Project AWARE Tips 1 & 2

I am a buoyancy expert⁣

As some of the few people on the planet lucky enough to see the underwater world up close it is up to us to encourage responsible behavior both on dives and on the surface by modelling these good behaviors ourselves. ⁣

This can mean ensuring we have perfect underwater buoyancy in order to help protect delicate ecosystems. Marine life is often far more fragile than we imagine which makes good buoyancy control critical every time you dive. Even one bump from a fin or brush of a hand can destroy decades of coral growth or cause harm to a plant or animal. Additionally, excellent buoyancy uses less air which in turn allows you more bottom time – something we all love!

But gliding effortlessly through the water, perfectly neutral and in control can be tricky, which is why PADI developed the Peak Performance Buoyancy class to help speed up your ability to maintain excellent buoyancy on every dive. Given the importance of good buoyancy both for you and our underwater ecosystem, we encourage every new diver to take this class and then log as much dive time as possible as buoyancy expertise really comes with practice, practice, practice. 

Peak Performance Buoyancy Scuba Diver

I am a role model⁣

As a diver, you see firsthand the results of carelessness and neglect underwater. Set a good example in your own interactions so that others can learn from you. As a Project AWARE role models, we: 

  1. Proactively care for the aquatic environment
  2. Passively interact with underwater environments and animals
  3. Indirectly teach and inspire others to conserve and respect the ocean and its inhabitants.

Some examples of these behaviors might include things like: 

  1. Taking the PADI Project AWARE Course
  2. Taking extra care while taking photos or video underwater
  3. Never touching marine wildlife 
  4. Using tools like the Green Fins member guide to find dive shops and boats that encourage role model behavior in their staff and guests
  5. Speaking about the importance of awareness both on land and underwater at a local school or community group
  6. Making good ecological choices whenever you can both while diving and in everyday life, such as picking up trash and disposing of it properly

Take the first step today to become a more AWARE diver by taking the Project AWARE 10 Tips Pledge.

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Categories: Conservation, News

AWARE Week 2019: What do we do now?

If you have followed along with us and our AWARE Week 2019 posts this past week then you know that being an AWARE diver involves more than your actions underwater.

Being an AWARE diver involves taking steps across your whole life in order to help protect and conserve the ocean.

While some of us are lucky enough to live right on the coast or on beautiful islands that top every diver’s bucket list, most of us don’t. As a result we can face a bit of the “out of sight, out of mind” challenge when it comes to being active ocean conservationists.

But just because we don’t live directly on the coast does not mean that our actions do not still have impacts on the ocean. Here are a few ways those of us who live in landlocked places like Washington DC can incorporate the AWARE principles into our everyday lives:

1. Participate in local clean ups

Trash that ends up in waterways like the Potomac River, Chesapeake Bay, or Rock Creek matters just as much as trash that is directly thrown in the ocean!

Part of being an AWARE diver includes thinking about the ecosystem holistically and considering how all of our waterways are connected through the watershed. A plastic bottle that enters the Chesapeake Bay watershed through the Rock Creek is just as damaging as one which winds up in the Atlantic Ocean in Ocean City.

You can learn more about marine debris in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and the mid-Atlantic and what you can do to help here.

Blue Planet regularly hosts clean ups around the DC area and organizes Dives Against Debris in the Chesapeake Bay during the summer months.

2. Reduce sneaky plastic waste

A huge source of microplastics starts right in our homes in our laundry! It is estimated that a single, medium size, load of laundry can release more than 700,000 microplastic particles.

Man-made fabrics like polyester, nylon, and acrylic (aka your fancy technical athletic shirt and pricey leggings) break down in washing machines washing billions of microplastic particles into the wastewater systems. Because these particles are so small they are not filtered out during traditional wastewater treatment processes and as a result end up being washed into the local waterways.

Adding a Cora Ball to your laundry or using the Guppy Friend laundry bag are two easy ways to help cut down on this in home source of plastic pollution in addition to switching to natural fabrics.

3. Use your voice

Divers at the 2018 March for the Ocean

Speak up in favor of local and federal legislation which support conservation measures, encourage changes in production, and that support carbon offset and reduction initiatives. Following organizations like Oceana is an easy way to find out about major federal legislative actions which will impact the ocean.

Ask local companies that you patronize to incorporate sustainable changes. If enough of a business’s customers vocalize support for sustainable actions like reducing food waste and better recycling practices they will be more likely to incorporate these changes into their business models.

When you patronize large multinational corporations be sure to research the company and the products you buy from them. Ensure sustainability and transparency are priorities and avoid those items that are derived from palm (palm oil and palm sugar) and squalene (cosmetics, fish liver oil, and pet food). Remember, money talks!

4. Choose less meat

Making smarter seafood choices using tools like using the Seafood Watch guide or looking for the MSC blue fish label are great ways to ensure you are making ocean smart dietary choices. But being AWARE means taking a bigger look at the impact our diets have on the world.

