Sanctuary Friends Foundation supports the FKNMS's Blue Star Program
Why Practice Responsible Diving and Snorkeling?
Threat to Florida’s coral reefs are cumulative and originate at local, regional, and global levels. In theory, non-consumptive diving and snorkeling would have no impact on coral reefs. In practice, divers and snorkelers make contact with the coral reef or cause stress to marine life as a result of inexperience, careless dive or snorkel practices, poor training or lack of awareness. While diver and snorkeler impacts are not a major contributor to reef decline on the larger scale, they can be a significant source of decline on heavily visited reef sites due to repeated, cumulative impacts. Unlike some of the major causes of reef decline, divers and snorkeler impacts represent a source of stress that is entirely preventable through local action.
What is Blue Star?
Blue Star is a voluntary program established by the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) to reduce the impact of divers and snorkelers on the local coral reef ecosystem. By forming a partnership with commercial operators to educate their customers about the fragile nature of the coral reef ecosystem, the purpose and goals of the FKNMS, and diving and snorkeling etiquette individuals can use to make a difference.
Purpose of Blue Star:
• Reduce the amount of damage to coral reefs caused by divers and snorkelers by emphasizing proper etiquette and empowering individual divers with the right information.
• Increase knowledge among divers, snorkelers, and charter boat owners and staff about the purpose, goals and objectives of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and engage them as partners in coral reef conservation.
• Educate the public about the importance of responsible diving and snorkeling in the coral reef ecosystem.