Help Divers Protect Their Skin Without Harming Coral Reefs

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According to a recent study, even a tiny amount of toxic sunscreen can kill coral. Unfortunately, popular sunscreens made by Banana Boat, Coppertone, Neutrogena and others contain oxybenzone, a chemical proven to be hazardous to reefs. Toxic sunscreen has become such a problem, Hawai’i may pass a law banning sunscreen made with oxybenzone.

Unfortunately, choosing a product labeled biodegradable or coral reef safe isn’t enough. Chemicals toxic to coral such as butylparaben, octinoxate, 4-methylbenzylidine, camphor and the infamous oxybenzone (also known as benzophenone-3 or BP-3) have been found in products labeled coral reef safe. Before you restock your sunscreen, take a few seconds to ensure it doesn’t contain the ingredients above, or choose a product from our vetted list below.

The sun protection products below received high marks from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and consumers on Amazon.com. These are the least-hazardous sunscreen products on the market (according to EWG’s 2017 research) that also received a minimum 3.5 star score from consumers on Amazon.com. You can view the specific products and links to consumer reviews on our earlier blog post: The Best Natural Sunscreen for Scuba Divers and Snorkelers.

Reef-friendly sunscreen manufacturers – view wholesale info online

Badger Balm

Stream2Sea

WaxHead

Reef-friendly sunscreen manufacturers – contact for wholesale info

Blue Lizard

Beyond Coastal

BurnOut – phone 800-798-7970 or email shona@burnoutsun.com

All Terrain (natural sunscreen and natural bug repellent) call 978-886-3218 or email David Kuykendall dkuykendall@allterrainco.com

Note: no sunscreen has been proven to be 100% reef-safe, but sunscreens made with titanium oxide or zinc oxide do not appear to be harmful to corals (source: NOAA). Chemical processes are used to create any sunscreen, even mineral-based ones.

The best solution for divers and snorkelers is to cover up rather than slather on. A rashguard with UV protection is a better environmental choice than any sunscreen. Choose a long-sleeve version for maximum coverage.

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By promoting reef-friendly alternatives to toxic sunscreens, dive operators can reduce their impact on our ocean planet and support the Ocean Health Pillar (one of PADI’s Four Pillars of Change). That said, threats such as coastal pollution, overfishing, and sedimentation are a greater threat to coral reefs than sunscreen. PADI encourages all Members to support the conservation efforts of Project AWARE through donations and education.

Hurricane Relief Efforts

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After two powerful storms hit Texas, Florida and the Caribbean, it has been a difficult time for the millions of people affected by evacuations, flooding, electrical outages and loss of loved ones. We empathize with our friends, family and colleagues after the Category 4 and 5 storms hit, bringing 298-kph/185-mph winds, catastrophic flooding and tropical cyclone rain, leaving 7.5 million people without power for days. With Hurricane Maria currently surging through the Caribbean, our hearts and thoughts go out to those anticipating the storm.

As divers, we want to seize the opportunity to help our fellow dive community in the affected locations. The Red Cross, Caribbean Tourism Organization, and Sandals Foundation are accepting donations to continue providing aid and relief to these specific destinations to help make a difference.

We’ll provide updates on locations that are ready to welcome tourists again once the hurricane passes.

PADI AmbassaDiver Cody Unser Gives Divers with Disabilities a New Perspective

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Cody Unser First Step Foundation’s (CUFSF) quality of life motto is “Changing Lives One Dive at a Time.” Embodying the Health and Wellness Pillar of PADI’s Four Pillars of Change initiative, a short film showcasing the inspirational story of CUFSF founder and PADI AmbassaDiverTM Cody Unser was recently released. Unser and her CUFSF dive team provide participants with spinal cord-related paralysis with scuba instruction and PADI® Open Water certification to improve quality of life.

“Scuba is that catalyst that can transform people’s perceptions about what’s possible, and that people with disabilities want to not only live life, but thrive in it!” Unser says.

In June, CUFSF took their message to the No Barriers Summit in north Lake Tahoe, California, USA, where Unser’s My PADI video was filmed to share her story of transcending barriers through diving.

