Reef-World Foundation Opens Green Fins Certification to Recreational Scuba Divers

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Touching the reef can cause a lot of damage (Photo: Reef-World) 

Recreational Scuba Divers can now earn Green Fins certificates thanks to the launch of the Reef-World Foundation's new Green Fins diver e-course. The new online programme is designed to help recreational divers protect coral reefs by learning how to conduct more environmentally friendly dives.

According to the Reef-World Foundation's 2018 International Year of the Reef campaign report, 70 per cent of divers make contact with the reef while diving at an average of 5.79 times per dive. Of those who touch the reef, 36 per cent were unaware they did so. With an estimated one million new divers certified each year, the cumulative impact of poor scuba diving practices on sensitive marine ecosystems is an issue of growing concern.

Even a small breakage from an errant fin kick can cause damage to coral from which it takes months to recover. Other factors such as littering, pollution and the collection of marine organisms as souvenirs can stress the coral to a point where it is less likely to survive the wider impacts of overfishing, run-off from the land and industry, and rising sea temperatures.

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The Green Fins programme teach environmental best practice to all ocean enthusiasts (Photo: Reef-World)

Reef-World's research has shown divers who receive environmental information and understand their potential impact on reefs cause significantly less damage to coral. Following the success of its Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course, Reef-World is making its educational programme for sustainable diving available to the general recreational diving public. 

The course covers straightforward techniques for best environmental practice both above and below the water, from equipment care to dive technique, buoyancy control and trim, and underwater photography.

The course provides divers with three online modules of content, each of which is followed by a corresponding test which divers must pass to finish the course.

  • Module 1: an introduction to coral reef biology, global and local threats to the marine environment, and the Green Fins approach.
  • Module 2: management techniques above water, such as how to prepare and plan an environmentally friendly dive trip, from booking your trip at reef-home to best practices on the boat and caring for your equipment post-dive.
  • Module 3: applying best diving practices below water on every dive, learning tips for diving with the least environmental impact, how to have longer marine life interactions and be an environmentally responsible underwater photographer; and ways in which divers can use what they have learned and contribute to citizen science projects.

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Securing equipment properly can prevent damage to the reef (Photo: Reef-World)

The course is available for £19 on the Green Fins website. On completion, students will receive a personalised electronic certificate, which is valid for two years and can be displayed as a stamp of individual awareness. The course content will be updated regularly with the latest industry knowledge, and students are encouraged to take retake the course after two years to refresh their skills and knowledge.

The proceeds from course certificates support Reef-World’s work to implement the Green Fins programme around the world. Divers who cannot afford to take the course can apply for the Green Fins Diver e-Course Scholarship Fund to receive the certification free of charge.

JJ Harvey, Director at The Reef-World Foundation, said: 'The Green Fins Diver e-Course enables divers from all backgrounds to become more environmentally aware, understand the main environmental threats posed by scuba diving and be able to minimise those threats. We’re so proud of the results from our 2019 course and we’re excited that we can now also meet demand from recreational divers worldwide who want to reduce their negative impact on the coral reefs they visit.'

For more information, or to sign up for the Green Fins Diver e-Course, please visit:


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