I am proud to be a part of Crystal Dive, a dive centre that is 100% AWARE! It’s a great achievement and something to be proud of. But what does it actually mean?
Well, Project AWARE is an independent non profit organization formed by PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) to work in partnership with divers and underwater enthusiasts to conserve underwater environments through education, support and action.
Project AWARE, which stands for Aquatic World Awareness Responsibility and Education, has support in over 182 countries and covers activities such as; Dive Against Debris, CoralWatch and the Whale Shark Project. Project AWARE inspires conservation through public awareness and education campaigns.
Crystal Dive, situated on Koh Tao Island, Thailand is 100% AWARE. This means we make a donation to Project AWARE for every student that gets certified with us. We work side by side with Eco Koh Tao, one of South East Asia’s top educators in marine conservation.
Eco Koh Tao
Why is this so important? Well for starters, the Earth’s temperature is regulated by the ocean, and if we continue to ignore the damage done and simply stand by and watch as the oceans are destroyed, so will the earth we live on slowly start to follow.
Through activities like beach clean ups and underwater clean ups, scientists are able to use tabulated debris to determine to determine major pollution sources.
Eco Koh Tao not only hosts a range of these activities, but also leads up coral restoration by creating coral nurseries within artificial dive sites which they also created! These coral nurseries are used to grow and transplant coral to areas that have suffered high levels of coral damage. They also have clam nurseries and other long term scientific research projects.
Simple & Easy
The best part, is that anyone can become a part of these movements! Its as simple as finding out about your local marine environment, the marine life, the conservation and by also getting involved in specific conservation projects!
Another direct and interactive method would be to become part of the diving community! The underwater world is breathtakingly beautiful, more than fun to experience and every PADI diver is given an introduction to Project AWARE and an opportunity to join and support!
Make Yourself AWARE
If you’re a diver looking to be more ‘Eco’ and also doing more towards the marine world, there are several other courses you can take part in!
Reef Check Eco Diver – Learning to conduct surveys for a global monitoring database that scientists around the world have access to.
AWARE Fish Identification – Learning how to identify various species, family groups and good diving habits.
Underwater Naturalist, learning about major aquatic life groupings, interactions, the role of aquatic plants, food chains and predator/prey relationships.
Peak Performance Buoyancy – Improving dive habits, technique and perfecting your underwater buoyancy which will ensure you keep your fins and body far from any helpless coral.
Underwater Navigation – Don’t get lost! Make sure you can always find your precious coral patch/nursery.
Nitrox Enriched Air – Perhaps you feel like you need more time doing Reef Check surveys, stay down longer with blended gas, more Oxygen means more bottom time!
Underwater Photography – Be sure to record your underwater project, watch coral growth or take photos of some new undiscovered marine life!
Eco Internships – Joining the eco team assisting with their projects on a daily basis, measuring coral growth, transplanting, creating artificial reef structures, recording Dive Against Debris data, and so much more.
But remember, there are simple things you can do on every dive to ensure you are doing your bit for the environment!
By simply having good diving habits you can make a difference!
Some tips on being a helping the ocean include the following;
1. Be a Buoyancy Expert, marine life is fragile and smallest of bumps or knocks can destroy decades of growth! Streamline your gear, don’t get too close, keep your dive skills sharp and keep improving your buoyancy with breathing techniques and proper weighting.
2. The very popular saying of “Take only photos, leave only bubbles” is very important! The simple removal of a shell or touching of coral causes unbalance to the marine life in that area and this slowly ripples out and affects everything, as everything natural underwater is used by something else.
3. Protect the underwater world, watch your fins, be environmentally aware of where you are in the water, don’t touch anything and follow local laws and regulations.
4. Don’t wear gloves, this tends to provoke divers in touching things or mistakingly grabbing onto things they shouldn’t.
5. Learn about your local environment, you may be doing something unknowingly or could help educate others.
6. Don’t apply sunscreen right before a dive, ensure you provide enough time for your body to absorb the cream, or else you will just be adding chemicals to the ocean.
7. Be active and help with unwanted debris, carry a mesh bag for any trash you may find on a dive, and a cutting tool in case you come across any nets caught on coral.
8. Be a role model, inspire other divers with your actions and educate them in good diving habits. Be mindful of your actions and thank you for everything you do for the ocean and environment!
Author: Mathew Clark (PADI MSDT #365911)