Breaking the 2nd Rule Of Scuba Diving

Don’t mess with marine life

One of the first things that you are taught as a new diver is: Scuba diving is a spectator sport, avoid touching fish, coral, and other marine life. 

The first rule of scuba diving is to never hold your breath, which is pretty self-explanatory. Why, then, is it so difficult to abide by the second rule?: 

Do not touch the sea animals. 

Get your fins off the coral. 

Do not interfere with the marine environment. 

Social media’s role

In the age of social media influencers, there are a lot of people that want to go “viral” by performing crazy stunts to garner attention. As a more diving-centric example, think of someone using underwater noise makers for no reason. In the case of disturbing the marine environment, it not only creates a negative ecological impact, but sets a bad example for those that follow that person. 

Could you be breaking the rule without knowing it?

Aside from the everyday influencer’s hand in this issue, there are also certain diving practices that have been generally accepted and taught among the community that are actually harmful to the marine environment. 

One example of this is instructors teaching new divers to kneel while working on new skills. This usually leads these divers to then kneel during open water dives, which increases the risk of damaging coral reefs or other parts of the marine ecosystem. 

Why we don’t touch sea animals
#1 We can hurt them

Here in Florida, there’s recently been two high profile cases of marine animal abuse.

  • one video showed three people that decided to drag a shark behind their boat at high speed until it died. They sent this video to a local shark expert, hoping to impress them. Ultimately, it was the shark expert that turned them into the authorities. 
  • A man in key west filmed himself fake drowning a pelican, so he could “brag about it on Facebook”

In both cases, the perpetrators went to jail for animal abuse. 

#2 They can hurt us

Once again, pretty self-explanatory. Sea animals have teeth, stingers, and in some cases, venom. If you provoke a sea animal into defending itself in a way that thousands of years of evolution have taught it to do, that’s your problem. 

Conclusion

Of course, most scuba divers are conservationists at heart. People that enjoy the marine world would want to see it preserved. It is a diver’s responsibility to take the moral high ground and set a good example for other divers. Further, it is everyone’s responsibility to stop giving clicks and likes to content that promotes the abuse of marine life.

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Meet James Blackman

With a career in diving spanning twenty years, James has seen a thing or two in the dive industry. James grew up on the Southwest coast of Britain and learned to dive in the frigid waters of the English Channel. If your first dives were like being placed in a cocktail shaker full of cabbage soup and you come away with a love for the sport, then you know it’s going to be a life-long pursuit.

James spent his twenties in the British merchant marine which afforded him the opportunity to travel to and dive in far flung locales… 177 countries and counting. Between stints onboard a variety of vessels, James used his shore leaves to level up his scuba training… Rescue diver in Tanzania, DM in Indonesia, Instructor in Honduras, Tec Instructor in the French West Indies.

His last ship before moving to a shore-based life style was an expedition ship where he notched up some of his most impressive dives, including briefly holding the world record for most northerly scuba dive… 82 degrees north in the Russian arctic; diving the Amazon river; the Antarctic; and virgin reef systems in Papua New Guinea and Melanesia.

Moving ashore in his early thirties, James took on the role of General Manager for a luxury dive operator in St Martin and never had a dull moment! Hollywood visited the island and called upon James’ underwater skills for on-set safety. When Cat-3 hurricane Gonzalo devastated the area, James switched hats to salvage and public safety diver to help with the recovery.

Scuba Diving has given so much to James in his life… and first on that list is his brilliant wife Karina whom he met whilst teaching her AOW class! Yes, that old cliché! James and Karina are also business partners and co-owners of two power-house scuba brands. Miami Technical Diving has become the premiere scuba training facility in South Florida. Tired of seeing other dive shops compete in a ‘race to the bottom,’ James decided his model for teaching scuba would focus on keeping the quality as high as possible; using the best gear possible; teaching beyond the minimum standards on a 1-to-1 student-to-instructor ratio. The fullness of the MTD training calendar shows that people – student divers – prefer to receive premium, quality tuition, as opposed to cheap and fast.

James is the personality and knowledge broker behind ‘Divers Ready!’ a super influential Scuba Diving YouTube channelwebsite and brand. In just a year, Divers Ready! has become the fastest growing You Tube channel in the Scuba Diving niche, with 1000s of new divers joining every month. Their weekly videos range from Mouthpiece Mondays – where James shares his insider knowledge and opinions about controversial topics in the dive industry – to practical ‘hints & tutorial’ style videos, all with one simple goal in mind – to make you a better diver!

James and Karina started small group luxury dive trips for the Divers Ready! audience.

James and Karina live in Miami, FL with their rambunctious dogs; Ziggy The Husky and Bonham the Mutt, and their Maine Coon cat Foxy, who remains unimpressed.