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.
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:
- Proactively care for the aquatic environment
- Passively interact with underwater environments and animals
- Indirectly teach and inspire others to conserve and respect the ocean and its inhabitants.
Some examples of these behaviors might include things like:
- Taking the PADI Project AWARE Course
- Taking extra care while taking photos or video underwater
- Never touching marine wildlife
- Using tools like the Green Fins member guide to find dive shops and boats that encourage role model behavior in their staff and guests
- Speaking about the importance of awareness both on land and underwater at a local school or community group
- 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.
Pumpkins. And zombies. Underwater.
Join Blue Planet for a weekend of Halloween fun at Dutch Springs! In addition to our regular classes, we’ll be running a couple of new specialties in honor of the season.
- Open Water Diver
- Advanced Open Water Diver
- Rescue Diver
- Underwater Pumpkin Carving
- Zombie Apocalypse Diver
- plus other specialties
Underwater Pumpkin Carving
Yes, it’s a specialty! Learn how to enhance your underwater pumpkin carving skills while maintaining proper buoyancy, keeping all of your appendages intact and having fun with your dive buddies! There will be prizes for most original design, scariest pumpkin and more. Course fee: $95
Zombie Apocalypse Diver
Are YOU ready for the zombie apocalypse?! If not, join us at Dutch Springs October 28-29, 2017 for a fun and challenging dive course to hone your skills for an impending apocalypse. You will learn about Zombie Biology and History, Types of Zombies and Real Life Zombies, plus Survival Skills, Buoyancy Skills, Search and Recovery Skills, Rescue and First-Aid Skills. Course fee: $195
Time to get your Halloween scare on! Come meet other local divers and get scared silly at Markoff’s Haunted Forest with Blue Planet. The forest trail is a pure adrenaline rush, and it only gets better year after year!
When: Saturday, November 2, 2019 at 5:00 PM (meet at the shop at 5 PM or meet us at Markoff’s, time TBD)
Markoff’s Haunted Forest
19120 Martinsburg Road
Dickerson, MD 20842
How much: $25 and up — Tickets are available online now: https://app.calleva.org/tickets/. Don’t wait — that evening WILL sell out!
FYI the Haunted Forest is a fundraiser for Calleva. The funds raised go towards a variety of scholarships, school discounts, and developmental projects. Get skeered while doing good!
Training, gear and sites to dive in cooler waters
We get it…warm water diving is great! But how many amazing dives sites are you missing out on if you aren’t willing to dive in cooler water? Extend your dive season and expand your options by learning the joys and basics of submerging yourself in sites outside the tropic. Valerie will discuss the gear you need, how to plan your dives and some of the exciting places you can go! Umm, California dreaming, anyone??
When: Tuesday, October 22 starting at 7:00 PM
Where: Blue Planet shop
Enjoy the last of the warmer weather with Blue Planet divers on the rooftop at Mellow Mushroom, a pizza joint in Adams Morgan. Share dive stories, meet new buddies and relax with great food and drinks.
When: Tuesday, October 15, 2019 starting at 6:00 PM
Where: Mellow Mushroom; 2436 18th St NW (near the corner with Columbia Rd NW), Washington, DC 20009.
Mark your calendar and get ready to come on in to the shop on Saturday, September 28th for our Fall Clearance Sale! We’ve pulled together discontinued or overstocked items that need to go and are offering them at super-low prices. This is a one-day sale so be sure not to miss it!
Trade in your old dive computer for 20% off a new Suunto computer
Buy an Aqua Lung BCD + regulator and get a free octo or Airsource!
Amazing BCD + regulator + computer packages from Aqua Lung
Plus so much more…
20% off all wetsuits, including special orders
50% off select fins
60% off select masks, fins and boots
60% off select BCDs
60% off select dive lights
Amazing prices on used rental gear:
80% off Aqua Lung 7mm wetsuits
60% off Aqua Lung drysuits
70% off Aqua Lung i300 dive computers
60% off Aqua Lung Titan LX regulators (first and second stage plus ABS octo)
There’s never been a better time to invest in a new dive computer!
Suunto has dropped their prices across the board in order to be more competitively priced with the market, making their high performance products more accessible to our divers!
Looking for a computer with more features? Check out the new, lower prices on these best-sellers:
Suunto’s iconic Zoop Dive computer
Was $329 – now $299
Suunto’s Vyper Novo is a step up from the Zoop with an added digital compass and optional air integration.
Was $729 – now $474.95
All D4i Series computers come with optional air integration and loads of color options!
Was $825 – now $499.95
A step up from the D4i Series dive computers is the D6i Series. With a metal housing, the D6i Series comes with a digital compass and optional air integration.
Was $1174.95 – now $999.95
Suunto’s EON Core represents the new direction of future dive computers. The EON Core is rechargeable, has a color LED screen and connects via Bluetooth to your mobile device for logging dives! And of course it has optional air integration!
Was $999.95 – now $899.95
After the success of the EON Core, Suunto unveiled the D5. The wrist watch sized version of the EON Core with many of the features of the larger version. You can also change out the wrist band for a huge selection of offerings from Suunto!
Starting at $849.95
While the EON Core and D5 use a different system for air integration, the Suunto Transmitter works with all the D Series computers and the Vyper Air.
Was $449.95 – now $399.95
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
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.
3. Use your voice
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
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?
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!
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!
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