New online course trains dive guides in the best environmental standards, whether or not their dive school is a Green Fins member.
The Reef-World Foundation - the international coordinators of Green Fins - with the support of Professional SCUBA Schools International (PSS), is pleased to announce the launch of the Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course: a free online course designed to help dive professionals reduce the negative impacts of scuba diving on the underwater environment and conduct more environmentally friendly dives.
The new Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course is the only course which teaches dive professionals how to prevent diving-related damage to coral reefs by following the highest environmental standards, as set out by the Green Fins initiative. Dive guides can take this course - free of charge - whether or not their dive operator is a Green Fins member.
Diving related damage to sensitive marine ecosystems, including coral reefs, is becoming an increasingly significant issue. This damage makes them less likely to survive other local and wider stressors, such as over fishing or run-off from land containing pollutants and plastic debris as well the effects of climate change, such as rising sea temperatures.
Scuba professionals have the ability to positively influence diver behaviour and this course helps guides better manage their guests to prevent them causing damage to the reef; helping to protect coral and other marine life one dive at a time. It covers techniques such as how to provide an effective pre-dive environmental briefing and how to stop customers (including underwater photographers) touching coral whilst diving; techniques proven to reduce the level of coral damage associated with diving.
The course provides dive professionals with three modules of easy-to-follow content followed by corresponding tests on an intuitive, user-friendly platform:
l Module 1: an introduction to coral reef biology, the Green Fins approach, why it is imperative we protect reefs, and how guides can use Green Fins resources, such as posters and guidelines, to support their day to day work.
l Module 2: management techniques above water, such as how to prepare and plan an environmentally friendly dive and maximising the opportunity of an effective environmental pre-dive briefing to encourage guests to limit their environmental impact.
l Module 3: how to confidently lead a dive using positive role model behaviour and making underwater corrections - such as adjusting buoyancy - followed by an explanation and positive reinforcement once the dive is over. Research has shown divers who receive environmental information in pre-dive briefings coupled with interventions underwater cause significantly less damage to coral.
There is a short test at the end of each module which dive professionals must pass in order to finish the course. On completion of the course, there is an option to donate £19 ($24) to support Green Fins’ work around the world and receive a personalised electronic certificate which can be displayed to inform guests the guide is aware of how to reduce the environmental impacts associated with diving. Displaying the certificate can help attract eco-minded customers and make divers more confident about the standards of the centre. The Dive Guide e-Course can also be offered as an addition to the Divemaster training programme, resulting in increased business for the dive school. Certified guides and dive centres will both benefit from additional promotion through the Green Fins community.
Chloe Harvey, Director at The Reef-World Foundation, said: “The Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course enables dive professionals to become more environmentally aware, understand the main environmental threats posed by SCUBA diving and be able to minimise those threats. We hope that the course will help protect coral reefs all over the world, allowing them to be more resilient to wider stressors such as the effects of climate change. What’s more, many divers now expect, and demand, environmentally aware guides so being a positive role model in this way not only protects the underwater environment, but can also result in better employability and more tips!”
Green Fins is the only internationally recognized environmental standard for dive and snorkel operators, established through a partnership between UN Environment and The Reef World Foundation. Green Fins uses a unique and proven three-pronged approach; green certifications of dive centres, strengthening regulations and environmental education for dive staff, divers and government.
For more information, or to sign up for the Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course, please visit: https://evo.pssww.org/en/greenfins.aspx.