Sunday, December 11, 2011

Be a smart diver

Join efforts to preserve dive experiences for future generations of divers by protecting and supporting your national marine sanctuaries.

Sharpen your skills. Mastering buoyancy control and streamlining your equipment will help minimize the risk of entanglement or accidental disturbance of the bottom. Even the slightest damage can permanently alter an entire ecosystem or historical shipwreck site.

Learn the proper techniques for shipwreck diving. When diving shipwrecks, always know the orientation of the wreck site and only enter the wreck if specifically trained to do so.

Be familiar with kelp diving procedures. Always swim below the surface of a kelp canopy and navigate with your compass. Don't panic or thrash around if entangled, slowly remove the kelp or have your buddy gently untangle it for you.

Respect marine wildlife. Enjoy viewing marine mammals and wildlife from a safe distance. Should you encounter marine mammals and observe nervous behavior, back away.

Don't collect underwater souvenirs - leave them behind for others to enjoy. Resist the temptation to collect shells, rocks or other underwater artifacts, because they provide homes for sea creatures. Additionally, removal of any historical artifacts is regulated by law.

Be a marine debris crusader. Once you finish your dive, make sure to carry away any trash you - and others - may have left behind. Beach litter poses a significant threat to the health and survival of marine organisms, which can swallow or get tangled in beverage containers, plastic bags, six-pack rings and other debris.

Thanks to National Marine Sanctuaries and Bing

Kathy Dowsett

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