Being Socially Responsible for Better Diving
So we’ve discussed eco-friendly things you can do to help us protect our coral reef gardens for future generations to enjoy, now we can discuss be socially responsible by making better choices. By becoming a more conscious consumer, you can make better choices, not just for Key West’s surrounding ocean, but for the world as well. If everyone made a little bit of an effort, every day, we could ensure a cleaner and safer future for our planet. For us, the two following tips will help us significantly reduce waste and lessen harm to our oceans over the years.
Protecting your skin from the sun and staying clean in general seem like very basic issues that no one would argue with, but the items you use can have environmental consequences, including when diving. Sunscreen is the most immediate one. Many sunscreens contain chemicals that don't degrade in water and that wash off as you scuba dive Key West. Even "water resistant" and "waterproof" sunscreens do this; that's why you have to reapply them every time you go to the beach. Sunscreens that supposedly absorb into your skin aren't perfect either as not all of the lotion is guaranteed to stick to you.
As the chemicals slough off your skin in the water, they contaminate the environment and become unintentional fish food. The fish can't see the particles, but as the fish take in the contaminated water, that leads to the sunscreens contaminating the fish and affecting plant life. In order to make your Key West diving experience both sun-safe and eco-friendly, look for sunscreens made specifically for diving. You can wear these while swimming at the beach, too.
Of course, that brings up the issue of what to do if you're allergic to ingredients in the dive-safe sunscreens; many of the chemicals that divers eye warily due to environmental issues are the same ones used in sensitive-skin sunblock, like titanium dioxide. One solution is to look for wetsuits and rash guards made with sun-protective fabric. This is usually denoted by the term "UPF," or ultraviolet protection factor. Bring UPF hats and coverups with you to wear while you're on the boat.
A Wider Reach
Your Key West diving trip isn't limited to just the time you're diving. Anything you do on the trip has the potential to affect the reefs and surrounding waters. Reduce your effect by diving with companies dedicated to being as environmentally sound as possible, and stay at resorts that offer recycling, low-flow showerheads and faucets, and other conservation strategies. These little things add up quickly, but make for a bigger and better picture for our planet as a whole. Do a little research and try to find a restaurant that is eco-friendly and uses local food. This is true of any vacation you go on, or even making reservations in your own backyard (both figuratively, and literally). Try to buy gift on your vacation that are made from reused material, and reduce waste from going into the landfill. Just try to remember, a little effort goes a long ways, especially in saving our oceans.