U Dive is committed to continued education and programs that help Utila maintain a healthy and active dive community. U Dive is focused not only on providing the best equipment and staff in their facility, but also building an atmosphere that will both educate and foster the enjoyment of sharing underwater experiences. The number one focus is the need to protect Utila’s most precious asset, the reef. U Dive is a full voting member of UDSEC, the PADI International Resort Association, DAN, and Projects Aware. Below we’ve provided excerpts from each of the organizations’ websites in which we are proudly associated. If you have any questons regarding our dive policies, please visit our Utila dive policy page.
Utila Dive Safety & Environmental Council- UDSEC
UDSEC was formed by a group of dive business owners who felt it was important to work together to ensure that a high level of dive safety and quality experiences is provided to Utila’s dive customers. UDSEC also sponsored projects that take care of environmental issues both in the water and on land. UDSEC is now a legal association recognized by the Honduras government and as such has access to the government for assistance in protecting the resources of Utila as it grows and develops.
UDSEC Projects in Progress
Utila is very lucky as our reefs are still in a very good and healthy condition and the members of UDSEC will strive to keep them in good condition by creating projects to this end.
A few UDSEC members are working together to help re-populate the Staghorn and Elkhorn Coral that has been so dramatically reduced in the Caribbean since approximately 1998. They have been working with specialists from other countries who have managed to breed these corals on nursery frames; once they have grown to a reasonable size they are then placed back on the reef to re-populate it.
Another method of regeneration we are experimenting with is reef balls. Reef balls are large concrete structures with holes made in them; they will be placed in specific areas to create fish habitats and artificial foundations for new reef growth.
The dive buoys around the island, approximately 80 at the moment, are paid for and maintained by UDSEC, this is an ongoing job with the need for all buoys to be serviced, repaired and new ones placed. The buoys are an important part of protecting the reef in that they provide safe mooring for the dive boats and also get rid of the need to use anchors that break delicate reef structure.
All members of the council are totally committed to the welfare of the Whale Shark, a common visitor to the waters around Utila. Rules of encounter with the Whale Sharks have been agreed and introduced on all dive boats on Utila.
UDSEC has been funding the local Tourist police force on the island, these police are friendly locals who are there to help tourists during the evening hours.
UDSEC are involved in an ongoing project of keeping the environment clean, with continual beach cleanups.
UDSEC is looking at Rubbish Disposal, plastic recycling and fish breeding programs. A new idea being explored at the moment is special mats that will be placed in all boat bilges to reduce oil contamination the waters around Utila.
Check out www.udsec.com
Professional Association of Diving Instructors- PADI
PADI is the world’s largest recreational diving membership organization.
PADI exists to develop programs that encourage and fulfill the public interest in recreational scuba and snorkel diving worldwide.
In all that they do, PADI strives to achieve the commitment to preserving the aquatic environment for future growth.
PADI is committed to the protection of underwater cultural heritage for future generations of divers and non-divers alike.
Check out www.padi.com
PADI International Resort Association - PIRA
Dive Resort Operator
As a Dive Resort Operator, Utopia Village and U Dive cater to recreational scuba and snorkelers. U Dive offers activities such as recreational scuba and snorkeling instruction, Discover Scuba Diving experiences, guided dives and snorkeling excursions from the shore or a boat, and dive equipment rentals.
About Project AWARE Foundation
Project AWARE Foundation conserves underwater environmentsthrough education, advocacy and action.
Who We Are
Project AWARE Foundation is the dive industry's leading nonprofit environmental organization. Offices in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Switzerland and Japan combine efforts to protect aquatic resources in 175 countries around the world.
What We Do
Project AWARE Foundation works in partnership with divers and water enthusiasts to combat challenges facing underwater environments. We involve these volunteers in hands-on environmental activities like International Cleanup Day and The International Whale Shark Project. Project AWARE also inspires conservation by incorporating its messages in dive training materials as well as creating awareness and education campaigns like Protect the Sharks, Protect the Living Reef and AWARE Kids. The Foundation Grant Program funds grass-roots environmental projects that address key foundation focus areas, volunteer-supported community activism and critical research with direct contributions made by people like you.
Check out www.projectaware.org
Whale Shark & Oceanic Research Center
This center is committed to the preservation of whale sharks, coral reef and the surrounding waters of Utila. A staff of professional scientists, dive instructors and volunteers work to promote research, conservation and education on one of Central America’s natural wonders. At Utopia Village, the whale shark & dolphin excursion includes a theory session by WORSC scientists that includes biology, behavior, research and conservation of the elusive whale shark. After the session, a boat excursion is provided on the Miss U to search for these gentle giants and perhaps have the rare chance to snorkel with them in their natural environment. All whale sharks spotted have distinguishing markings and spots. The submission of dates, photos and descriptions are welcomed by the WORSC research team to
help track existing tagged sharks and identify new ones in the area.�
Check out www.wsorc.com
Divers Alert Network (DAN) is a 501(c) (3) non-profit medical and research organization dedicated to the safety and health of recreational scuba divers and associated with Duke University Medical Center (DUMC). DAN is supported by the largest association of recreational divers in the world.
Founded in 1980, DAN has served as a lifeline for the scuba industry by operating diving's only 24-hour emergency hotline, a lifesaving service for injured divers. Additionally, DAN operates a diving medical information line, conducts vital diving medical research, and develops and provides a number of educational programs for everyone from beginning divers to medical professionals.
Divers Alert Network is supported by membership dues and donations. In return, members receive a number of important benefits including $100,000 emergency medical evacuation assistance, DAN educational publications, a subscription to Alert Diver magazine, and access to diving's first and foremost accident insurance coverage.
Join DAN Today!
The Reef Environmental Education Foundation is a grass-roots organization that seeks to conserve marine ecosystems by educating, enlisting and enabling divers and other marine enthusiasts to become active ocean stewards and citizen scientists.
Learn More at www.REEF.org
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