How Divers Can Help with coral conservation

Divers should stay informed about where stony coral tissue loss disease is present, use proper diving techniques and decontaminate dive gear between dives as well as before and after each dive excursion, especially when traveling from infected to uninfected locations or to and from other countries.

After a dive, immediately rinse your gear to remove debris and sediment. Use a bleach solution to sanitize nonsensitive gear that might get close to corals. Wash other gear in fresh water with an antibacterial soap. Use quaternary ammonium solutions to decontaminate dive gear after returning to shore. For the internal bladder of your buoyancy compensator (BC), pour approximately 1 pint (0.5 liters) of disinfecting solution into the mouthpiece of the BC’s exhaust hose while depressing the exhaust button, fully inflate the BC, and gently rotate it in all directions. Let it sit for 10 minutes, and then flush twice with fresh water.
Regulators, computers, gauges and other sensitive equipment should soak for 20 minutes in a solution of warm water and antibacterial dish soap or OdoBan disinfectant. Rinse in fresh water, and air dry. Thoroughly rinse underwater camera housings with fresh water, and press the buttons or levers to ensure no particulates become lodged. You can also thoroughly wipe sensitive gear with isopropyl alcohol. It is important to properly dispose of disinfectant solutions and rinse water in a sink, tub or shower. Never pour these liquids into the ocean or a storm drain.

Divers can report coral conditions to the Southeast Florida Action Network (SEAFAN), the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s public reporting tool for protecting southeastern Florida’s coral reefs. Reporting observations greatly enhances scientific knowledge of disease presence and helps to identify key areas for targeted research and interventions. The observations also help to identify particularly valuable and resilient reefs that may remain healthy. Training is available for those who wish to participate. For
more information, visit

Restoration of the most resilient species of corals will be key to the future of reefs in Florida and around the world. Nonprofit organizations such as Mote Marine Laboratory and the Coral Restoration Foundation use volunteer divers to assist with maintaining coral nurseries and outplanting corals on the reefs. As stony coral tissue loss disease wanes, either naturally or due to human intervention, restoration efforts will ramp up to new levels.

For restoration to be successful, we must relieve stress on the ecosystem — an effort that involves every resident of and visitor to Florida — by improving water quality, reducing runoff and keeping trash contained. Use reef-friendly sunscreen, and wear sun-protection clothing. Practice safe boating, and use mooring buoys to avoid anchor damage to corals. Opt for sustainable seafood to address overfishing.

Coral reefs cover less than 1 percent of the Earth’s surface but are home to 25 percent of all marine fish species at some point in their life cycle. Coral diseases are increasing in frequency, intensity and geographic range. NOAA and other sources provide a plethora of online information about corals. For more information about stony coral tissue loss disease and how you can help, visit the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary’s website at:

  • Nonsensitive equipment — Soak for 10 minutes in a 10 percent bleach solution (1 quart of bleach in 2 gallons of water). Rinse with fresh water, and air dry.
  • Wetsuits, BCs, masks and fins — Soak for 10 minutes in one of the following: 0.5 percent RelyOn disinfectant cleaner (four 5-gram tablets in a gallon of water), 1 percent Virkon S disinfectant (1.3 ounces in 2 gallons of water), 6.6 percent Lysol disinfectant (1 quart in a gallon of water) or an equal  concentration of another quaternary ammonium disinfectant. Soak in fresh water for 10 minutes, and air dry.
  •  BC internal bladders — Pour 1 pint (0.5 liters) of disinfecting solution in the mouthpiece of the BC’s exhaust hose while depressing the exhaust button. Fully inflate the BC, and gently rotate it. After 10 minutes, flush twice with fresh water.
  • Regulators, computers, gauges and other sensitive scientific equipment  — Soak for 20 minutes in warm water with antibacterial dish soap or OdoBan disinfectant (5 ounces in a gallon of warm water). Rinse in fresh water, and air dry. Thoroughly wipe with isopropyl alcohol.
  • Underwater cameras — Thoroughly rinse with fresh water, and press buttons and levers to ensure no particulates become lodged. Thoroughly wipe the outside of the housing with isopropyl alcohol. This protocol does not endorse, recommend or favor any specific commercial product, process or service and is provided only to inform the public. Safety data sheets for chemicals and manufacturers’ user manuals provide critical information about the physical properties, reactivity, potential health hazards, storage, disposal and appropriate first-aid procedures for handling, applying and disposing of each product in a safe manner.
Gena Parsons is the communications and outreach manager at the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.


