From the tropical islands of the Caribbean to the coastlines of Egypt, and even right here in the UK, PADI Eco Centres in every corner of the globe are shining examples of dive industry leaders creating local change for global results. They have been chosen by the world’s largest purpose-driven diving organisation, which is continuing to provide impactful ways for consumers to make sustainable choices with tourism operators and make lifestyle choices that benefit our shared blue planet.
Julie Andersen, PADI’s Global Director of Brand, commented: “PADI is committed to protecting 30% of the ocean by 2030, which is fuelled by creating like-minded partnerships, mobilising our PADI Mission Hub Members, re-envisioning the way people travel and encouraging daily changes we all can make for a better – and healthier – planet, with PADI Eco-Centres being the catalyst for real change in the tourism sector.”
Launching PADI Eco-Centres
Last year, PADI’s long-term partner, The Reef-World Foundation, released their study Sustainability in a Recovering Travel World, which found 95% of divers are looking for sustainable operators when booking a trip, but often struggle to book with confidence.
In response to this, PADI, with the full support of The Reef-World Foundation, has established PADI Eco-Centres, a prestigious credential awarded to those who exhibit continued commitment to conservation efforts that support both the goals and objectives of the PADI Blueprint for Ocean Action and the global agenda to protect the ocean.
The PADI Eco-Centre credentials designate members who exemplify environmental stewardship in their operations, with the ultimate goal is to connect ocean lovers with sustainability leaders in the dive industry through a rigorous verification that gives travellers the confidence that their tourism dollars are going to make a positive impact.
PADI Eco-Centre criteria
The robust PADI Eco-Centre verification process is performed in conjunction with PADI’s partner The Reef-World Foundation and their United Nations Green Fins Initiative. Three sets of criteria must be achieved by PADI Members to demonstrate an exemplary level of environmental best practices above and beneath the surface.
Requiring approximately a year’s elapsed time to officially become verified, the process integrates the core values of conservation and sustainability across the entire PADI network.
1. Take Part in AWARE’s Adopt the Blue
PADI Eco-Centres must adopt and protect at least one local dive site through PADI AWARE’s Adopt the Blue programme, which is the world’s largest network of ocean conservation sites on the planet and a pre-cursor to establishing protection in the area.
By adopting a local dive site, PADI Eco-Centres are extending local conservation efforts to rid the ocean of marine debris, protecting vulnerable species, restoring coral reefs and tackling the effects of climate change.
The goal of this programme is to accelerate the creation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and empower both divers and Dive Centres to protect what they love. By doing this, PADI Eco-Centres are also creating opportunities for divers and non-divers alike to engage in hands-on conservation activities in the form of citizen science and data collection, local and global policy advocacy, and educational opportunities for all ages.”
2. Being a Green Fins Member
PADI Eco-Centres must also be a Reef-World’s Green Fins Member and practice the environmental guidelines outlined to ensure sustainability.
Operated by the United Nations, the Green Fins Membership exists to protect the ocean’s eco-system and can be obtained through an in-person assessment with a local Green Fins team or online through a digital membership. Once verified as a member, the dive centre or resort commits to creating and enacting a minimum of three conservation actions as well as adhering to the Green Fins Code of Conduct – an internationally recognized best environmental practice for divers.
3. Achieving a Threshold of Conservation Achievement
Finally, PADI Eco-Centres must provide proof of their conservation actions within the Green Fins ranking system. This can range from teaching PADI AWARE courses to running citizen science initiatives or local beach clean-ups, with the dive centre or resort sharing measurable progress in reducing their environmental footprint.
PADI Eco-Centres are not just advocating for positive ocean change, but they are actively leading the way forward to create a better future for our shared blue planet.
Wherever you find them, PADI Eco-Centres reliably ensure that the cost of their marine adventure goes hand in hand with the protection and restoration of natural resources and the well-being of local communities.
Below are the first 11 PADI Eco-Centres that have been hand-selected by PADI to represent the true ethos of the programme.
1. Red Sea Diving Safaris | Egypt
With three villages along the southern Red Sea coastline in Marsa Alam, Red Sea Diving Safaris is one of Egypt’s leading environmental activists and pioneer of sustainable tourism development, offering scuba divers a chance to give back to local communities and coastlines.
2. Dive Ninja Expeditions | Mexico
Marine research and conservation has always been at the heart of Dive Ninja Expeditions, who are focused on bridging the gaps between tourism, science and conservation in Baja, Mexico. From supporting the local community through a scholarship programme to conducting vital marine research, Dive Ninja Expeditions is creating opportunities for divers to connect, gain unique citizen science skillsets, and personally drive ocean change.
3. Fifth Point Diving Centre | UK
Believing that every adventure can protect the ocean, Fifth Point Diving Centre offers scuba divers the chance to book eco-adventure holidays as well as empowering the younger generations of scuba divers and professionals to take the leading role in creating positive ocean change.
4. Silent World | USA
Making every dive course or adventure memorable by integrating conservation efforts and minimizing crowds, Silent World in Key Largo makes saving the ocean and exploring beneath the surface stress free in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
5. Excel Scuba | Spain
Located in the Canary Islands, this PADI Eco-Centre is committed to protecting the beautiful coastlines and offering internship programmes to the local community so they can not only change the course of their career opportunities, but also educate others about the importance of conservation.
6. Ceningan | Indonesia
Recognized globally as one of the most eco-friendly dive resorts, Cenigan Divers have already won numerous industry sustainability awards and are ranked among the top three Green Fins operators in the world and operate in the Nusa Penida Marine Protected Area.
7. Sea Voice Divers | Malaysia
Sea Voice Divers is a small but mighty PADI Eco-Centre in Malaysia determined to represent the voices of the ocean by keeping their dive groups small, running numerous conservation programmes and encouraging all their customers and team members to obtain their AWARE Specialist certification.
8. Scuba Elite | Bonaire
Committed to supporting their community, Scuba Elite supports educating and empowering both local youths and visitors in how to protect the coastline and coral reefs that are critical to the eco-system through their PADI Reef Renewal Specialty Course.
9. Evolution | Philippines
Evolution is a small owner operated PADI Eco-Centre located on Malapascua Island who are committed to not only taking guests beneath the surface to explore some of the best dive sites in the world, but equally ensuring that every dive is a Dive Against Debris dive.
10. Scubacao Diving Adventures | Curacao
Not only is Scubaco Diving Adventures a great place to learn to dive on holiday, but offer divers the chance to give back to our shared blue planet through offering the PADI Reef Renewal Specialty and providing volunteer opportunities to protect the local coral reefs.
11. Oceans Unlimited, Costa Rica
Located on the Pacific Coast side of Costa Rica, Oceans Unlimited is a PADI Eco-Centre that works alongside local non-profit Marine Conservation Costa Rica to run a coral restoration programme in Quepos and provide both education and outreach opportunities to locals and visitors alike.