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Marine Park Rules & enforcement.

Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
6,722 posts
5 reviews
Marine Park Rules & enforcement.

I have copied a message from Christi (Cozchristi) that she has put up on Scubaboard that needs sharing here too. Please note the rule about feeding the fish. Be advised that all of the resorts south of the area that has the last traffic light as you leave town are within the Marine Park boundaries.

"Those of you whose dive ops allow you to allow you to wear gloves and carry knives...be prepared for that to stop. The marine park has once again started putting divers in the water to patrol. They are actually following divemasters and carrying signs that identify themselves as the marine park.

Marine park bracelets must also be worn on your wrist...NOT on your BCD...and they must be visible. So put it on your wrist and pull your wetsuit sleeve up so that it is visible.

I think it's great that they are cracking down, but I don't necessarily think they should follow a group around the entire dive...that's a little intimidating.

Here is a reminder of the marine park rules, please cooperate with your dive guide as he/she is required to enforce these rules. Please respect them so that the next generations of divers can enjoy what we enjoy

The Marine Park includes the shoreline and reefs starting just south of the International pier and extending around the southern tip of the island to Islote.

As our guest you can help us to preserve the reef and marine wildlife conservation program by following a few basic rules:

It is Strictly Prohibited:

To stand on, sit on, or take hold of the coral reef

To fish for, to collect, to disturb, or to keep any marine organism found in the park (fish, corals, shells, winkles, starfish, etc.)

To carry spears, hooks, harpoons or explosives

To carry gloves or knives (Divemasters and instructors may register these items for use with the marine park for emergency purposes)

To disturb or to remove fauna and flora from their refuges

To feed any fish or animal in the marine park

To dispose of any kind of solid waste in the ocean

To dump fuel, grease, oil or any other liquid substance into the ocean

To use sunblock or suntan oils which are not biodegradable

All dives within the marine park reserve are required to be led by a local and certified Divemaster or Instructor with Marine Park Credentials at a ratio not to exceed 8:1.

We appreciate your cooperation and understanding of these regulations set forth to protect our coral reef environment.

Your dive guide is authorized to enforce these rules and will, if necessary, interrupt, restrict, or terminate a dive if tourists in your group do not obey these rules.

Your courtesy in carefully following these rules will help ensure that our precious reefs, living organisms in their own right, will enjoy long and healthy lives. For your support and help, the people of Cozumel thank you"

Level Contributor
82 posts
4 reviews
1. Re: Marine Park Rules & enforcement.

Two rules that I'm seeing completely ignored a bit too often on my last couple trips - NO GLOVES and NO TOUCHING THE REEF!!!

I was really aggravated on my last trip (2 wks ago). Not sure if the DM is not seeing it, choosing to overlook it because of either not wanting to loose business or have the confrontation. The offender was a marine biologist and their dive buddy, which for me made it even worse. Gloves on every dive. Every photo he had a hand grabbing on the reef... and on at 2 occasions (2 that I saw), he was STANDING UP under an overhang and in a swim through to get a shot. Fine, it is sand, but we were on a reef that we see pipefish, jawfish, etc. At least in my opinion, standing up in these areas is not acceptable as you could be stomping out a small fish or critter. While standing, this guy had a strobe balanced on coral... Maybe as a marine biologist he has knows where to grab? Hmm, then why the need for gloves?

I am very anti-touching, even 2 fingers is not acceptable to me. I pass up lots of great shots because I can't get myself into position using my diving and buoyancy...

I did my best to work comments about touching and what I thought was acceptable and not, into conversations at the beach. The offenders say nothing and act as if it doesn't apply to them at all. Next dive, same behavior. If we all wore gloves, grabbed at will and use the reef as a tripod then everyone would have spectacular photos every time.

I would love to see marine park officials on patrol and their divers in the water. I understand that there is lots of competition for business, and that telling off a good customer (especially one that's supposed to be an expert - either dive pro or marine biologist or whatever else) is a tricky thing. If the dive operators, DMs and boat crews can use the patrols as a reason to enforce the rules then that would be fantastic! If they come past a group and see unacceptable behavior, then a park divers should continue the dive with the group and talk to the offender and DM on the surface.

St. Louis,MO
Level Contributor
1,414 posts
20 reviews
2. Re: Marine Park Rules & enforcement.

I think it is great that the rules are actually being enforced and they are cracking down on violators. However I do wish they would make exceptions with the gloves. I have Reynaud's syndrome. When my hands get cold I end up having compromised circulation which results in terrible pain and difficulty moving my fingers. On top of that I ended up with awful fire coral on my hands which took a month to clear up. I know why they have this rule and respect it. It would be nice though if you could somehow use approved gloves with a much steeper penalty for violating the rules while wearing them. Oh well, I'll still keep on diving ;)

Cozumel, Mexico
Destination Expert
for Cozumel
Level Contributor
7,464 posts
38 reviews
3. Re: Marine Park Rules & enforcement.

No harpoons or explosives? Cr*p. I'm out. (This is going to take all the fun out of fishing.)

All very good rules to protect the reefs. I know I pay the Marine Park fee to the dive op, but I have no problem displaying the band to make sure the money goes to the park and not the op.

Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
6,722 posts
5 reviews
4. Re: Marine Park Rules & enforcement.

In actual fact I have had to request that a divemaster be restricted from leading divers in the park. Many years ago while staying at the Iberostar I had heard a story from another diver detailing how one of Dressel's DM's was grabbing at things, picking things up etc and that if I ended up diving with the particular DM to watch & see what I thought about his practices. The DM worked at one of the mainland shops & would bring groups over & conduct 2 afternoon dives, and anyone staying at the Coz location ended up with the same group if doing the afternoon dive trip. One day I joined the afternoon dive and knowing in advance what to expect kept an eye on him and it didn't take long to realize that this guy had no idea how to protect or preserve. After our 2 dives & I got back to the shop I made certain they were made aware of his inability to follow the rules while in the park and strongly recommended that they not let him lead divers while visiting the park. I also know that the other diver did the same, and he was an instructor from the Chicago area.

Hopefully I won't run into a situation like that again but frankly I have no problem of making any fellow diver aware of the policies when I see them ignored, and if a warning doesn't do the job I will then have a talk with the DM. The Marine Park is a treasure we all get to enjoy if we follow the rules, but if we start damaging it there will be restrictions to how close we can get, how many divers per day etc etc. I think it's far better to educate than place restrictions so lets all do our best to pass on the helpful hints but if they are ignored it will be necessary to get less friendly in how we deal such people.

Level Contributor
1,029 posts
5. Re: Marine Park Rules & enforcement.

Now if we could just get the Captains to follow rules of diving and seamanship like:

Not driving directly over dive flags and buoys.

Not backing into divers with outboards.

Large boats passing pongas at high speeds while at close range. It's amazing that more boats don't get capsized.

6. Re: Marine Park Rules & enforcement.

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