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Is Snorkeling Bad for Coral Reefs?

Snorkel Adventure & Reef Excursion

Snorkeling is one of the activities that many people find interesting, especially those who have a passion for the seas and aquatic creatures. However, what many snorkelers might not know is that this interesting hobby can be dangerous for coral reefs. Marine species use coral reefs as their habitat and these reefs are sensitive structures that are already being affected by climate change, pollution, and overfishing.

When careless snorkeling is included among the threats, these ecosystems can be on the verge of collapse. Here are reasons why snorkeling is bad for coral reefs and how hiring professional snorkeling services is good for the reefs.

What Are Coral Reefs?

Coral reef is considered to be the sea’s rainforest due to the high levels of species diversity. They are built by small animals known as coral polyps that surround themselves with a rigid external structure. It takes thousands of years for such skeletons to pile up and form the reefs that we witness today. Coral reefs are home and source of food for most species ranging from the smallest fish to the biggest fish in the sea such as sharks. They also safeguard shorelines from being washed away and are also a source of revenue for millions of people because of tourist attractions and sales of fish.

Effects Of Snorkeling On Coral Reefs

Snorkeling in itself does not pose a threat to the reef. The issue comes in when snorkelers are not cautious or even informed on how to go about their visit to the reef habitat. Here are some ways in which snorkeling can damage coral reefs.

  • Physical Contact: One of the biggest problems is that snorkelers touch the corals with their hands or stand on them. Coral is extremely sensitive and can easily be chipped or cracked with even the slightest of pressure. Walking on it can lead to the destruction of the coral, including the polyps, which leads to the elimination of the home of many sea creatures.
  • Kicking Up Sediment: If snorkelers move too close to the bottom, they may kick up some sediment in the process. This sediment can accumulate on coral and obscure the light that is needed for the algae living in the coral to do photosynthesis. If this process is not carried out, the coral can get stressed and eventually die.
  • Chemical Pollution: Some creams that snorkelers apply on their skin such as sunscreen are known to harm the coral in one way or the other. These chemicals have a tendency of being washed off in the water and can harm or lead to the death of coral polyps.
  • Improper Disposal of Waste: It is important that snorkelers dispose of their trash appropriately since failure to do this can lead to pollution. Litter and other related materials can cover the coral and affect any marine organisms that depend on the reef.

Why Professional Snorkeling Services Are Needed

The following are the main ways through which the services of professional snorkeling companies can make a huge difference in the protection of coral reefs. Here’s how they can help.

  • Education: Snorkeling professionals who take snorkelers out to sea explain to them the value of the coral reefs and how they should be approached. Some of the things that can be done include; educating the snorkelers not to touch the coral, to swim horizontally, and not to stand as well as avoiding kicking up sediment.
  • Eco-Friendly Practices: Most snorkeling companies advocate for customers to use the right products such as reef safe sunscreens and make them aware of the impacts of others. They also make sure that all waste is disposed of appropriately and that the reef environment is not polluted.
  • Supervision: The presence of experienced guides means that there is someone who will be there to monitor and correct improper behavior. This minimizes the chances of the reef being damaged by boats and other underwater activities.

Where To Go For A Coral Reef Friendly Snorkeling In Kona

Kona Ocean Adventures is the best Coral Reef Friendly Snorkeling In Kona place to go for cruises, scuba diving, and snorkeling in Kona, HI. We accommodate beginners and you do not need to bring your snorkeling equipment with you. Our snorkel guides, dive masters, and instructors have years of experience in this field.

If you are interested in going on a snorkeling tour without damaging the coral reefs, then we are here to help you. Give us a call at 808-930-9861, or book your next tour with us online.