How to Dive Vegan

Being a vegan is not that difficult, it can be tricky but with some effort and knowledge, it is possible everywhere. The same goes for being a vegan diver everyone can do it with a little effort and help out the environment. 

To dive vegan you should not eat fish as well as touch, ride, or do anything that causes harm or disrupts the ocean creatures’, wildlife, and their habitat. Researching an eco-friendly dive operator, trying to wear sustainable gear, and speaking out/educating others on the subject are also important.

These are the mainstays of how to dive vegan. There are a lot of other ways you can help the seas and their inhabitants. I will go into more detail below. 

What is a Vegan Diver? 

A vegan diver is not just someone who eats vegan. They are a diver that stands up for the seas and tries their best to make the least amount of impact on the environment while spreading awareness to others. Now, this sounds like a lot but it is much simpler than it sounds. While we are not all perfect and no matter what you do, traveling, going on a boat, using air tanks, etc. you will affect the environment, you can try your best to make the least amount of damage. 

Ways to be a Better Vegan Diver 

Here are some things you can do to lessen your environmental impact when diving. 

  • Don’t touch the wildlife- This is a rule that all instructors give to SCUBA and freedivers, but it is not always followed. Touching wildlife can not only hurt it but can hurt you as well. Often underwater wildlife (including corals) have a protective film on them to prevent predators from eating them. This film can cause allergic reactions to our skin. 
  • Choose an eco-conscious dive operator- Choosing the right dive shop is one that will solve a lot of issues and leave your mind at ease, it may be hard to find in certain areas though. While all divers love the ocean, not all take care of it and respect it. When choosing a dive shop, if possible, try to speak with someone who has dived with them before.
  • Speak out- If you see other divers touching wildlife or harming the reef or wildlife in any way ask them why they are doing it. You do not want to start a confrontation or be rude but if it can be approached in a nice manner, they might not have known any better (not everyone thinks about these things). If it is an instructor it might be nice to ask them out of view of the other patrons. 
  • Watch your single-use plastic- Stopping the use of single-use plastics is huge for the environment and the people it affects it hurts the most. We go diving in countries that are often less well off than ours and the use of this single-use plastic ends up in the oceans or being burnt. That kills wildlife, pollutes the air/sea, and costs more in the long run. 
  • Put your money towards a good cause- A lot of people in diving locations rely on fishing and diving tourism as the two main sources of income. If you have a chance to take a tour that is vegan/ eco-friendly go for it. The more money people can make off tours and businesses that don’t harm animals the faster people can change paths. 
  • Volunteer- You do not dive all day and there is always time for other activities to do, why not choose one that you can enjoy and changes some lives. I have worked with some places where I dove in Lembongan, Indonesia The Work of Paws of Lembongan or In Panglao, Philippines Dogs of Alona. These are just two that I know personally that work with animals. Another example is Trash Hero, they are all over Asia and help clean up trash and get food to locals in need.
  • Don’t throw food scraps over the boat– It again seems like logic but I have seen a lot of divers do this. Sea creatures are not used to this food and it is not healthy for them, the birds or mammals. Also, if it is not eaten it takes a long time to decompose. This also goes for when people are teaching courses, a common trick is to use an egg underwater and crack it to show how pressure affects it.

Questions to Ask About the Vegan Food

When you are traveling there are a lot of things on your mind. Here are a few of my go-to questions when choosing a place to stay, dive or eat. Asking these questions can help clear up some things and help avoid any issues on your travels. If you have a little time, learning how to ask if it’s vegan or have it written down helps in the local language. 

  1. Do you have any special vegan options or is the menu the same for all? -This is just an easy one to get the ball rolling. 
  2. Do your products contain milk, eggs, etc?– In some countries, they do not consider fish as meat and do not understand what veganism is, it has happened to me many times.
  3. How do you prepare your vegan food? –Do they make it on the same pans, is it washed between cooking, is the oil the same, etc. 
  4. Can you prepare it separately?- This is often harder to do in small places, but depending on the country/restaurant they will do it for you.
  5. Can you make food that is not on the menu?-  Often you can just ask them to make something for you that is vegan and not on the menu.
  6. Do they charge extra for vegan food or special preparation?– They might make the food especially and separately for you, but make sure to ask so you are not surprised by the bill.
  7. Can I order ahead and pick up/ to-go? There may only be a few places in town, and being able to take out can be a valuable resource. You can also bring your own food containers to cut back on waste.

Post by Teagan Kane