Current factory livestock farming practices are one of the biggest contributors to deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, ocean dead zones, and water shortages. Going meat free even one day a week can have major benefits both for you and the environment.

Understanding the role our diets play in climate change can seem like a daunting subject to understand and thinking about how to make smarter choices can be overwhelming. There are a number of resources out there which can help you understand your diet and the environment like the interactive New York Times guide to Food and Climate Change.


Incorporating AWARE principles into your life outside of the ocean can seem like a daunting task. But being an AWARE conservationist does not have to be a challenge. Simple changes like eating one less meat centered meal per week or participating in one local waterway clean up can have positive impacts not just on the environment but can also inspire behavioral changes in your friends, loved ones, and community.

Remember that a lot of people making small changes actually means big changes are occurring.

“You are not a drop in the ocean, You are the entire ocean in one drop.” -Emily De Sousa

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Categories: Conservation, News

AWARE Week 2019!

Happy AWARE Week 2019!

As a 100% AWARE dive shop we here at Blue Planet DC are especially excited for AWARE Week 2019 and we hope you are too. To kick off the week, let’s take a brief look at the history and mission of Project AWARE.

What is Project AWARE?

Project AWARE began as a set of environmental ethics held by PADI instructors and incorporated into the PADI teaching methodology. These included the 10 Tips for Divers to Protect the Environment which were originally called the 10 Ways. In 1989, PADI founded Project AWARE as a separate non-profit entity fully focused on protecting our oceans.

Today, Project AWARE is involved in marine conservation efforts around the world. This includes supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals, contributing to the protection of sharks through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), as well as providing small grants to communities researching ways to protect and conserve the ocean. A full list of Project AWARE’s partners and alliances can be found here.

In addition to the active role it plays in different marine conservation efforts globally, Project AWARE provides educational tools to dive shops, tour operators and divers. As divers are often the first to witness changes in the ocean that can be overwhelming, tools like the Project AWARE “10 Tips for Divers to Protect the Environment” can prove beneficial.

What are the “10 Tips”?

What can you do right now?

First, sign the Project AWARE pledge, download your personal copy of the10 Tips, and join us and many of your fellow divers dedicated to ocean protection.

Then, follow Blue Planet on Instagram and Facebook all week as we explore the Project AWARE 10 Tips each day and how to apply these tips to our diving habits and our everyday life. We’ll be sharing information about ways to get involved with conservation, ongoing research, current events in marine conservation, as well as lots of Blue Planet classes and trips.

And finally, sure to stop by the shop and check out all of the Project AWARE classes we offer and join us for a local clean up. There are lots of ways you can take action this week!

Happy AWARE Week 2019!

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Categories: Conservation, News

AWARE Week 2019: Take Action for a Clean Ocean

In celebration of the ocean, the second annual AWARE Week is taking place around the world September 14-22, 2019. Aimed at empowering more divers to look after the underwater world, a full week of conservation activities and actions will take place.

Blue Planet has teamed up with Project AWARE and PADI to host a week full of activities for divers and other ocean-lovers in DC. From AWARE courses focused on tackling ocean pollution, to creating awareness for vulnerable shark and ray species, to empowering local communities to take positive actions for the protection of fragile aquatic environments, all are welcome — fins on and fins off.

Check out the schedule below and sign up for an event today!

Saturday, September 7
AWARE Shark Conservation Diver Specialty — Classroom presentation. Join us on a Blue Planet trip to complete the two open water dives required for the specialty!

Friday-Sunday, September 13-15
Wreck Diving in North Carolina — Earn the Fish ID or AWARE Shark Conservation Diver specialties! (FULL)

Tuesday, September 17
Project AWARE Specialty — Bring a friend for free!

Thursday, September 19
AWARE Coral Reef Conservation Specialty — Bring a friend for free!

Saturday-Wednesday, September 21-25
Coral Restoration trip to the Florida Keys — Earn the Coral Restoration Distinctive Specialty, Fish ID and AWARE Shark Conservation Diver!

Saturday, September 21
International Coastal Cleanup: Dive Against Debris @ Sandy Point State Park

Sunday, September 22
International Coastal Cleanup @ Rock Creek Park

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Categories: Cleanups, Conservation, Events, News

International Coastal Cleanup - Dive Against Debris - September 21, 2019

Here are 4 reasons you should join us for this event…

1) It’s the International Coastal Cleanup day! Join thousands of volunteers around the world and keep our seas trash-free.

2) It’s AWARE Week! All week long we’ll be hosting events for divers who want to protect our oceans.

3) Earn a specialty! Help clean up the Chesapeake and Sandy Point State Park and earn a specialty certification while you’re at it. Let us know if you are interested in the Dive Against Debris Specialty and getting one step closer to your Master Scuba Diver rating.

4) Non-divers are welcome too! Your friends and family can help pick up trash along the shore while we search underwater.

