Underwater cleanups are a great way to help protect the
marine environment. There are some special considerations when cleaning up
under water, especially in fragile coral reef environments. Please follow these
simple guidelines to avoid damage to fragile coral reefs.
PLANNING THE DIVE
Always dive with a buddy and be sure to check equipment and divers’
sgnals beforehand. Make sure underwater conditions and weather are
suitable for diving to ensure safety for divers and for underwater
In addition to normal dive gear, divers will need:
- Mesh sacks.
- Gloves for protection from rubbish and sharp objects.
- Shears or scissors for cutting fishing line and tin cans.
- Work slowly and carefully.
- Dive in a head-down position to avoid making contact with the bottom.
- Adjust buoyancy throughout the dive as the garbage gets heavier.
- Make sure equipment is secured and the mesh sack is held so that nothing can trail or snag on corals.
- One diver should collect garbage with gloves on while another holds the mesh sack.
Place glass, needles and hooks inside other garbage for safety. Never
try to remove anything that cannot be easily lifted such as tires or
- Plastics, especially plastic bags.
- Cloth items or rice sacks.
- Fishing line, netting, and broken lobster pots or fish traps.
- Batteries, bottles without marine growth, and tin cans.
- Cigarette butts and bottle caps.
WHAT TO REMOVE—AND WHAT TO LEAVE
Do your best not to remove articles that have already been incorporated
into the reef and are helping to support life.
CHECK IT BEFORE YOU BAG
- Make sure nothing is living in or on each item before removal.
- Do not
remove bottles that are covered in growth.
- Cut open tin cans to make
sure there is nothing inside.
- Hold cups or cans close to sandy parts of
the sea bed and shake out sand or silt.
WHAT TO LEAVE
- Anything which is “stuck” or encrusted with growth.
- Anything, no matter how ugly, which has become overgrown with marine
- Anything that may be dangerous.
- Heavy items—never use your buoyancy control device to lift heavy
- Metal drums and containers which might contain hazardous
- PLASTIC FISHING LINE - Never try to pull fishing line free. Cut and remove it in sections to
avoid damaging organisms growing around it.
Use shears or scissors rather than a knife. Wind the line around an
object or hand to control it.
RECORDING THE RESULTS
Document everything that is collected so that its
origin can be identified and pollution problems tackled at source. For
more information and data recording sheets contact The Ocean
AFTER THE DIVE
Arrange for garbage to be collected or
taken to an official site—do not leave it on the beach.