Times like these force us to step back and appreciate everything we take for granted in our ‘normal’ lives. As divers, visiting the marine world comes to the top of the list. But like most of you, we’re stuck at home for the foreseeable future. Of course, we’re thankful to have a safe place to stay, and those of us isolating with friends and family are even more fortunate. But each of us can also support our shared connection with the ocean, even if we’re housebound. Here are 10 ways to positively impact the dive community … by staying home.
Stay in touch with your local dive center
This is a stressful time for everyone, but those operating dive centers must also try to care for staff members and maintain a business when basically no one can dive. Of course, we’re all anxious to get back in the water as soon as this is over, but the unavoidable uncertainty of our current reality is likely to have caused some dive center owners a few sleepless nights. Get in touch with your local shop and that let them know you’ll be back as soon as this is all over — it’s just a small gesture, but it’s likely to mean a lot.
Maintain your gear
While you can’t actually use it, take this time to assess your gear’s quality. Do you need to replace anything? Could you add any new accessories to your underwater set up? Beyond your actual equipment, consider purchasing eco-friendly products that will help protect ocean health in the long run. By this, we mean sustainable swimwear, reusable water bottles, reef-safe sunscreen and more.
Go diving through your laptop
Watch the ocean on Explore.org with a non-diving friend or family member. Who knows, they might end up becoming a diver thanks to you. This awesome site offers an impressive selection of live in-ocean webcams dotted all over the world, complete with audio so you can hear the relaxing clicking and bubbling sounds that you usually only get to experience firsthand.
Register for a free webinar
A quick Google search will bring up an impressive number of free ocean-themed workshops arranged specifically to tide us over in this unprecedented time. Show your support by signing up for “Gardening Corals for Reef Restoration” hosted by the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and Katie Lohr, a Conservation Science Fellow. This webinar will give you the 411 on cutting-edge techniques for propagating and restoring corals, direct to your living room. You may be so impressed that you want to put your newfound knowledge into practice when you are able to. To register, click here.
Sign up for e-learning
Just because we can’t get in the ocean right now doesn’t mean we can’t prepare ourselves for our next dive trip. This is a good time to sign up for theory-only courses (such as your nitrox qualification), or get the knowledge component of your next course out of the way in advance so you don’t need to waste a moment getting wet after the lockdown is lifted.
Email your favorite dive resort or liveaboard
Just as your local dive center is anxiously waiting for this storm to pass, so too is your favorite dive resort or liveaboard. With most of the world literally grounded, many businesses in the travel sector are worrying whether they’ll be able to make it through to the other side, and if they do, if their loyal customer base will still be there. Reach out and let them know that you love them and once you’re able to, you’ll be heading out to dive with them again.
Post pictures of your favorite diving memories on social media and comment on others. This is all about keeping the conversation alive and staying connected to the wider dive community at a time when we can’t be physically close to one another. Cruise Facebook for your local dive center, dive resort or liveaboard’s page, or tag them on other channels like Twitter and Instagram.
Sign up for dive-related email lists and publications
There’s a huge array of traditional print material and online sources to choose from. (You probably already know that as you’re reading this on one of the best sources for dive content). Make the most of these services by singing up to as many email lists as you can and consider getting a subscription for one or more of the high-quality diver publications out there. That way, the ocean will literally arrive at your door.
Review your diving bucket list
Now’s a great time to review your dream dive destinations. Ask your dive buddies for theirs, and spend hours trawling through the dive travel sites on the internet, watching YouTube videos and reading reviews. This’ll help you prepare for your next adventure, so you don’t waste any time once travel is possible again.
Donate to seagrass and mangrove planting initiatives
Spend some time reading up on the magical qualities of seagrass meadows and mangrove swamps. In case you weren’t already aware, these fantastic ecosystems support millions of marine species, acting as a safe refuge for numerous juvenile fish. From sharks to seahorses, you’ll be surprised by how empty the ocean would be without these habitats. What’s more, they’re also incredible at absorbing carbon from the atmosphere — 35 times more effective than the Amazon rainforest — making them a powerful tool in tackling climate change.