6 Top Tips to Help Dive Operators Reduce Marine Litter

Marine Debris - Marine Litter - Beach

Guest Post Written By: Melissa Hobson, The Reef-World Foundation

It’s no secret that plastic pollution and marine debris is a huge problem threatening the health of our oceans. That’s why PADI is involved in an industry-wide initiative called Mission 2020, which aims to inspire dive-related businesses and charities to commit to reducing their plastic use.

PADI has pledged to lessen its dependency on packaging to minimise the plastic footprint of hundreds of thousands of divers each year. But what can you do as a dive operator to reduce plastic pollution and marine litter?

Here are a few top tips from the team at The Reef-World Foundation(international co-ordinators of Green Fins) to help you play your part in preserving the oceans you enjoy diving in and for future generations:

1. Organise Underwater Clean-ups
Marine litter is a huge problem but dive operators can lessen its impact not only by refusing single-use items, reducing waste and recycling but also by conducting Dive Against Debris® surveys or even organising underwater clean-up events.

It’s important to avoid damaging the environment in the process of removing any marine debris so make sure your divers maintain good buoyancy, watch their fins, make sure they don’t have any gauges trailing that might touch or damage the reef and don’t touch anything that isn’t trash. Have them work slowly and carefully as a buddy team with one person holding the trash bag and the other wearing gloves and collecting the trash. Divers will need to adjust their buoyancy throughout the dive – remember, as they pick up more rubbish, they are going to get heavier! It’s also a good idea to record data about the trash you collect (Project AWARE’s Dive Against Debris App). You can find a handy guide to organising underwater clean-ups here.

2. Ditch the Masking TapeUsing masking tape to indicate a full tank is a common practice in many dive schools. But have you ever thought about what happens to that tape once it’s been torn off the tank neck? Tape can easily become marine debris by blowing into the ocean. Why not make permanent, reusable caps for your scuba tanks? It’s really simple – all you need is some plastic hosing and good quality rope.

3. Think About LunchesWe all know diving makes you hungry – and there’s nothing like providing some tasty snacks for your guest’s surface interval. But have you ever considered how your quick bite might affect the ocean? Plastic-wrapped sweeties and refreshments served in disposable containers all add to the plastic problem. But it needn’t be that way – clients will appreciate your efforts to preserve the marine environment by serving fresh fruit, coconut pieces and snacks in reusable lunch boxes!

4. Bin It!
As well as reducing your waste, it’s important to make sure any trash that’s created during diving trips is disposed of responsibly. Make sure your dive shops and boats have adequate ashtrays and appropriately sized bins (with lids – the bin is no use if the trash is still swept into the ocean by the wind!) and, wherever possible, separate and recycle your rubbish.

5. Adopt the Green Fins Code of Conduct or Become a MemberGreen Fins is a global initiative, coordinated internationally by The Reef-World Foundation in partnership with the UN Environment, which protects coral reefs by ensuring environmentally friendly diving and snorkelling practices.

Dive and snorkel centres operating in active Green Fins locations can apply for membership by signing the membership form and pledging to follow the 15 environmental practices of the Green Fins Code of Conduct. Active members will then be trained, assessed and certified annually and provided with all the resources they need to reduce their environmental impact. If Green Fins is not available in your area, adopt the Code of Conduct voluntarily.

Individual dive guides can also become Green Fins certified by completing the Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course – whether or not their dive shop is a member.

Divers themselves can choose to book with Green Fins members as well as donating to support the development and implementation of Green Fins’ work to make coral reefs more resilient when faced with greater threats such as climate change.

Mission 2020 Logo

6. Make a Mission 2020 Pledge
Changing your business practices to reduce plastics is not just good for the ocean; divers care about the ocean and look for businesses who are making strides to protect marine life. So, better environmental practices will lead to increased customer loyalty, higher rates of return customers and great online reviews (which, in turn, attract more business). If you run a diver operator and are inspired to help improve the health of our oceans by reducing your plastic consumption, make a pledge to support Mission 2020.

2019 PADI Member Forum – Outbound Chinese Tourism Schedule

Join us at one of our upcoming 2019 PADI Member Forum – Outbound Chinese Tourism events in your region. The event will be delivered in Chinese to cater to all the Chinese speaking members in each region.

The 2019 PADI Member Forums will be conducted by PADI Territory Director, Roger Sun, and PADI Regional Training Consultant, Tinsley Li. During the Member Forum they will share the following topics and information with all PADI Members:

  • PADI Four Pillars of Change – Mission, Commitment, Key point of development.
  • Consumer’s Profile – Industry Health Check & Customer Analysis.
  • Digital Product Update, OLPC Update and IDC Revision.
  • PADI Asia Pacific Outbound Chinese Tourism Team Introduction.
  • Quality Management & Risk Management.
  • Project AWARE.

2019 PADI Member Forum – Outbound Chinese Tourism Schedule

Date Time Location Venue
25th April 19:00 Koh Tao, Thailand Koh Tao Regal Resort
09th May 19:00 Dumaguete, Philippines Pura Vida Resort
11th May 19:00 Bohol, Philippines Linaw Beach Resort
14th May 19:00 Puerto Galera, Philippines La Laguna Beach Club
25th June 19:00 Bali, Indonesia Swiss-bel Resort Sanur

Register now for our PADI Member Forum in Koh Tao, Thailand

Please scan the above QR code to register for our PADI Member Forum – Outbound Chinese Tourism in Koh Tao, Thailand on the 25th April 2019.  

Registration links will be released soon to all the members for our remaining PADI Member Forums. If you have any further questions please contact tinsley.li@padi.com.au or your PADI Regional Manager.

