The Reef-World Foundation – international co-ordinator of the UN Environment Programme’s Green Fins initiative – has announced the launch of the updated Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course, with new contents in Green Fins’ free online course designed to teach dive professionals about the marine ecosystems in which they work and to help build on their existing scuba diving knowledge to conduct more environmentally friendly dives.
Diving-related damage to sensitive coral reefs remains an increasingly significant issue. According to the GCRMN’s The Sixth Status of Corals of the World: 2020 report, ‘reducing local pressures on coral reefs in order to maintain their resilience will be critical while global threats posed by climate change are addressed'. The Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course continues to equip dive professionals with the knowledge to manage this important issue.
Reef-World initially created the Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course in 2019 with the support of Professional SCUBA Schools International (PSS) but since 2021, the course has been independently hosted on the Green Fins website. Reef-World created the course to enable individual dive professionals to be part of the Green Fins network without their operation being a Green Fins member. To date, the course has enrolled 1,827 dive guides and instructors who have learnt how to maximise their ability to influence diver behaviour and better manage their guests to prevent them from causing damage to marine life, notably coral reefs. The Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course is still the only environmentally accredited course for dive professionals to learn best environmental practice.
The updated course now has an extended marine biology section, including lessons about coral reefs and other marine ecosystems, the latest updates in marine conservation and environmental threats; and the actions to help prevent them. Upon completing the course, there is an option to pay $25 to receive a personalised electronic certificate. All funds will be used to support Green Fins’ work worldwide to make sustainable diving the social norm. Each certificate has a validity of two years to encourage dive professionals to remain educated with the latest information.
Reef-World recommends that dive professionals retake this course every two years in order to refresh their skills and stay up to date with the latest environmental and dive industry knowledge. Just like refreshing their safety skills, refresher courses help to keep important knowledge fresh and current. Those who have completed the course can display the certificate to inform their guests that the guide is aware of reducing the environmental impacts of diving, making divers more confident about the guide and centre’s standards.
This is the first update since the course’s inception in 2019, with Reef-World now planning to update the course content annually, whilst making minor modifications throughout the year to match dive and conservation industry news and incorporating feedback from dive professionals who have taken the course.
JJ Harvey, Director at The Reef-World Foundation, said: “As global tourism slowly restarts, it’s crucial to stay up to date with the latest environmental knowledge. To protect coral reefs and minimise local threats to allow them to be more resilient and the chance to recover from other wider stressors effects such as climate change. Reef-World aims to continue providing dive professionals with the latest marine conservation and dive industry updates to help preserve the coral reef ecosystems, which many rely on for food, coastal protection, and income from tourism and fisheries.”
The Andrea Leeman Green Fins Dive Guide Scholarship Fund is still available for those who cannot afford the certificate personally or through their employers. This is funded purely from generous donations from the general public.
Green Fins is the only internationally recognised environmental standard for dive and snorkel operators, established through a partnership between the UN Environment Programme and The Reef-World Foundation. Green Fins uses a unique and proven three-pronged approach; green certifications of dive centres, strengthening regulations and environmental education for dive staff, divers and government.