On 12-13 August, Unser and her volunteer dive team conducted a PADI Open Water Diver course for the physical and occupational therapists from the Kennedy Krieger Institute’s International Center for Spinal Cord Injury in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, along with an introductory scuba event for the institute’s patients. Their goal: to integrate more medical professionals into the world of diving, while showing participants with spinal cord injuries that anything is possible.

“My hope is that the work that we do at the Cody Unser First Step Foundation with our Adaptive Scuba Program will help motivate and inspire the world to become more accepting and adapting for people with disabilities,” Unser says.

Adding support for Unser’s work, and other organizations like CUFSF, the new PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty course will launch in November. This new program teaches PADI Pros to help people with varying abilities meet PADI course performance requirements. In addition, the program includes a PADI Adaptive Support Diver course for divers interested in learning how to support dive buddies using adaptive techniques. PADI’s approach to diver education has always been inclusive: Anyone who meets prerequisites is welcome to participate. This new program aims increase awareness of adaptive techniques that focus on what scuba participants can do rather than on what they can’t.

Since becoming paralyzed at the age of 12 due to transverse myelitis, Unser has worked to show others how powerful adaptive sports can be for the health and quality of life of people with paralyzing injuries and conditions. By convincing her doctors about the beneficial neurological and psychological effects of scuba diving on paralysis, Unser has demonstrated to the medical world that diving can promote healing.

“Having lost sensation and function in my lower body, diving made me feel whole again. It’s that feeling of freedom and independence that made me want to share it with others who, like me, doubted and feared life with a paralyzed body on land,” Unser says. “Now that doubt and fear doesn’t exist!”

Be Best. Be PADISM – The Way the World Learns to Dive®

Eco-Friendly Elegance: How to Go Green the Right Way

Written by Tara Bradley
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Like many great things in life, the idea behind the Bunakan Oasis Dive Resort began in a bar.

One evening, Elaine and Simon Wallace, divers visiting Wakatobi from England, listened intently as their PADI Divemaster, Maruf Tajudin, known as Acho, told them about his home, on the island of Bunaken, located at the northern tip of Sulawesi, Indonesia.

“He talked with great passion about the reefs and the diving and the fact that he would like to get involved with the education of the next generation, reef conservation and preservation, teaching kids to dive safely and properly and really to make a difference to the area,” Elaine says. “The discussion ‘got’ us.”

With that, the Wallaces visited Bunaken, fell in love with it, and waited until land became available. Five years later, it did, and Tajudin and the Wallaces finally had the chance to open up the resort they’d be dreaming up for so long. All of that planning came into fruition when Bunaken Oasis Dive Resort opened its doors in 2016 and became the first conservation-minded resort on the island.

Finding the Water Source

With a shortage of freshwater on the island, but plenty of well water, the group used Tajudin’s experience working on liveaboards to de-salinate the water. Then they took it to the next level. All of the pipework is now classed for potable water, well water is processed through two freshwater makers and stored in a large 150 cubic meter ceramic-lined tank before it is UV treated and distributed. The water is all tested monthly to ensure it is fully potable. Through this process, the showers, sinks and swimming pool are fresh water.

“All cottages have water dispensers, as do all public areas and the staff village, and all guests are given re-usable drinking thermos flasks,” Elaine says. “It is our aim to negate any need for single use plastics in the resort.”

When it came to the black water treatment system, the Wallaces turned to the French fosse system, the same method used in rural France. The totally self-contained system never needs emptying and exists as its own biosystem, producing just groundwater. Similarly, Oasis’s system is based on several underground BioFil 7 tanks with additional skimming traps, grease traps for the kitchens, neutralizers for the laundry, and a carbon filtration bed.

“The whole system produces nothing but ground water, again we have this regularly tested at the laboratory to make sure no contaminants are introduced into our environment,” Elaine says.

The process is so impressive that guests are granted access to all areas of the property with tours offered to give a look behind the scenes.

“It is important to us that guests can see that their holiday to this incredible diving destination is positive for the island, and that behind the curtain is as good as the guest areas,” Elaine says.

To further their efforts, the property purchased more land. Totaling 5 hectares, they’ve incorporated an organic garden with the goal of growing as many varieties of fruits and vegetables for the restaurant as possible.

