Planning a visit to a Caribbean coral reef?
Check out these tips to insure a coral friendly experience...

Caribbean reefs suffer from many PREVENTABLE human impacts.
~ runoff from careless land clearing and development
~ water pollution ~ over-fishing
~damage from increasing numbers of coral reef visitors.


USE MOORINGS - If no buoys are available, carefully anchor on sandy bottom. All boat chains and lines should be secured and clear of any contact with coral. Dinghy lines included. If there is no sandy bottom, don't anchor, but leave and attendant in the dinghy while the rest of the party snorkels or dives.

TOUCH NOTHING - The slightest touch of hands, fins or dive equipment can break or damage corals. Secure all gear, and be aware of your fins at all times.

STAY DEEP and REMAIN HORIZONTAL - Avoid shallow reef areas. Snorkeling over reef in shallow water can easily inflict damage to the coral and cause personal injury. If you feel insecure, please wear a float vest. Refresh rusty snorkeling skills over sandy beach before visiting the reef. Maintain a horizontal position to the sea floor when swimming over reef, and be aware of your fins. When treading water, fins extend down and can break corals or stir bottom sediment. Mask and snorkel adjustments should be made over sandy bottom or in deeper waters.

DIVERS- Practice your buoyancy control. This can vary greatly depending on the depth of the dive. In shallower coral reef areas, you need more weight to maintain stability. Maintain control of your dive gear, leave nothing dangling to tangle or impact coral. Plan ahead and practice before visiting the reefs. SCUBA bubbles can scour marine organisms attached to reef walls and ledges, so please don't get too close. Underwater photographers take care not to grab corals to brace for a photo.

TAKE NOTHING - What may look like an empty shell could actually be home to a number of shy marine creatures. Most islands have laws that prohibited removal of corals and other marine organisms from the reef.

RESPECT MARINE PROTECTED AREAS - Marine Protected Areas (MPA's) replenish reef fish populations and protect coral. MPA's often take years to designate, and depend on compliance and oversight to work. Please learn about and respect the established regulations.

FISH WATCHING, NOT FEEDING - Feeding fish can result in aggressive behavior and injury to a diver or snorkeler. Fish feeding disrupts the natural order of a reef and can make the fish sick.

LEARN MORE - Learn more about the ecosystem you are visiting by surfing the following links.

Visit more of Carolyn Steele's Caribbean Artwork                                               Back to Contest








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