Every now and then here over at Ocean Scuba Dive we come across inspirational people who make it their mission to help protect our oceans! We are so passionate about the efforts being made around the world to support marine conservation and are proud to feature and share these stories with you.
Taking the spotlight today is Jessica and the team at Hawaii Eco Divers. You may have seen a post from them earlier this year about Scuba diving in Oahu, but here Jessica talks about the importance of Marine conservation, eco-tourism, education, and the importance of scuba diving with an eco-friendly dive school.
Scuba diving with an Eco-Friendly Dive School
Scuba diving with an eco-friendly dive school makes a huge difference! If there is one thing that all scuba divers have in common, it would be our love for the ocean. Life under the sea is miraculous, and so vastly different than we humans normally get to experience. We are grateful to the marine life for sharing their home with us. We are proud of the dive sites that we get to know well and we are defensive when people treat beaches with disrespect. (And we have probably all stopped using plastic straws because we love the turtles!)
All of this considered, it just makes sense to dive with people that are also working to protect the ocean.
Scuba Diving Oahu and Marine Conservation Education
More often than not, education is the difference that creates an activist. For instance, someone that has no idea about coral bleaching may continue to wear non-reef-safe sunscreen. It’s true, the use of some sunscreens are becoming a serious and increasingly clear threat to coral reefs and marine life. That’s why it’s important to use reef-safe sunscreen and help prevent sunscreen pollution.
Meanwhile, we can’t expect everybody, even divers, to know how to best protect the ocean. It is always best to align yourself with people that know what they’re doing. That way, you can learn and follow their lead.
My personal experience is from working in the waters of Oahu. When I first started scuba diving with Hawaii Eco Divers, I had no idea about marine conservation. I was so focused on having a good time and remembering to breathe, I didn’t care what sea life my fins were hitting, or the coral my tank was scraping. But thanks to the company’s marine conservation efforts and training, I have become a conscious and aware diver myself!
Working with an eco-friendly dive school has taught me so much. Most importantly, I have learned about the beautiful marine life in Hawaii, including endemic and endangered species. I have learned their names, their habits, and the best way to interact (or not interact) with them. Scuba diving is a completely different experience when you are at peace with the creatures around you, and the mutual respect is palpable, even in the water.
Beyond Education: Oahu Marine Conservation Efforts
Actions speak louder than words, right? As thankful as I am for the marine life education from my company and those around me, there needs to be more than just talk.
North Shore scuba dive sites on Oahu (where Hawaii Eco Divers is located), are typically pretty clean. They are not littered with trash or lost gear. However, without fail, every piece of trash I have seen underwater has been immediately picked up by a shop employee. Even if this involves pausing the dive, swimming a bit out of the way, and holding garbage on their person for the rest of the dive. This is the marine conservation effort you should expect from an eco-friendly dive shop.
As I spent more and more time with Hawaii Eco Divers, I was happy to find out how they partner with other local companies to participate in beach cleanups, public service, and mass education efforts.
All of this made me feel even more comfortable diving with this group of people. It also connected me to some incredible groups and organizations around the island that share my love for the ocean and desire to protect it.
We should all be stewards of this beautiful earth we’ve been given. Especially as scuba divers, we recognize the desperate need to act consciously and live a sustainable lifestyle. Therefore, I am proud to align myself with a dive shop that adheres to these same values! I advise everyone, as much as possible, to do the same.
What an inspirational post and message about how scuba diving with an eco-friendly dive school can make such a difference to your diving experiences and the impact of such values. At Ocean Scuba Dive we hope to share more stories with dive centers just like Hawaii Eco Divers and ocean ambassadors like Jessica! Keep up the great work!