Guide to the Florida Keys & Everglades
By Rick Ferren
How Divers Can Protect the Underwater Environment
These tips are taken from Project AWARE, Aquatic World Awareness and Education,
a corporate environmental program of International PADI, Inc. (Professional
Association of Diving Instructors), the PADI Retail Association, PADI Travel
Network, and PADI International Resort Association.
- Dive carefully in fragile aquatic ecosystems, such as coral reefs. Many
aquatic organisms are fragile creatures that can
be killed by the bump of a tank, knee, or camera, a swipe of a fin, or the
touch of a hand. Some organisms
are very slow-growing and destruction of even a
small piece can cause long-lasting damage to dive sites.
- Be aware of your body and equipment placement when diving. Much environmental
damage is done unknowingly. Keep gauges and alternate
air sources secured so they don't drag over reefs or the sea bottom.
- Keep your diving skills sharp with continuing education.
- Consider your impact on aquatic life through your interactions. Touching,
handling, feeding, even hitching rides on certain
aquatic creatures may cause stress to the animal, interrupt feeding and mating,
and introduce food not
healthy to the species, and can even provoke aggressive
behavior in normally unaggressive species.
Published (print): 1999, Published (Web): January 2003,