Dive Against DebrisDetails

When: Saturday, September 21, 2019 starting at 8:00 AM

Where: Sandy Point State Park1100 East College Parkway, Annapolis, MD 21409

We can do a picnic brunch on the beach following the dive, or head into downtown Annapolis. Carpooling is recommended! We’ll put together a ride list once people have signed up.

RSVP: Send us an email to let us know you’re interested. Space is limited, so don’t wait!

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Categories: Cleanups, Conservation, Events, Local Diving, News

International Coastal Cleanup - September 22, 2019

Join the Blue Planet Stream Team in cleaning up our adopted portion of Rock Creek Park as part of the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup!

WHEN: Sunday, September 22 from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

WHERE: Meet up in the parking lot across from Peirce Mill on Tilden Street right before it crosses Beach Drive and turns into Park Road. It’s about a 15-20 minute walk from the Cleveland Park Metro station.

WHAT TO BRING: Wear comfortable clothes and shoes (you may get wet). Bring yard gloves if you have them. And don’t forget water — in a reusable container, of course.

IMPORTANT: Please click here to be directed to an online waiver which all attendees must complete!

RSVP: Please RSVP on our Facebook event page, or just email the shop!

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Categories: Cleanups, Conservation, Events, News

Happy Hour: Why Sharks Matter - August 27, 2019

Feeling inspired by Shark Week? Come to this special talk by Dr. David Shiffman to learn more about sharks, the threats they face and how we can help protect them as divers.

Dr. David Shiffman is a marine conservation biologist studying sharks, and an award winning conservation biologist. He’s written for the “Washington Post” and “Scientific American” and has a monthly column in “SCUBA Diving” magazine. Follow him on Twitter @whysharksmatter where he’s always happy to answer any questions anyone has about sharks.

When: Tuesday, June 25, 2019 starting at 7:00 PM

Where: Rosemary’s Thyme Bistro (1801 18th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009)

RSVP via Facebook or email

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Categories: Conservation, Events, News

It's July! Time for the Great Annual Fish Count

Make a difference in marine conservation — join REEF’s Great Annual Fish Count! Every July, divers and snorkelers across the world join to learn about marine diversity and conduct fish surveys as a part of REEF’s ongoing Volunteer Fish Survey Project.

In honor of the occasion, Blue Planet will be offering a special on Fish ID classes:

REEF Fish Identification Travel EditionSign up for a Fish ID class in the month of July and once you complete your 2 training dives with Blue Planet on a trip, we’ll give you a free copy of the Reef Fish Identification (Travel Edition): Caribbean, Bahamas, South Florida!

  1. Sign up for the AWARE Fish ID specialty class with us.
  2. You can complete the classroom training with us on Thursday, July 25 or another time; we hold classes every month.
  3. Then join us on any of our trips and we can complete your two training dives. We’ll teach you the basics of fish identification and how to run your own fish surveys and then report your results to REEF.

How does this help conservation efforts?
Once your survey information is submitted online to REEF, the data are processed via REEF’s standardized data management and quality control protocols and then are uploaded into a centralized database that is available on REEF’s website. In addition to use by the general and diving public, the data are available to scientists and resource managers.

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Categories: Conservation, Events, News

PADI Women's Dive Day - July 20, 2019

Join the ladies of Blue Planet for a special Dive Against Debris!

Although pretty much every day is Women’s Dive Day here at Blue Planet, we’re joining divers all over the world to celebrate women in diving! This year we’re heading back to Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis for a Dive Against Debris followed by brunch.

When: Saturday, July 20, 2019 starting at 8:00 AM

Where: Sandy Point State Park1100 East College Parkway, Annapolis, MD 21409

We can do a picnic brunch on the beach following the dive, or head into downtown Annapolis.

Carpooling is recommended! We’ll put together a ride list once people have signed up.

RSVP: Send us an email to let us know you’re interested. Space is limited, so don’t wait!

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Categories: Cleanups, Conservation, Events, Local Diving, News

Rock Creek Clean-up - Sunday, June 30, 2019

Join the Blue Planet Stream Team and Rock Creek Conservancy in the fight against plastics and marine debris as we clean up Rock Creek. Start your Sunday off with some good karma and enjoy our nation’s third oldest national park!

When: Sunday, June 30, 2019 from 10 AM – 12 PM

Where: Meet up in the parking lot across from Pierce Mill on Tilden Street right before it crosses Beach Drive and turns into Park Road. It’s about a 15-20 minute walk from the Cleveland Park Metro station.

What to bring: Wear comfortable clothes and shoes (you may get wet). Bring yard gloves if you have them. And don’t forget water — in a reusable container, of course.

RSVP: Please sign up by clicking here and RSVP on our Facebook event page, or just email the shop!

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Categories: Cleanups, Conservation, Events, News

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Blue Planet Scuba
1755 S Street NW
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(202) 527-9419
info@blueplanetdc.com

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