Eco-Friendly Practices in Freediving

Eco- friendly Practices in Freediving

Instructor course handout

Shivani Goberdhan

To be a freediver is to make the water our home; our workplace, our playground, our sanctuary. In order to enjoy this space, we need to feel safe there, and to respect it in return.

Logging so many hours, almost 6 days a week for a diver in training, we begin to have an impact on the environment. This, as you can imagine, entitles someone to a certain caliber of responsibility.

With thousands of new freedivers entering the waters each year, the impact can be felt on almost every corner of the world. Our time spent in the seas, oceans, cenotes, lakes and quarries also means our carbon footprints impacting these areas with our unusual practices, products, materials and equipment.

The items we use, from production to usage to the time we are finished with them can have permanent effects on the environment.




Why is this topic important to freedivers?

  • Time spent in the sea/ocean/cenote/lake

  • Volumes of people visiting freediving cites, from untouched and remote places in the world to highly trafficked tourist destinations

  • Materials we use can have ever-lasting impacts on the environment


Current Practices That Have an Impact


Individual Level


Putting the wetsuit on

  • Open-cell wetsuit: it is typical to use conditioner or soap which can leak into the water through the suit, through drainage depending on where the diver is getting ready

  • Using showers to put the wetsuit on: running water


  • Using bio-degradable soaps and solutions (i.e. SharkSnot: seawees extract, water based)

  • Putting wetsuit on away from the body of water if soap is used

  • Putting wetsuit on in the body of water-based

  • Using low shower settings and turning taps off immediately after use


Equipment/Wetsuit/Swimwear materials

  • Neoprene – synthetic rubber. Can be oil-based, or limestone-based (more sustainable to make). Production of neoprene causes environmental damage (extraction of materials), pollution etc. This material is not bio-degradable, so once the item is damaged or no longer used, it can sit in a landfill for a very long time

  • Fins – made from carbon, fiber glass, plastic + Rails, and foot pockets


  • Do your research – where do your favorite wetsuit brands acquire their materials? Do these companies care about being compassionate to the environment? I.e. using more sustainable practices and partnering with charities or recycling programs

  • Recycling programs: RipCurl AUS, Patagonia (own products), Suga (Canada) creates yoga mats from old wetsuits

  • Taking care of wetsuits (minimal sun exposure, rinsing salt water) prolongs use and durability

  • Swimwear i.e. board shorts, leggings and bikinis. There are currently loads of companies switching to recycled materials. Tip – the less ink used to create the product, the less negative impact

  • Look for companies trying innovative solutions I.e. Kaguya, creating blades made from bamboo materials. Even if materials are not 100% eco-friendly, they are worth supporting while they try to make a difference


Products Entering the water

  • Sunscreens and moisturizers containing: oxybenzone, octinoxate, zinc oxide, octocrylene

  • 14, 000 tons of sunscreen wash into the ocean each year

  • 80% of Caribbean corals have been depleted in the last 50 years due to pollution

  • Mosquito repellant: unnatural and containing Deet

  • Corals can absorb these unnatural substances which harms their growth cycles resulting in bleaching


  • Cover up – hats, bandanas, long sleeves

  • Most clothing created to protect from the sun contains 50 SPF

  • Bring reef-safe brands

  • Use natural repellant using lemongrass, citronella, tea-tree, citrus, coils, fans, etc.


Loss of items in the water

  • Dropped weights, line, snorkels, belts, GoPros, etc. that cannot be recovered due to the depth of the area or low visibility

  • Items that can fly off a boat I.e. food wrappers

  • These can damage the reef if the fall is hard enough

  • Animals may consume debris


  • Secure items with the right knots for the right purpose (Clove hitch (for tying to another line/carabiner) vs Bowline (easily removed under tension))

  • Bring extra carabiners or air-tight bags


As a Whole Group



  • Freedivers ‘taking over’ remote towns, may produce additional trash (single-use cutlery), getting take-out containers and throwing them out afterwards, consuming food from wrappers, bags etc.

  • Airplane travel is responsible for about 2% of Carbon Dioxide Emissions

  • Transportation to and from dive sites

  • Boat traffic interfering in with marine life


  • Bring your own cutlery (bamboo, re-usable bags, take-out containers when possible)

  • Be aware of recycling programs in the town you are visiting

  • Research airlines that carry full flights, or companies that are moving towards more sustainable flights (Quantas – Australian airline)

  • Carpool/boatpool when possible – arrange with peers and dive shop


Social media

  • When posting, using ethical practices being to show encounters with animals, touching the reef

  • Posting about shark tours, dolphin tours etc.

  • Images on social media seem exciting and enticing to others who may not live near the water, or who have never experienced marine life in the same way.


  • Include information about how others can follow the same practices safely for both the individual and the marine life

  • Research tour companies that have sustainability or marine research at the forefront

  • Encourage others to get certified so they may practice freediving in a safe and responsible manner

  • Be conscious of descriptions when posting photos and videos featuring animal encounters


Freediving is an incredibly exciting and stimulating activity. It allows us to be connected with a whole world beneath the surface, that does not belong to us. As visitors, we want to leave ‘finprints’ and take memories. While it is impossible to completely avoid leaving a negative impact while pursuing this sport, it is entirely possible to increase our awareness of all we do. Supporting forward-thinking brands, making choices with our materials, adjusting the products we use, and the way we use them can have huge impacts over time.

*Spearfishing…. A whole other can of worms*



Information about Eco-Friendly Practices

The Story of Stuff

By: Annie Leonard

Statistics about Sustainability and Coral Reef Bleaching

Documentary: Save The Reef: 50 Minutes to Save the World

Amir Zakeri, Karmagawa Productions

Article: Fast Fashion

Wetsuit Recycling Programs

Shark Snot

Information about the Reef and Coral Depletion

Neoprene production

Deja un comentario