Summer is finally here and so are some great opportunities to help protect our reefs!
If you don’t know by now, every Friday during the summer is Filthy Friday.
Filthy Friday = trash/debris collection on your dives.
It is not required, but it does help remove trash from the ocean and make it a more habitable place for all!
Speaking of helping the ocean…
Another great event is coming up…
On Saturday, June 18th DXDIVERS is hosting the Annual Pier Clean-up at Deerfield Beach!
If you haven’t heard, this is an extremely fun event when the community comes together for a common goal, to protect our ocean and beach!
Scuba divers, freedivers, snorkelers, and pier volunteers help collect hundreds of pounds of fishing and beach goer debris.
Divers get in the water and gather their trash in their own receptacles or add it straight into the buckets hanging from the top of the pier.
Volunteers at the top periodically hoist up the buckets to recover the debris.
On the pier, the debris is sorted, weighed, and documented.
We’d love to have you diving alongside all our DXDIVERS family to collect debris and protect our reefs!
This is a great event we haven’t been able to hold since 2019 - we hope you can make it!
Keep reading for more ways you too can become a protector of the reefs.
1. Pick up debris on your dives or on the beach
Whether you’re diving or going to the beach, the chances of you finding some debris - plastic or otherwise - is pretty high.
Plastic from the beach gets swept into the ocean or in the mouths of animals like seagulls and pelicans.
Often looking like food that marine animals eat, for example plastic bags looking like jellyfish to turtles, this debris gets ingested and kills the animal.
Be mindful about your trash and consider picking up debris while on your dives or at the beach.
2. Use reef safe products on your body
Another way to protect our reefs, and specifically our corals, is to purchase reef safe sunscreen and body products.
Sunblock that isn’t reef safe contains dangerous compounds to corals such as Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, Octocrylene, Homosalate, 4-methylbenzylidene camphor, PABA, Parabens, and Triclosan - to name a few.
Reef safe sunblock is generally regarded as “mineral” sunscreen and contains active ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
Check out your favorite dive shop for some reef safe options.
3. Hunt for lionfish and help remove an invasive species
Hunting for and reducing the lionfish population really should be at the top of this list.
Not only do you get a delicious meal, you also get to help our environment.
If you don’t know, lionfish are an invasive fish from the Indo-Pacific that has reached our water through a variety of ways.
Regardless of how they got here, they have multiplied exponentially, causing destruction in its wake.
These fish do not have natural predators on this side of the globe and have voracious appetites.
This is a recipe for disaster for native fish populations and divers alike.
Lionfish eat reef fish in their infancy, severely reducing reef fish populations across the board.
Even if you don’t want to become a hunter, we implore you to notify FWC (Florida Fish & Wildlife) if you see any lionfish while diving.
FWC will ask for the location where you saw it and how many.
4. Participate in a beach, pier, or ocean clean-up
One of the best ways to protect our reefs is to participate in beach, ocean, or pier clean-ups!
Not only is this fun and a way to meet new divers, you can also dive some interesting structures that you may not get the chance to otherwise!
Fishing piers inevitably get fishing line, lures, and weights wrapped around their pillars nearly suffocating the life that lives there.
It’s our duty to delicately remove that debris and get it disposed of properly.
This is also a good way for fishermen to get that old lead and melt it down to make new weights.
Reduce, reuse, recycle at its finest.
5. Reduce your own waste and water usage
This may sound harder than it is.
In reality, all you have to do is bring awareness to your daily habits.
Opt for a reusable mug at the Starbucks drive-thru.
Pick up composting for your organic waste.
Seek out products packaged with alternatives other than plastic like paper cartons or jars.
Try reusable silicone bags in place of Ziplock.
Be mindful of how long your shower is.
Keep your reusable water bottle with you and ditch plastic water bottles.
It’s not all about straws.
Respect the fact that our resources are limited on this planet.
You are now equipped to protect reefs!
And there you have it!
Those are just a few tips you can start implementing today to contribute to reef conservation.
As you can see, it’s not that difficult to help protect our reefs.
If each person contributes a little bit and brings more awareness to our habits and impact, the ocean could be a cleaner and safer place for all.
Tiny habits like picking up trash at the beach, adjusting our purchases, and becoming aware of our water usage can make a tremendous impact.
We would love to hear how you help protect the reefs in your own way in the comments below!
Don’t forget to join us on Friday mornings all summer long for a fusion of Freedive Friday + Filthy Fridays!