Coral reefs are predicted to become extinct within the next century. The coral and marine life on these underwater reefs are exotic and beautiful. If you have never been snorkeling before, it is high time you try it! But be sure to keep these coral-friendly snorkeling tips in mind to help protect this fragile ecosystem.
Do not touch, walk or stand on coral. Even slightly touching or dragging your snorkeling gear over coral can kill an entire colony.
Do not remove anything living or dead from coral reefs, except recent trash.
Do not feed fish or other marine organisms. Fish can become dependent on food being given to them instead of naturally foraging for food.
Be aware of where you enter and exit when snorkeling to avoid stepping on coral.
Try to step on sand and gravel around the coral without disturbing it.
Keep your fins from kicking up sand and harming coral. Stirred up sand can block sunlight from getting to the zooxanthellae- the algae living in corals that provides nutrients for the coral through photosynthesis.
Swim slowly and horizontally. This way you will be able to avoid touching coral by accident and getting stung by marine organisms.
Swim with your feet, not your hands. Consider wearing a flotation device if you are a new swimmer or are likely to get tired of swimming.
When on a snorkeling excursion, make sure the boat uses established moorings- anchors and chains can kill corals. Also make sure all garbage is stowed away on board.