As divers we see a part of the world that many other people haven’t experienced yet, and many may never experience. We become “one” with the aquatic environment each time we walk in from shore, giant stride or back roll off a boat. Jacques Cousteau said it best, “The Sea, once it casts it spell, holds on in its net of wonder forever.” This connection makes us all feel responsible for protecting, in some way, the creatures that lie beneath the surface and keeping their home safe. This responsibility may be reflected on each individual differently…on a large or small scale. We have all felt it.
For many of us diving is a lifestyle, some do it part time and for others it is something they only do travelling. We discover different beaches (near and far), swim in new oceans and explore dive sites with hopes of finding creatures we couldn’t even make up in our own mind (have you heard of the Dumbo Octopus, a Grunt Sculpin or a Peacock Mantis Shrimp?). Each dive site is new, exciting and different. These different experiences are what shape us as divers. It creates our dislikes, our likes, and what we want to accomplish each time we dive moving forward. This is all exciting for us, until we find our selves spotting garbage, plastic, old fishing nets, and straws. This is the ocean’s reality. Sometimes we see it and other times we don’t… and when we don’t it is easy to forget.
One of the most amazing things that the ocean has is a group full of advocates who adventure and thrive in their depths. These advocates flourish with the abundance of sea life and healthy corals. These advocates are all of us; surfers, snorkelers, free divers and scuba divers. There are so many reasons that a healthy ocean is important for the human race, but it’s also important for us to continue explore and witness amazing sea life. We have this special connection that makes us want to make changes and encourage the practice of anything and everything that can help save it.
We’re at a point in time where action is critical and people are beginning to realize this. As divers we want to be in the water whenever we can, and we sure as heck love to continue our education and if this gains us a new certification it is a cherry on top.
However, divers choose their continuing education and their specialties based on their goals and what interests them. They become Deep Divers, Night Divers, Wreck Divers (I mean… I became a Wreck Diver to find toilets underwater), and the list goes on. Many divers don’t realize that PADI offers specialties that are implemented to help protect the ocean by educating. They offer a variety of courses that can interest any and all divers. The best way to become any kind of advocate is to form a passion and get further educated on it. If you’ve read this far, chances are you already have a passion for the ocean…now why not get some extra education.
Some people know that PADI works with a non-profit that started out as an ethical campaign in 1989 called Project AWARE (Aquatic World Awareness, Responsibility and Education). Their goal is to form a connection between Ocean Adventurers, like yourselves, and conservation.
What better way to celebrate Earth Day (a day late), then to commit to a new specialty that not only interests you but also is in the interest of the ocean. A Peak Performance Buoyancy Specialty course is an amazing addition to any diver’s certification level. Instructors stress the importance of proper buoyancy since day one. The better a diver’s buoyancy the less contact that diver makes with fragile coral, aquatic life and plants while diving. Perfecting buoyancy is not only good for your own diving but it also helps divers come into less contact with fragile aquatic life. It’s truly a win-win.
What about Project AWARE courses? There are a few Project AWARE courses divers and non-divers can take. The Project AWARE Specialty and Coral Reef Conservation are perfect for both divers and non-divers that want to know how to protect our oceans and do their part. As well, Shark Conservation, Dive Against Debris and Project AWARE Fish Identification are popular among certified divers.
Can’t wait to get started and step into a new way of diving? We’ll be running our first Fish ID virtual theory session at the beginning of May. The theory is open to divers and non-divers, it is not a certification but a way to broaden your knowledge with information on Project AWARE, vertebrates/invertebrates of the PNW and how to take fish surveys. If you’re a diver and want to get that Project AWARE Fish ID cert, just add two dives once we’re allowed, and you’ll be certified!
There is so much value within this one course alone. By understanding more about the aquatic life around British Columbia you’ll be able to not only identify it better but also you’ll know where and when to dive to see more of your favourite creatures! You’ll also learn about a technique for doing fish surveys – yes, you will learn how to take fish surveys to put into a real database that is used for research! Let’s get learning and diving to help protect the place we love.
Not Ready to Take the Next Dive?
Here are a few quick tips on small changes that everyone can take part in.
Purchase a Reusable Water Bottle and Coffee Travel Mug
Even if you only buy one plastic water bottle a day, that’s still 300 a year!! Be conscious of the brands you are buying from, see if there are any brands that are more eco-friendly than others and change over to them where you can
Avoid Single-Use Plastics
When shopping, try to avoid purchasing items in plastic where possible, and if you can’t remember to recycle! Lastly, everyone loves online shopping, before placing your order see if there is an option for plastic free shipping – this will allow your order to come without any unnecessary plastic. Personally, the Diving Locker reuses all bubble wrap and boxes we receive – if you notice there’s plastic wrapping just remember we are recycling it.