Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, in partnership with Tourism and Events Queensland and the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators, has launched a Master Reef Guides program.
The official guides will be there to provide insight and knowledge about the barrier reef to visitors. In the last month, the first class of 13 guides graduated and will be offering their services to tourists.
The guides are easily recognizable through their uniform and will be a key contact point for information on the vessels they serve on.
One of the first graduates Russel Hosp stated:
“What we want is for our guests to get accurate, up-to-date information regarding not just overall reef health, but the outlook for the future of the reef, as well as actions they can take beyond their reef visit that will help with our conservation efforts. We’re trying to turn every single passenger into an advocate for the Great Barrier Reef, and we do that by dispelling myths and setting the record straight when it comes to misinformation.”
The guides have a large degree of flexibility in how they structure their programs, depending on their itineraries.
According to Hosp:
“We run a marine conservation program with one of our operators, and part of this includes the PADI Project AWARE specialty. Now, as a Master Reef Guide, I can provide my students with more in-depth information. Also, working closer with GBRMPA will allow me to expand the use of the ‘Eye on the Reef’ program, which allows students to take the leap from learning about the steps we take to look after the Reef to actually participating in ‘citizen science’ projects and contributing to the body of knowledge about the Reef.”
You can find out more information here.