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Caribbean, Tobago: Diving from your own boat

By Sue Richards last modified Jul 06, 2011 12:38 PM

Published: 2011-07-06 12:38:40
Countries: Trinidad & Tobago

The Association of Tobago Dive Operators (ATDO) is encouraging scuba divers while diving in Tobago, not to dive on their own or with non-members, but rather with current members of ATDO.

There have been four dive related incidents since April this year. Two of these involved visiting sailors diving from their boats on the south of the island, without an ATDO registered dive guide. In one case divers were in the water for four hours before they were found. None of these were connected with ATDO members, but in all instances, members were the first to respond with assistance. It is important to note that while ATDO has no authority over non-members, the association strongly urges all divers to adhere to standard international diving practices if they choose to dive independently of it’s membership.

ATDO’s members all adhere to the strict safety protocols stated in the association's constitution. These include providing all divers with an emergency signalling device and having oxygen, first aid kit, radio and cell phones on board the dive boats. All divers are escorted by a dive guide, who carries a surface marker buoy at all times.

These protocols are in place to make learning and diving in Tobago as safe as possible. No matter how experienced you think you are, we recommend you dive with members of ATDO who work hard to promote Tobago's underwater world with safety as a top priority.

A major part of Tobago's appeal to divers is the beauty and excellent condition of its reef system. This ecosystem is fragile and needs our respect and protection, we urge all sailors to be extra careful when they are close to reef and not to leave any impact which might affect the island's underwater world. Sailors are asked to take extra care when anchoring close to Tobago's reefs as anchor chains can cause tremendous damage. It comes after a member spotted a yacht anchored with its anchor chain on a reef in Speyside.

Anchoring in the vicinity of Pigeon Point and Buccoo Reef is restricted by law – the Marine Areas (Restricted Area) Amendment Order 1996 - and vessels should not enter or anchor without permission of the Minister. If found in this area, sailors can face summary conviction and fines of up to $6,000.

For further information visit the Association of Tobago Dive Operators website or contact ATDO's President Alice Darwent on 704 -8668.