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Scuba Diving Holidays

Diving is a global activity, with divers travelling all over the world to swim in the best locations, particularly the coral reefs of the Great Barrier Reef and the Maldives. Sadly many dive sites are under significant threat -rising sea temperatures from global warming, pollution, destruction fishing practices have all taken their toll and there is now serious damage to nearly a quarter of the world's reefs.

There is great awareness of environmental issues amongst divers -try a search for the term 'Eco Dive' and see how many Dive Centres come up. It is a shame then that many do not even publish an Environmental Policy -if you ask to see, and even challenge the policy, it is one way of raising awareness of key environmental issues. There is a good list of Operators following Eco Operator Guidelines at Project Aware.

Here are a few suggestions on ways to make your diving more sustainable, and hopefully more rewarding and enjoyable too:

  • Record what you see and log it with Earthdive -a global research project in association with the United Nations Environment Programme for recreational scuba divers to log sightings of key indicator species.
  • Utilise your diving skills by volunteering for marine conservation and clean-up projects. The Padi Project Aware Foundation is a good starting place to find out more.
  • Don't damage marine habitats, especially slow growing coral, which you should avoid touching at all costs. Practice neutral buoyancy so that you can keep a safe distance from reefs, and choose entry and exit points with care. Be careful not to disturb sediment when kicking out with fins. Above all do not take home pieces of the living reef or shells as a souvenir (and neither should you buy souvenirs made from living marine organisms).
  • Try not to disturb wildlife -being calm and keeping a reasonable distance will encourage animals to behave normally in your company. Particularly, do not feed animals -it changes behaviour and brings risk of disease; it also encourages them to approach humans, not all of whom have their best interest at heart.
  • It goes without saying that you should never throw rubbish into the sea -it can cause problems if it gets in the food chain, and trap or cause injury to animals. Having said this, what do you do if you find someone else's rubbish? If it has obviously been in the sea a while it is probably best left, as it is most likely now home to a number of organisms.

Finally, before you jet off to the Carribean or the Indian Ocean, a few thoughts on diving in the UK -the waters around Britain are inevitably not as warm, or clear as in the tropics, but nonetheless there are a fantastic number of excellent dive sites around the coast of Britain. There is a huge number of wrecks, and a great diversity of marine environments and animals can be found in the waters around this island.

The biggest threat to tropical coral reefs and other underwater habitats comes from rising sea temperatures as a result of global warming, and it is long distance flights that do the most to cause this, so why not consider taking your next dive holiday in the UK?

World Wildlife Fund

Useful Resources -UK

  • British Sub Aqua Club -the club for sub aqua enthusiasts has been going for over 50 years.
  • The Sub-Aqua Association -information, clubs, courses and discussion forums on sea diving.
  • Divenet -online version of the UK magazine.
  • Diving Diseases Research Centre -DDRC is a charity which aims to promote and take part in the medical treatment, training and research associated with the use of hyperbaric oxygen in the treatment of diving diseases and other medical problems.
  • Marine Conservation Society -UK charity dedicated to caring for the seas, shores and wildlife -it campaigns for clean seas and beaches, sustainable fisheries, and protection for marine life.
  • PADI -the way the world learns to dive.
  • Project Aware Foundation -set up by PADI, the Foundation aims to conserve underwater environments through education, advocacy and action. The organisation works with volunteer divers and water enthusiasts involving them in hands-on environmental activities such as International Cleanup Day and The International Whale Shark Project.
  • Rescue the Reef -work by the Nature Conservancy to save coral reefs.
  • Scapa Flow Diving Holidays -based in Stromness -scuba wreck diving holidays in Scapa Flow, Orkney. Dive on the wrecks of the scuttled German High Sea Fleet.
  • Wrecksite -a huge database of wrecks around the British Isles.
  • Maritime and Coastguard Agency -round the clock distress and emergency cover for the waters around Britain.

Useful Resources -worldwide

  • Blue Ventures -award-winning, not-for-profit organisation running expecitions to support marine conservation, education and sustainable development in tropical coastal communities.
  • Cameldive -Red Sea diving holiday hotel and club at Sharm El Sheikh.
  • Coral Cay -use your diving skills by volunteering for marine expeditions in the Pjilipines and Tobago.
  • Divers Alert Network (Europe) -DAN's mission is to operate and maintain an international network of alarm centers, making specialised emergency assistance available to any diver, anywhere in the world.
  • Dive Bermuda -extensive guide to diving in Bermuda -training courses, guides to reefs, beaches and wrecks.
  • Global Vision International -volunteering including marine conservation projects in places like the Seychelles, Costa Rica and Mexico.
  • Eco Dive Bali -located in the remote fishing village of Amed, this centre is owned by two PADI instructors -they offer dive trips to the best sites in Bali and focus upon preserving the natural beauty of Bali.
  • Ocean Realm Expeditions -US company that organise eco adventures for divers in locations around the world -a proportion of all sales goes towards supporting the Ocean Realm Society.
  • Peter Hughes Diving -leading provider of livaboard diving cruises around the world.
  • Steven Frink's Journal -amazing underwater photography from Steven Frink.
  • Wild and Free Dolphin Swims -swim in open water with dolphins in their natural environment while staying at beachside eco lodges on the coast of the Red Sea in Egypt.

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Featured books:

Diving the World (Footprint Activity Guide)
Beth Tierney and Shaun Tierney
April 2006
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Certified Diver's Handbook
McGraw-Hill Education
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