Easy ways to incorporate ocean protection and sustainability into daily dive shop life
Welcome to the second annual “AWARE Week”, Project AWARE’s initiative spotlighting the critical issue of marine debris to the worldwide dive community.
It’s time to take action for a clean ocean and throughout AWARE week, a significant percentage of pro and recreational dive communities around the world will be doing just that, hosting or participating in beach and underwater clean ups and other ocean protection initiatives and making a difference.
As for what happens for the rest of the year?
Well, that’s up to us.
As dive professionals, the importance of reducing and minimizing our impact on the oceans and the reefs, isn’t “new” news for us.
As dive professionals, we have a unique opportunity – and responsibility – to positively influence the knowledge and behavior of our divers. This includes making and driving change by inspiring our divers to want to protect our oceans, by helping them understand our impact on our ocean, and how they can help to minimize and maximise it.
But it’s astonishing how many recreational divers we meet who are unaware of the issue, its seriousness, their impact – and how easily they can make a positive impact, instantly. No matter how far away they live from the ocean.
To help change that, PADI recently released this Blog post, explaining how and why the decision to dive with an eco-friendly dive destination and dive center really does matter.
A subject very close to our hearts, we’ve built simple ways to do this into daily life at The Dive Bus.
The purpose of this article is to share these across the dive pro community, in the hope that you may find at least one useful / usable idea – and that you’ll share your successes, too.
The Sustainability and Credentials pages are two of the highest viewed on The Dive Bus website. Divers regularly tell us that these were their reasons for choosing to dive with us. The pages include simple actions, decisions and policies which have become “SOP” at The Dive Bus, most of which have been relatively low cost, easy to implement and impactful.
Working closely with Project AWARE, we’ve been keeping The Dive Bus house reef clean for 15 years. In 2017,we proposed and implemented the Curacao Dive Task Force dive center initiative to adopt their house reefs and run monthly clean up dives.
Since then, Curacao Dive Task Force dive centers have removed close to 8,000 kgs / 19,000 lbs of marine debris from dive sites up and down Curacao, with the help of over 1,600 participants. Which may be a reason why Curacao (and The Dive Bus) are through to the final 25 in this year’s Dive Magazine Travel Awards)
“Curacao is an incredible / unique example of the dive community working together to take care of our oceans. We regularly cite the Curacao dive community as the bench-mark /example for other dive centers looking to implement sustainable oceanprotection practices and policies.”
Land clean ups are just as – if not more – important than underwater cleans. Because although the trade winds do their best to keep Curacao’s air temperature tolerable year round, they have a natural tendency to blow top-side trash into the ocean.
During the massive island-wide annual Curacao Clean Up for World Clean Up Day, thousands of volunteers will be clearing away that top-side trash, to ensure that it doesn’t end up in the ocean.
Although clearing trash from our beaches and reefs is important, the better solution is preventing – or at least reducing – the amount and the impact of trash getting there in the first place.
One of the most simple ways we aim to do this is with one of our highest viewed website pages: The Dive Bus Packing Pointers. Sent to our divers a few weeks before leaving home for their Curacao dive vacation, these are tips to minimize their trash impact. Such as what to bring on their Curacao dive vacation, what not to bring and what to take back home for disposal (such as used batteries, so they don’t end up in land fill).
What we love even more is when divers tell us later, how they’ve have changed old habits, implemented refuse, re-use, recycle initiatives at school, work and or home, and are encouraging friends, family and colleagues to do the same.
Bridging these two events, The Dive Bus “Seriously Fun Dive Social Evening” combines pub games with a pub quiz (proving that, while you can take the Brits out of England, you can’t take the England out of the Brits).
With very special guests from Project AWARE joining us, ocean protection is the serious message behind this #seriouslyfun evening at The Dive Bus as well as the Curacao International Dive Festival itself.
Because as divers and as dive pros, it’s our responsibility to be caretakers for our oceans, and make every week AWARE Week.