Let’s be a hero! Okay, let’s be a hero minus the tight-fitting costume.
Most likely you have seen videos circulating on the internet showing how several marine species, entangled with fishing nets or hooks, are saved by brave divers that spotted the troubled animal, or the troubled animal spotted the diver and surprisingly sort of asked for help.
Scuba diver hero!
One of the most remarkable videos is the bottlenose dolphin with a fishing thread entangled in his fin, the astonishing creature approaches a diver who realizes the problem and cuts free the dolphin. There are many other videos of scuba divers liberating whale sharks, humpback whales, and fish like this difficult-to-handle pufferfish.
Looking at these videos we imagine ourselves on the other side of the lens. The little hero-diver inside us wakes up and wants to save one of these beautiful creatures!
But before we all jump into the water looking for something aquatic to save. The fact is that even given the sadly growing number of marine life affected by nets and debris, very rarely scuba divers will be involved in these situations (I know, disappointingly, the vast majority of marine creatures don’t need us untangling them at all).
In fact a diver doesn’t want to encounter a hurt animal, in the cases showed on the video there is a happy ending, but it is extremely dangerous to approach a wild creature, leave alone a wounded one (shockingly, cuteness and razor sharp teeth go together quite often!).
How to save the ocean
As a diver every time you dive you love the colorful coral reefs, the beautiful schools of fish and how small a whale shark makes you feel. And you don’t want them to disappear because diving to see sand is not that much fun.
Now, how can you save the ocean and all that beautiful marine life divers are in love with? Saving the marine world while diving can come in two ways:
- What you can do every time you dive: Every time you dive you can make a difference by not harming the delicate aquatic organisms, read more on how to minimize your impact diving on a coral reef.
- Plan your diving days as biodiversity conservation opportunities: As a scuba diver you have skills than most of the people don’t: you can stay for long periods of time underwater, furthermore you even like it!!
Then, why not combining scuba diving with some creatures-helping activities? Be a hero! Take notes on Posidonia in Madagascar or measure coral growth in Philippines and provide essential data to recover habitats!!
Save local parrot fish and damselfish in Belize from voracious invasive fish! Free the seafloor of harmful debris that will otherwise end the lives of many aquatic critters! Join millions of people counting sharks!
There are many volunteer projects in which you can get involved. Some of my favorites are:
Join a conservation expedition in Belize or Madagascar which gives you the opportunity to develop a research project or simply compile data and pictures that will be used for conservation initiatives.
Become a “Citizen Scientist for Sharks”! Join the SharksCount Program and learn to log, identify and count sharks and contribute to the knowledge of sharks.
Dive Against Debris! To change waste management policies, Project Aware is training divers to collect and report underwater trash. Actually, when you are diving, you can pick trash on all your dives. Every diver has pockets so why not pick it up as you go on a fun dive.
Be a member of a marine conservation program in Seychelles or other destinations. Contribute to conservation research in Greece, Madagascar, Fiji and Tanzania or monitor coral, fish and marine turtles in Philippines and Tobago.
These are some of the most appealing projects on marine conservation, but there are hundreds of them, located in wonderful diving destinations. And almost all of them have all the information you need available on their websites.
Do your research, find the places that suit you better in terms of prices, time, location and activities and become a Neoprene-dressed Underwater Hero!
Apparently the hero tight-fitting costume is always required.
Are you a Hero?
Are you the Scuba Hero we are looking for? Share your Hero story in a comment below!