4 tips on Eco-Friendly Snorkeling
Approach the ocean with humility. The ocean and its ecosystems are heavily stressed from climate change, pollution and cannot afford to experience the additional stressors associated with tourism. Together we can admire, explore and preserve. Here are four tips on becoming an eco-friendly snorkeler:
Look, but don’t touch!
Ocean creatures can mesmerize you with their vibrancy and majestic qualities. It is important to remember to keep a distance and do not touch, feed or chase sea life. When attempting to caress a sea animal, we are compromising their bio-film which protects them from infection. Sea creatures are also sensitive to motion and sounds, we unconsciously trigger a fight or flight response when approaching them. One of two things, the creature may leave and feel too uncomfortable to return to its habitat or it may attack you. All these scenarios can be easily avoided. The most authentic underwater exploration moments happen when the ecosystem and sea life feel safe and unbothered.
Choose your gear wisely.
How can you prepare to avoid touching coral? You need good buoyancy control which means using gear you are familiar with and that is properly fitted. Corals can take hundreds of thousands of years to fully grow. The oil from your skin damages corals’ natural protection system that can infect an entire colony and in the most severe cases completely destroy it. Increased stability means you’ll be able to swim comfortably without flailing your limbs and risking touch. The ocean has a way of reminding us that it is uncomfortable, some species have painful stings and toxicity that can lead to rashes and skin irritation. With the proper gear you can stay cool, calm and collected underwater to avoid destroying thousands of years of irreplaceable growth.
Traditional sunscreen is your enemy.
Do not wear sunscreen when you're in the open ocean! We need to apply the Precautionary Principle with this particular topic. What does that mean? Although there is not enough data to confirm the evidence that suggests sunscreens are damaging to coral zooxanthellae, there is not enough information to discredit the pre-existing evidence. Marine enthusiasts have historically refrained from using most sunscreens which contain chemicals such as oxybenzone.
There are a wide range of eco-friendly sun protection options to choose from. Rash guards, full skin suits and protective clothing are the most environmentally conscious options for UV protection. There are some mineral based and biodegradable sunscreen for areas that cannot be covered with clothing, like your face. Check out our wide range of affordable quality protective gear like rash guards, wetsuits, scuba shoes and more. Bonus, you’ll look and feel like a true sea adventurer!
Collect Ocean Debris.
The amount of trash in the ocean can be overwhelming, statistics show that there will be more garbage than fish by the year 2050. Make a conscious effort to reduce waste by carrying a drawstring mesh bag. It is estimated that 70% of ocean trash is found underwater. If something seems out of place, collect it and dispose of it properly. In return, you are saving sea life from ingesting or becoming entangled in ocean debris. The Aviator Snorkeling Set includes a mesh bag intended for storing your fins but can also serve as your underwater mesh bag. With that in mind, we do not want to take anything as a souvenir or leave anything behind that may disturb the natural balance.
It is a privilege to explore the open ocean, therefore we have the civic responsibility to engage in protecting the environments we explore. These are just a few simple actions we can take in the right direction. Check out our wide range of gear to better assist your underwater exploration. Let’s consciously adventure together!