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Blog - Responsible and Sustainable Snorkeling: 6 Basic Rules
Many people think about snorkeling as a “secondary” activity if compared to scuba diving, being something “technically” simple that does not require much equipment. It is true that scuba divers can go down at stunning depths, but snorkeling in the right places and right ways can give you spectacular experiences too.
It is anyway an activity done in proximity to corals, often in protected areas and among species that are considered endangered or sensitive. Let’s review together, also basing from our experience, some basic conducts to follow during your sea holidays in order to limit the impact of our snorkeling activities on the environment.
1. The less steps, the better
Especially if you snorkel where the sea level is low or during low tide, it is very important not to touch the delicate corals under with your hands, body or your feet. While aqua shoes and fins are made to protect feet and help in swimming ease and speed, they can harm the habitat of the beautiful animals you are observing, if they touch the ocean floor. Furthermore, avoidance of putting your feet down is advisable also for safety reasons (the stone fish as an example).
2. Don’t take anything
Beauties of the sea will continue being beautiful if you leave them where they belong. Don’t take any starfish, coral, fish or other creatures away for your entertainment. Firstly, because it is not a good thing to kill a creature just for entertainment. Plus, alterations of the local ecosystem can modify the environment and compromise its balance.
3. Right places, right people
Beautiful colours under the sea in Palicaman Island. Photo: Tropical Experience Travel Services.
Prefer snorkeling in the so-called protected “Sanctuaries”, where you can also pay a small amount to help the community in preserving the local environment. It is an act of responsibility, giving something in return instead of just exploiting a place. Moreover, these Sanctuaries usually provide you with expert personnel who can guide you consciously and safely.
4. Don’t leave anything
We are sure you know this already, but a reminder will not harm. Please check that you don’t have some waste left in your pockets while entering the water. Don’t leave any waste in the water: in some cases it can kill the animals, aside from being generally polluting.
5. Lotions and cosmetics
Cosmetics you put on your body (like sun block), can be harmful for the marine environment and the animals because of their chemical components. Let’s reduce their use. If possible, try to apply your lotions only after snorkeling and if not possible (for example, if the sun is too strong) at least wait that your skin absorbs them well.
Even better: ecological chemical-free sun lotions are widely available in shops (and usually are more “friendly” to your skin too)
6. Sustainable operators
For your holidays, acquire the services of operators following punctual rules about sustainability and respect for the environment, they will be able to help you step by step making your snorkeling activity a wholesome and enjoyable one.
For sure these are simple and limited tips, but we believe they are already good starting point for a conscious vacation!
Now get your snorkel gears (and underwater camera too!) and admire the many beauties the underwater world is offering!
(written on June 2014)