What is Project AWARE
Project AWARE (short for Aquatic World Awareness and Responsibility) is a worldwide movement dedicated to protecting the ocean. They bring together people who are passionate about the ocean and marine environment conservation.
It all began as a project in the late 80s which was spearheaded by PADI. It officially became an independent non-profit organization in 1992. Since then, Project AWARE has engaged divers and nature-lovers from different parts of the globe to unite for ocean protection. The movement champions policy changes and inspires global community volunteerism. They collaborate and work closely with individuals, governments, NGOs, dive centers, and other businesses that support the vision of sustaining clean and healthy oceans.
Why protect our oceans
We at Octopus Diving Center believes that it is our responsibility as human beings to protect our oceans because they are vital to life on earth.
Did you know that the oceans are our planet’s life support system? Our oceans make up 97% of the world’s water and they produce half of the oxygen that we need to survive. Our oceans are also sources of food and livelihood for many people plus they play an integral role in regulating the earth’s climate. With all those significant roles that our oceans play, it goes without saying that we need healthy oceans.
Overfishing and marine pollution (a combination of chemicals and trash) are damaging our oceans and killing marine life. Irresponsible human activities have had devastating effects on the underwater environment. Based on National Geographic, only 13% of the world’s oceans have intact marine ecosystems while the rest have been compromised and devastated.
Project AWARE’s 10 tips for divers
Octopus Diving Center supports Project AWARE’s vision to have clean and healthy oceans beginning with these tips.
1. Take action
Scuba divers like us are among the best possible ocean advocates in the world because we have the knowledge and skills to explore the underwater realm. With this kind of privilege, it is our duty to do our share to help conserve the oceans. Let’s take time to spread the word about the importance of protecting the marine environment. Some of the great ways of doing this are by sharing underwater photos, reporting environmental damages to local authorities, and pushing for change.
2. Give back
The future of our oceans depends on the people that’s why it’s up to us to do something now before it’s too late. Big or small, every conservation effort goes a long way. You can donate for ocean protection to help sustain campaigns and projects or push for a policy change that will ensure clean and healthy oceans.
3. Be an eco-tourist
One of the benefits of being a certified scuba diver is being able to travel and dive in different parts of the world. The next time you visit a new destination, choose facilities that support responsible social and environmental practices. Our dive center in Muscat adheres to responsible business practices including proper waste disposal, water and energy conservation, respect for marine life, and more.
4. Decrease your carbon footprint
Two of the biggest threats to our oceans and marine life are global warming and ocean acidification. You can help counteract these threats by doing your part in curbing your carbon footprint. Start with simple things like recycling, upcycling, conserving water and electricity, and using energy-efficient bulbs and household appliances.
5. Be a buoyancy expert
Corals are delicate creatures and may take decades to grow that’s why you should be careful around them. Touching them or accidentally hitting them with your fins or gear can damage corals. Streamline your scuba gear including photography equipment and fine-tune your buoyancy skills to avoid damaging corals.
6. Be a role model
Every week, we train and certify scuba divers at our dive center. Our experienced dive instructors act as role models to inspire other divers regardless of experience level to care and protect the environment.
7. Take only photos, leave only bubbles
If you see a nice shell, a cute starfish, or a colorful nudibranch, leave it alone. Collecting a shell as a keepsake or bringing back a living organism can disturb the delicate balance of the area. Enjoy taking underwater photos that you can share with family and friends without taking something that belongs in the waters.
8. Protect underwater life
Do not touch, feed, chase, or worse ride a marine creature because your actions can frighten and stress the animal, interrupt feeding, or provoke aggressive behavior. The best way to show respect to marine life is by observing them from a safe distance.
9. Become a Debris Activist
It’s terrible how much trash ends up in our oceans. Garbage particularly plastic items find their way in the water. Ocean pollution destroys habitat, kills wildlife, and threatens our health as well as the economy.
Diving is fun and exciting but you can make it more meaningful by collecting whatever waste you can or reporting things that don’t belong underwater.
You can support Project AWARE’s Dive Against Debris, the only underwater debris data collection program of its kind. As a certified diver, you can contribute valuable information about marine debris to help promote policy change.
Join Project AWARE’s campaign to add their next million pieces of debris to their dataset by the end of 2020. #NextMillion2020
10. Make responsible seafood choices
Be a responsible consumer by choosing sustainable species and encourage family and friends to do the same. You can also tell restaurant owners and shop owners about this.