scuba diving

Remember how exciting your Open Water course was? Think of the joy it brought you to breathe underwater for the first time and all of the wonderful things you’ve experienced since then. Diving isn’t just a hobby; it’s a lifestyle. It changes how we see the world and opens the door to new frontiers. What if you could be the one to give that gift to somebody?

Throughout your instructor training, you’ll also hone your own skills and become a better, more dependable diver in the process. What are you waiting for? Visit your local dive center today and talk with someone about the path to becoming an SDI Open Water Scuba Instructor.


To find out more about International Training, visit www.tdisdi.com.

From its humble beginning in 1994 to today, the group of training agencies Scuba Diving International (SDI), Technical Diving International (TDI), and Emergency Response Diving International (ERDI) form one of the largest diving certification agencies in the World – International Training. With 24 Regional Offices servicing more than 100 countries, the company today far exceeds the original vision the founders had when they conceived the idea on a napkin, sitting at a kitchen table in the early 1990’s.

Dive Training Blogs

When is it a good day to dive?

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By Rick Peck

The standard answer is “It’s always a good day to dive.” The real question is: When is it a day we should not dive?

There are several factors that go into a decision for a dive day.

  • Weather
  • Waves
  • Tides (if applicable)
  • Physical condition
  • Mental condition
  • Water visibility

Weather

We would all like to dive in bright sunny conditions. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. It is always a good idea to check the forecast before a dive day. The weather directly before a dive might be bright and sunny, but in some areas, thunderstorms roll in quickly. While it may be an interesting experience to see a lightning storm underwater with the strobe effect, we do have to come up sometime. A 30+ pound lightning rod strapped to your back makes for a very dangerous exit.

Wind is also a concern. Storms that roll in quickly can bring gust fronts that make for dangerous conditions. It could be flat and calm when you enter, and you may ascend after the dive into 5-6 foot chop with a dangerous exit onto the boat. Having a boat drop on your head or getting tangled in the ladder is not fun.

Waves and Tides

Shore diving in a coastal area makes waves a concern. Waves are generated by wind speed, duration and fetch. If there is a storm offshore you could be seeing big waves with very little wind in your area. Linked to the wave action is the tide. At some sites, waves tend to fizzle out at extreme high tide, making for easier entry and exits.

Tides can also affect your dive in an inlet. There is a popular dive site in my area that normally dives from a half-hour before high tide to a half-hour after high tide because of the current generated by the tidal change. The tidal currents can become so strong that an average diver can’t overcome them. The question is: does the tide change match the time you have available to dive? Your local dive shop should have recommendations on where and when is the best time to shore dive. As we learned in our Open Water class, local knowledge is the best.

Physical Condition

Are you healthy enough to dive? Do you have the physical conditioning to safely do the dive you are planning? Pushing your physical limits directly after a cold or allergy attack could lead to an ear injury or worse. If you have been sick, maybe you don’t have the energy reserves to rescue yourself or a buddy if required. The typical “Oh, I’ll be alright” could put not only you but your dive buddy at risk as well. Don’t let your ego write checks that your body can’t fulfill.

Mental Condition

You could compare diving to driving a car. We have all heard of distracted driving. If you are mentally upset or dealing with a great deal of stress, it might be prudent to evaluate whether it’s a good day to dive. Frustration and an urgency to get into the water to “relax” could mean you are skipping items on your buddy checks and self-checks. Unless you have the mental discipline to set these worries aside, it is probably better to dive another day.

Water Visibility

While there is a segment of the diving population that likes to “Muck Dive,” in general we prefer to see what is around us. One type of diving where visibility is important is drift diving. It is a two-fold problem, if you stay shallow enough to avoid obstructions, you can’t see anything. If you go deep enough to see the bottom, depending on the speed of the current, there is a possibility of being driven into a coral head or some other obstruction that you don’t see approaching. It is also much easier to become separated from your buddy. Remember to discuss and set a lost buddy protocol before the dive.

Summary

While it seems like all the stars and moon must align in order to safely dive, it’s really simple. Check the weather, check the tides (If applicable), do a self-assessment, and don’t be reluctant to cancel a dive if the conditions warrant it when you arrive at the dive site. A little planning and forethought will lead to a safe enjoyable dive. Always remember to dive within the limits of your training, conditioning, and skill set.


To find out more about International Training, visit www.tdisdi.com.

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Dive Training Blogs

Jeff chats to… author, avid cave diver and professional adventurer Steve Lewis (Watch Video)

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In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-Large, chats to author, avid cave diver and professional adventurer Steve Lewis about life in general with a bit of diving as well!

Steve Lewis is also Director of Diver Training for RAID.

For more, visit Steve on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/Steve.Lewis.Doppler


Rather listen to a podcast? Listen to the audio HERE on the new Scubaverse podcast channel at Anchor FM.

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Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

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This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

Call 020 3515 9955 or email john@thescubaplace.co.uk

www.thescubaplace.co.uk

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