After anaesthesia Air Quality Air exchange centre Air hose failure Altitude changes Altitude sickness Ama divers Anaerobic Metabolism Annual renewal Apnea Apnoea Arterial gas embolism Arthroscopic surgery Aurel hygiene BCD Badages Bag valve mask Bandaids Barbell back squat Bench press Blood flow Bouyancy compensators Boyle's Law Boyle\'s Law Bradycardia Brain Breast Cancer Breath Hold Diving Breath hold Breath-hold Breathing Gas Breathing Bruising Buoyancy Burnshield CGASA CMAS CO2 Cabin pressure Camera settings Cancer Remission Cancer treatments Cancer Cannabis and diving Cannabis Cape Town Dive Festival Carbon dioxide Cardio health Cardiomyopathy Chamber Safety Charles' Law Charles\' Law Charles\\\' Law Charles\\\\\\\' Law Charles\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\' Law Chemotherapy Cleaning products Coastalexcursion Cold Water Cold care Cold Compressed gas Conservation Contaminants Contaminated air Corals Courtactions Crohns disease Crystal build up Crystallizing hoses Cutaneous decompression DAN Courses DAN Profile DAN Researchers DAN medics DAN report DCI DCS Decompressions sickness DCS DM training DReams Dalton's Law Dalton\'s Law Dalton\\\'s Law Dalton\\\\\\\'s Law Dalton\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s Law Deco dives Decompression Illness Decompression Sickness Decompression illsnes Decompression treatment Decompression Diaphragms Diseases Dive Chamber Dive Industry Dive Instruction Dive Instructor Dive Pros Dive Research Dive Training Dive accidents Dive buddies Dive computers Dive gear Dive health Dive medicines Dive medicine Dive safety Dive staff Diveleader training Diveleaders Diver Profile Divers Alert Diving Kids Diving career Diving emergencies Diving guidelines Diving injuries Diving suspended Diving Domestic Donation Dr Rob Schneider Drysuit diving Drysuit valves Drysuits EAPs EAP Ear pressure Ear wax Ears injuries Education Emergency action planning Emergency decompression Emergency plans Emergency underwater Oxygen Recompression Emergency Enviromental Protection Environmental factors Environmental impact Environmental managment Equipment care Evacuation Exercise Extended divetime Extinguisher Extreme treatments Eye injuries FAQ Failures Fatigue Faulty equipment Fire Coral Fire Safety Firefighting First Aid Equipment First Aid Training First Aid kits Fish Fitness Flying Francois Burman Free diving Free flow Freedive Training Freediver Freediving performance Gas Density Gas laws Gas mixes GasPerformance Gases Gastric bypass Gear Servicing Gordon Hiles HELP HIRA Haemorhoid treatment Hazard Description Hazardous Marine life Health practitioner Heart Health Heart Helium High temperatures Hot Humans Hydrate Hydrogen Hydroids Hydrostatic pressure Hyperbaric Chamber Hyperbaric research Hypothermia Immine systems In Water Recompression Indemnity form Indian Ocean Inert gas Infections Instinct Instructors Insurance Integrated Physiology International travel International Irritation Kidneys Kids scubadiver Labour laws Legal advice Legislation Leukemis Liability Risks Liability releases Liability Life expectancy Lifestyle Low blood pressure Low pressure deterioration Low volume masks Lung function Lung injuries Lung MOD Maintenance Mammalian Dive Response Mammalian effect Master scuba diver Maximum operating depth Medical Q Medical questionaire Medical statement Middle ear pressure Mike Bartick Military front press Mixed Gas Mono Fins Mooring lines More pressure Muscle pain Mycobacterium marinum Nautilus Nitrogen build up Nitrox No-decompression Non-rebreather Mask Normal Air Nosebleeds O2 providers O2 servicing OOxygen maintenance Ocean pollution Orbital implants Oronasal mask Oxygen Cylinder Oxygen Units Oxygen deficit Oxygen deicit Oxygen ears Oxygen equipment Oxygen masks Oxygen supply Oxygen therapy Oxygen P J Prinsloo PFI PJP Tech Part 3 Photography Pistons Planning Plastic Pneumothorax Pollution Pool Diving Preparation Prepared diver Press Release Professional rights Provider course Pulmanologist Pulmonary Bleb Purge RAID South Africa RCAP Radio communications Rashes Recompression chamber Recompression Recycle Regulator failure Regulators Regulator Remote areas Renewable Report incidents Rescue training Resume diving Risk Assessments Risk assesments Risk elements Risk management SABS 019 Safety Stop Safety Saturation Diving Save our seas Science Scuba Air Quality Scuba Injury Scuba children Scuba dive Scuba health Scubalearners Sealife Skin Bends Skin outbreak Skin rash Snorkeling Snorkels Sodwana Bay Splits Squeezes Standars Supplemental oxygen Surgeries Surgery Tattoes Technical Diving The Bends The truth Thermal Notions Tides Tips and trick Transplants Travel tips Travel Tweezers Unconsciousness Underwater photographer Underwater pho Vaccines Vagus nerve Valsalva manoeuvers Vape Vaping Vasvagal Syncope Venting Volatile fuels Washout treatments Wastewater Water Weakness Wetsuit fitting White balance Winter Woman in diving Work of Breathing Wound dressings Wreck dive Wreckdiving Youth diver abrasion air-cushioned alert diver altitude anemia antibiotics antiseptics bandages bent-over barbell rows body art breathing air calories burn cardiovascular checklist chemo port child clearances closed circuit scuba currents cuts dead lift decompression algorithms decongestants dehydration dive injuries dive medicing dive ready child dive reflex dive tribe diver rescue diver training dive diving attraction doctors domestic travel dri-suits dry mucous membranes dry suits dry e-cigarettes ear spaces elearning electrolyte imbalance electroytes emergency action plans emergency assessment equalizing exposure injuries eyes fEMAL DIVERS fire rescue flexible tubing frediving gas bubble health hospital humidity immersion pulmonary edema (IPE join DAN knee longevity lower stress marine pathogens medical issues medical procedures medical risk assesment mental challenge minor illness mucous membranes nasal steroids nasal nematocysts newdivers nitrogen bubbles off-gassed operating theatre operations orthopeadic outgas pain perforation phillippines physical challenges pinched nerves plasters polyester-TPU polyether-TPU post dive preserve prevention rebreather mask rebreathers retinal detachment risk areas safety stops saturation scissors scuba equipment scuba single use sinus infections smoking snorkeling. spearfishing stings strength sub-aquatic swimmers ears tattoo care tecnical diver thermal protection training trimix unified standards vision impaired warmers water quality