Tips for Divers and Snorkelers
- Snorkel aware, dive with care! Before booking a reef trip, check out weather conditions. It’s best not to go out in rough seas. Poor visibility, strong winds and waves reduce safe interaction at the reef.
- Remember that even the lightest touch with hands or equipment can damage sensitive coral polyps.
- Snorkelers should wear float coats—inflatable snorkel vests—to allow gear adjustment without standing on the coral. Never stand up on a coral reef!
- To avoid contact with the ocean bottom, divers should only use the weight needed and practice proper buoyancy control. Areas that appear empty may support new growth if left undisturbed.
- Avoid wearing gloves and touching or collecting marine life. Most tropical fish captured die within a year. In Florida, Queen conch and coral are protected species, and cannot be taken. Buying them at local shops only depletes reefs elsewhere in the world.
- Resist the temptation to feed fish; it changes the natural behavior and diet of the fish and is illegal in Florida waters.
Learn the proper behavior when snorkeling with the Proper Reef Etiquette Guide