Do Your Bit To Help Protect Our Coral Reefs
There is nothing better after a good day’s sailing than cooling down by having a swim and a snorkel. We are fortunate to have some great snorkel spots in the British Virgin Islands with healthy coral reefs. We want to keep them that way. Coral reefs are important for many different reasons and we kindly ask that you do your bit to help protect coral reefs in the BVI!
So why are reefs so important? Not only are they spectacular to view but they protect coastlines from the damaging effects of wave action and tropical storms, provide habitats and shelter for many marine organisms, and are the source of nitrogen and other essential nutrients for marine food chains. That’s why we ask all visitors to help to protect our reefs.
We can all do our bit to help protect our reefs. Here are a few, simple ways you can help whilst chartering:
- Always use National Parks mooring balls, it’s illegal to anchor in the Parks. Elsewhere, never anchor over reefs, always anchor in sand only.
- Use your holding tank. Sewage is full of nutrients, and coral reefs require very high-water quality—which means clear water, free of nutrients.
- No spearfishing. Spearfishing is illegal for non-residents as the risk to damage to the coral is too great.
- Check your sunscreen. Bring sunscreens that are reef safe. Common chemical sunscreen ingredients, such as oxybenzone, can kill coral and damage coral reefs. Reef safe screens will be labeled so.
- Be careful with trash. Keep your cockpit clear of empty packets and plastic bottles to avoid a gust of wind sending them overboard. Take your trash ashore and make sure it goes in the appropriate disposal units. Never throw cigarette ends overboard or on land/beaches.
- Cleaning materials. As mentioned earlier, reefs thrive in clean water so keep the use of chemicals to an absolute minimum, if you have to use at all!
- Conserve water – the less water you use, the less wastewater and chemicals will pollute our oceans
- When you visit a coral reef, practice reef safe diving and snorkeling. Do not stand on or touch the reef.
And what do you get in return? The opportunity to view these amazing reefs for many years to come!
Thank you for helping us to preserve the wonderful marine environment.