Friend of the Sea Creates World’s First Standard for Sustainable Scuba Diving

Sustainable Scuba Diving

Provides guidelines that let tour operators offer diving activities protect the marine environment

Friend of the Sea, the preeminent global certification standard for products and services that respect and protect the marine environment, has created the world’s first sustainable scuba diving standard. The standard offers rules and a general sustainability frame work for tour operators who want to provide diving experiences that are enjoyable but environmentally friendly. 

Scuba diving is at once arguably the best possible way to introduce people to the wonders of the sea and a potentially serious threat to some very fragile ecosystems,” said Paolo Bray, Director of Friend of the Sea. “We are guests underwater, so we need to know how to act when we are visiting. The new standard gives divers and dive tour managers methods to deliver amazing underwater adventures that protect marine life.” He added, “The standard brings marine conservationism full circle, given that scuba itself was invented by the legendary Jacques Cousteau.

This standard, which is comparable to the organization’s standard for sustainable snorkeling, was developed in collaboration with Luca Saponari, a marine biologist who is expert in sustainable tourism.  For example, the standard’s “no touch or take” policy prohibits taking items from the sea as well as touching or feeding any marine organism. It sets out the correct usage of flash cameras underwater as well. The standard encourages scientific data collection. Monouse plastics are prohibited in all accredited diving programs.

Operators can apply confidentially to be accredited for the standard. The certification is voluntary and not mandatory to gain access to markets. The application process is not discriminatory based on the size, scale, management and minimum number of operators. The application is available online at