As a tribe, we divers just love to travel to far out adventures thousands of miles away often in tropical climates but there is a silent and much more rewarding adventure awaiting us, and it is in our backyard.
Whether you are already an avid local diver or testing the waters in the search of fresh challenges there is no better time to consider the benefits of not getting on that plane and instead of diving into what is locally available to fuel your underwater passion.
Discover Local Diving
The first step to exploring a new dive site is to ensure you are safe, because as you know: if it is not safe then it is not fun! Get in contact with your local dive shop and start the conversation about how you can discover your local dive experiences and connect with local experienced professionals. They will advise you on best practices for that location and share their local knowledge, something that will definitely enhance your experience. For example, they will know about local dive site conditions, entry and exit protocols, points of interest, how to safely interact with the aquatic life, and what species you can hope to see.
Learn New Skills
If you are the kind of diver that has never considered diving locally before then ask yourself why? It is safe to say the most common objection I have heard over the years is that it is “too cold” for the blue water shorty wearing diver. Each time I hear this I hear my old boss and PADI Course Director, Alex Griffin, saying to me “there is no such thing as a cold diver, only an inappropriately dressed one!”
One of the reasons that many choose to dive is to explore the mesmerizing underworld, not to wear a tiny wetsuit. Learning to dive in different conditions is a fresh challenge and a way of building your skills. From drysuit specialty courses that introduce you to cooler climes, to boat diving so can explore that little bit further it is time draw on the experience of your local professional to expand your horizons and explore the deep blue in all it’s shades.
Contact your local dive shop and find out what courses are good to get you on your way fuelling your adventurous spirit.
Try New Kit
Having the right tools for the job can be the make or break for your new line of exploration. Investing in equipment from the outset certainly has its advantages for your learning experience, diving with ill-fitting and dated rental equipment can impact on the experience and have you running back to fair weather locations. Having said that rental kit can bridge the gap while you immerse yourself in learning new skills to explore a new environment, when (not if) you enjoy your local dive experience quickly speak to your local dive shop and get their advice on what new equipment will be best to help you on your way to comfortably discovering your local diving hotspots.
Support The Local Economy
As well as supporting your local dive center, traveling close to home also gives your local economy a boost. By supporting smaller businesses, you are in turn supporting the local economy as much more money stays within the community if it is spent there.
On the whole smaller businesses tend to invest more in local communities, care about the wellbeing of the community, and have smaller carbon footprints compared to larger companies. By creating more demand there is a need to increase supply which can create lots more local opportunities for work.
Local businesses are often among the highlights of the places we visit from tiny off the beaten track shops to independent restaurants serving locally sourced produce and of the course the water-side cafes for the post-dive cuppa.
By using your local dive shop, you are adding value to your community and supporting shops as they emerge from lockdown restrictions often facing a tough survival path ahead. If a dive center closes down there is an unfortunate trend that sees a large majority of that community of divers disperse and stop diving. Even with other centers in close proximity, many people do not make the jump to a new club and the industry feels the loss of these important ocean advocates.
Reduce Your Crushing Carbon Print
One positive thing that has come out of global lockdown is we have seen lower carbon emissions during 2020 due to the lower demand for energy, resulting in a brief pause on the impact of global warming. We have seen that life goes on without international travel so by diving locally you can save on the ozone crushing air miles. In addition, these unprecedented times has given wildlife the chance to rest and with quieter seas from less legal fishing (there is lots of reports that illegal poachers have also been enjoying the quieter seas and throwing legal quotas to the wind), commercial shipping and lower aviation traffic some marine animals are reclaiming the beach once again.
Keep The Passion Alive
We all live busy lives and it is not always possible to take the weeks off that many international diving trips demand. Diving locally allows you to get your fix on the weekends or weekday trips, which will keep your passion alive and your skills sharp.
Don’t let the passion dry out, keep the flame alive! Use online logbooks and apps to share the locations you discover on the way so that you are in communication with faraway diving buddies. You can go even further and encourage others to explore the quieter sites and offer reports of your experiences.
Make New Friends
With so many new kids on the block, it is a perfect time to make new friends and fire up some local connections. Dive with people from all walks of life and enjoy making new friends, share your passion for diving with as you explore locally together. The relationship between dive buddies is deep, enjoyable, and let’s face it your non-diving buddies are not so interested in the intricacies of your dive plan or how many Suunto Tank PODS you can wirelessly connect to your Suunto D5 dive computer!
Share With The Vibrant Community and Beyond
Ocean advocacy comes in all shapes and sizes. Sharing your diving adventures across your online social media platforms may inspire someone to start out on their diving journey or encourage divers back to the water, support recovering local communities, and help in the fight to save our water planet.
As the diving industry hypes up exploring locally safely, dive companies like Huish Outdoors are championing their followers for exploring locations on their doorsteps by encouraging them to use the tag #WEDIVELOCAL to grow the movement, promote small business and showcase dive sites less dived to keep us safer in the battle against the pandemic. Next time you spot an underwater post as you scroll through your social media take a second to absorb the message, passion, and inspiration behind it.
New Clean-Up Efforts
Be there for our water planet and remember with new exploration comes new responsibilities. Are you diving in new locations and noticing lots of debris along your way both topside and underwater? Why not think about helping to clean up – you just need something like Fourth Elements new diver debris bag you can help on each dive.
Fancy going large? When lockdown circumstances allow for gatherings, invite the locals along, get the kids involved, and split into teams of beach helpers and diver teams. For all the info you need on hosting cleans ups check out just some of the cool tools out there:
- Project Aware’s Divers Against Debris
- Marine Conservation Society Beachwatch
- Surfers Against Sewage Beach Clean
- Ocean Conservancy Start a Cleanup
As you discover new environmental habitats you can learn more about what flora and fauna are awaiting you beneath the waves. Buy a new identification book specific to your local area and enjoy marking off the species you can positively identify. With a bit of clever Googling, discover what species are being accounted for by local conservation groups and if you spot any off the lists, get reporting ASAP!