The local village wasn’t left out either. With the hopes of granting access to more water and to reduce the need for plastic bottles, a 5,000-litre fresh water tank provides fresh water to everyone for drinking and cooking.

bunaken dive resort

Strong Local Causes

An emphasis on the local environment and people is also evident in the furniture found in all of the cottages, each piece has been built by Bunaken carpenters on the island from wood purchased under permit from the government managed forests.

One of Oasis’s most recent projects involves a mangrove planting program, located in front of the resort, where guests can plant their own mangrove to help provide a nursery for young marine life.

“Prior to the mangrove/jetty, there was nowhere for the marine life that would naturally seek refuge in the mangroves to hide when the tide was low,” Elaine says. “Now we are seeing more and more species colonizing there.”

With the turtle population thriving in Bunaken, a turtle hatchery is also under discussion.

“Thanks to the National Marine Park management, we have been allowed to release several baby turtles as well as a young hawksbill turtle that had been rescued,” Elaine says.

The island itself faces many of the same problems, like floating plastics, found in other marine areas. While a solution for managing the source of the problem is still under discussion, the Oasis team participates in daily beach cleanups, and, with the help of a local NGO, BunakenCare, returns any recyclable material back to Manado in North Sulawesi. And while removing plastics altogether would be ideal, until then, the Oasis and BunkenCare team are doing their part to clean up as best they can.

“When necessary, we use our taxi boat to skim for surface plastic in the area of Liang beach, but one of our next projects is to build a small catamaran, solely for this purpose,” Elaine says. “We are extremely fortunate that the reefs remain almost entirely unaffected by any incoming floating plastic, but if we can stop anything from reaching the beach, it can only improve the ambience of Bunaken.”

bunaken dive resort

Going Solar

Despite detailed investigations, the Oasis team hasn’t been able to implement solar panels for the resort. But they do have them on the boats for lighting.

“Solar is making inroads in some of the larger Indonesian cities, but at the moment we would not be able to get the support needed to rely on a solar solution,” Elaine says. “We hope to be able to progressively implement solar power in the future when the technology is more supported within the region.”

Oasis’s efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. The resort is the first recipient in North Sulawesi to receive and operate under the Central Government Facilitator for Nature Tourism permit. In honor of being the first property to receive this permit, the property was also gifted with a visit from the Minister of the Environment, Dr. Siti Nurbaya Bakar.

bunaken dive resort

For more on Bunaken Oasis Dive Resort & Spa, or tips on how to make your property eco-friendly, visit bunakenoasis.com.

Join PADI at Surf Expo Sept 7-9

PADI Freediver

Calling all Florida divers! Join us at Surf Expo on Saturday, September 8th to learn more about the value of the PADI Freediver course for your business and meet some of our team!  The show features more than 2,500 booths of apparel and hardgoods and a full line-up of special events, including fashion shows, annual awards ceremonies, and demos.

In addition to our freediving booth, PADI will be offering a free discover static apnea course for those interested in the experience.

PADI Freediver Instructor Trainer, Forrest Simon, PADI AmbassaDiver Andre Miller,  PADI Freediver Instructor Kristofer Landers, and Cressi’s Caribbean Manager, Theo Knevel will be leading the static apnea freediving course.

Contact theo.knevel@cressiusa.com or dial +1 (201) 594-1450 to reserve your spot!

Save on Your PADI Retail and Resort Membership Dues

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Every year members ask, “How can I save more on my membership dues?”

It’s easy! Enroll in PADI Retail and Resort Automatic Membership Renewal and you’ll receive the lowest rate for 2018. By enrolling before 6 November 2017, you’ll maintain uninterrupted access to PADI membership benefits including:

  • Online certification processing
  • Access to your dedicated Regional Customer Service Team
  • Marketing tools and more on the PADI Pros’ Site

Sign up for automatic renewal before time runs out and the savings disappear.

sign up now button

Save on Your PADI Membership Dues

AutoRenew_header_01_EN

Every year members ask, “How can I save more on my membership dues?”

It’s easy! Enroll in PADI Automatic Membership Renewal and you’ll receive the lowest rate for 2018. By enrolling before 6 November 2017, you’ll maintain uninterrupted access to PADI membership benefits including:

  • Online certification processing
  • Training information and pro development webinars on the PADI Pros’ Site
  • Access to your Regional Training Consultants and support from your Regional Headquarters

Sign up for automatic renewal before time runs out and the savings disappear.

sign up now button