Join PADI at TDEX 2019

Join us at The Thailand Dive Expo (TDEX) from Thursday 16th May to Sunday 19th May 2019 at Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Centre.

TDEX has established itself as an important marketplace for divers, equipment manufacturers, training providers and dive resorts to meet and network. TDEX organisers aim to promote and support the diving industry, promote Thailand as a tourism hub of Asia and to promote dive and adventure destinations both inside and outside Thailand.

Many other PADI Dive Centres & Resorts will be exhibiting alongside PADI at TDEX with promotions and exciting competitions on offer throughout the show. In addition, PADI will be hosting a Member Forum and three presentations at the expo.

Go Pro Presentation
When: Thursday, 16 May
Time: 2pm – 2:45pm
Where: Main Stage

PADI Member Forum
When: Friday, 17 May
Time: 1pm – 2pm
Where: MR 211-212

PADI Freediver Presentation
When: Saturday, 18 May
Time: 12pm – 12:45pm
Where: Main Stage

The PADI Difference Presentation
When: Sunday, 19 May
Time: 12pm – 12:45pm
Where: Main Stage

PADI Dive Shops at TDEX 2019

Dive Centre/ResortBooth
All 4 Diving IndonesiaD033
Ban’s Diving ResortD071
Bangkok FreediversD022
BB DiversD088
Big BubbleD097
Castaway DiversD112
Czone DiversD038
Dive IndeedD083-D085
Dive InfoD023
Dive PotatoD019-D021
Bangkok Dive SupplyS002
Dive TeamG065-G067
Grand KomodoD098
Pattana Scuba ClubD047
Rayong Dive CentreD144
Sainamtalay Dive CenterD174
Scuba JamboreeD048-D050
Scuba ProjectD060-D061
Sea MastermindA007-A009
Sea Safari CruisesD137
Wahoo Diving Center Co, LtdA001-A006
Worldwide Dive & SailD035

If you’re planning on exhibiting at TDEX or any other show or expo this year, please get in touch with your PADI Regional Manager to discuss how PADI can support you with these events.

For more information on TDEX 2019 visit www.thailanddiveexpo.com or contact your PADI Regional Manager.

For other dive shows and events, see our list of 2019 PADI attended dive shows.

Share Your Vision

Scuba Diver - Underwater - School of Fish

It’s estimated that every two minutes, humanity takes more pictures than were taken in all of the 1800s. As of 2018, they say we shoot at least 1 trillion images annually – 2.7 billion daily or 1.9 million every minute, posting about 300 million daily.

As amazing as these numbers are, what I find more amazing is that just as these words found you amid the approximately 9-quadrillion-plus words humanity uses daily, the images you and I take as divers do not get lost amid the trillions of others taken. In fact, they are more visible than in the past.

This is because while image volume is skyrocketing, how we use imagery is expanding. Not that long ago, the average person shared crude (by modern standards) snaps as prints or a slideshow with a few friends, and relived memories now and again by flipping through them. Reaching more than a handful of people with stills or video was almost exclusively the domain of serious enthusiasts and professionals.

Scuba Diver Selfie - Women in Diving - Underwater Selfie

But not anymore. Today we use mobile devices to capture about 90% of images, and imaging has grown into part of everyone’s communication. We all reach thousands-plus on social media. We can post in (or almost in) real time whenever we want, and our images transcend “pictures” because they’re messages sent to people with whom we have personal ties – that’s what gets your images (and words) through the staggering numbers to get seen, and it doesn’t end there. On the receiving end, your friends see them almost immediately and when they’re interesting and/or compelling, they broaden who you reach by reposting to others with whom they have personal ties. So, our imagery reaches more people, and it is more powerful because it is a universal communication that conveys our experiences, visions and perspectives across national borders and language barriers.

This is especially true for us divers. Thanks to its extraordinary ability to emotionally connect with the human experience of going into inner space, photography has always been close to the heart and soul of diving (the first underwater photos actually predate scuba). Today, divers easily snap images with color, sharpness and quality that the pros agonized to get in the 1960s and 70s. Applying these modern technologies to high end cameras and computer post-processing, today’s serious underwater shooters produce stills and video that were unimaginable, unimaginably difficult or even impossible two decades ago.

Crab - Underwater - Coral

All this means that whether you’re passionate about serious imagery, or just snapping casual shots (and we need both), your images have power. They can influence. You can use them to communicate with others about the oceans and underwater world at a time in history when it matters most.

Stills and video of coral, kelp forests and reef-wrecks show that the underwater world is beautiful, worth experiencing and worth saving – we need these, but our messages must be wider. Ugly, but important, shots of dead/broken coral, adrift plastic, a litter-strewn beach or a sea lion drowned in a ghost net remind people that we have some urgent, serious problems that threaten life on Earth. Divers in an AWARE underwater clean up, restoring coral and staging a save-the-sharks outreach show that divers care and are doing something about these problems. Before-during-after dive moments with buddies, video of an Advanced Open Water Diver student triumphantly mastering navigation, and shots of a physically challenged person, an elderly person and a youngster diving together show that diving forges friendships, teaches us about ourselves, and embraces everyone.

PADI Go Pro Evolution Contest - Underwater Contest - Underwater Photography - Shark Diving

It’s often said that “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Whether it’s your mobile device, a mask-mounted GoPro or a pro-quality camera, as a diver your posted images can be worth more than that. The right image may be worth a thousand fewer kilos of plastic contaminating the seas. A thousand more sharks still alive. A thousand more divers shoulder-to-shoulder with us as the seas’ ambassadors and a force for good.

So please, shoot, post and share. The world needs to see what you and I see.

Dr. Drew Richardson
PADI President & CEO