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Don’t Touch Mantas! Actually…Don’t Touch Any Marine Life!

Crazy things can happen when you don’t give the ocean the respect it deserves.

photo by Marcelo Simoes

Imagine how minuscule it seems to pick up a shell that you see on the bottom of the sea, only to realize that the shell that has the ability to kill you. Or consider the beautiful Manta Ray. Not only will you scare away the graceful and elegant Manta Ray, but you can also cause damage and death to the animal. Just a slight touch of a human hand can disturb the mucus coating that is on their skin, causing bacteria infiltration and infection. Harm is something none of us want to do to the beautiful creatures we see in the underwater world.

So, what does a person need to know in regards to scuba etiquette and avoiding harming sea life that is so enchanting? Here are a few things to think about the next time you slip those fins on…

Tip Number One: Keep your hands to yourself, or the consequences could be fatal. As mentioned before, something as small as a shell could cause serious harm if picked up by a human hand. For example, the cone shell is home to an animal that is outfitted with a nasty ability to give a sting that can affect the entire body, if not kill the person. Not only could you hurt a beautiful creature like a Manta Ray if you touch it, but you could also be hurt yourself. Keep things safe for all concerned and keep your hands in your invisible pockets.

Tip Number 2: Don’t be a human bully. What does that mean exactly? Well, humans sometimes think it is ok to get into the space of the creatures of the sea. It is incredibly important to not get too close, and, instead, give them plenty of space. If not, the repercussions can be huge. Beyond disturbing the animal’s natural habitat, you can also put yourself in danger’s way. Take for instance, a whale shark. Although they are friendly creatures, getting too close and scaring the fish could result in you getting hit by their massive tail which will cause massive contusions.

photo by Marcelo Simoes

Tip Number 3: Leave the coral alone. In addition to Manta Rays, fish, and other sea life, coral is another living organism in the ocean that needs to be left alone. Although coral doesn’t necessarily look like it is a thriving being, it is actually a fragile animal that deserves respect. The mere touch of a hand or fin can result in killing the coral. The slight brushing of a human’s hand or flipper can act as a poison to the coral. Another repercussion is that coral can cut you. So keep yourself and the coral safe, and just stay clear from touching it.

Tip Number 4: Refrain from giving food to fish. Although some guide groups have been known to feed fish to increase the fun, it is best to not do so. Why? Because feeding the fish not only negatively influences the ecosystem but it also not healthy for the fish. Not to mention you can sometime trick the fish into coming closer to you by just pretending that you are sprinkling food in front of you.

photo by Marcelo Simoes

Tip Number 5: Be aware of what sunscreen you use. It may not be the first thing on your mind when you are packing for a scuba diving trip, but the sunscreen you use could be detrimental to the ocean world you are going to see. It is proven that some sunscreen ingredients actually kill reefs. To avoid adding to the problem be sure you use biodegradable sunscreen.