Diving, swimming and snorkelling are wonderful ways to get to know the beautiful ocean creatures we share the planet with. But far too frequently, humans display some questionable behaviour when visiting these wild spaces – which is why we've compiled this handy list of things to remember for the perfect, wildlife-friendly dive experience. 

1. Hands off the merchandise 

The number one best thing you can do for marine life while diving is to keep your hands off it! It's a hard message to get across with celebrities like Zac Efron going on shark-riding adventures, but touching marine life is considered wildlife harassment, and in many countries, carries serious punishment.

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In the US, for example, harassing a marine mammal such as a whale can land you with $10,000 in fines! "Hands off" also means take only photographs. Even something as seemingly unimportant as an empty shell can provide marine life with much-needed shelter. Just ask this "kleptopus":

2. Know your surroundings

Nearly all human-wildlife conflict is completely avoidable. Before you dive in, take a moment to research the animals you might encounter. Do any sting? Have venom? Need extra space? What are their "leave me alone" signals? Knowing what to expect will ensure a stress-free dive for both you and the wildlife you meet.

3. Look from afar

When it comes to life beneath the waves, remember that you are the intruder. On that note, when in doubt: back off! Chasing wildlife (even to get that perfect GoPro video) is also considered harassment! If an animal is swimming away from you, displaying warning colouration or hiding, chances are it isn't interested in interacting.

4. Pick good pals 

When it comes to dive guides, not all were created equal. It's important to choose a guide that is both aware of the needs of wildlife and follows good codes of conduct. Not sure what that means? Feel free to ask! Here are some of our red flags:

- Advertising hands-on encounters 

- Provoking wildlife for a more "exciting" encounter

- Feeding animals to bring them closer

- Chasing animals at the surface before the dive starts

5. Leave only bubbles ... and bring a collection bag!

We'll make an exception to the "don't take anything" rule for one thing: trash! If you're heading down, bring a mesh bag to collect any plastic (or other) debris you might find (just make sure your guide knows what you're grabbing). There are even organised "Dive For Debris" events! Find one in your local area here.