Tips for shore diving on Bonaire

Bonaire is known to be one of the best places in the world for shore diving. Alongside the coastline, the island offers 61 official dive sites that can be reached via the shore. From all over the world, diving enthusiasts come to the island to explore the beauty of Bonaire’s reef. While we love to explore and share the beauty of the underwater world, each diver must ensure good diving habits. Prepare yourself for your next diving adventure with these tips for shore diving in Bonaire.

Orientation dive

All divers are required to attend an orientation at the dive shop where their tanks are filled. This includes learning about the island and diving regulations as well as participating in an in-water check-out dive to demonstrate buoyancy control and other fundamental diving skills. Make sure you book your orientation dive beforehand, so you can start diving straight away.

Boots

Wherever you go along the west coast, it is very likely to find dive site after dive site that can be entered from the shore. With reefs starting just steps away from the shore, it is easy to enter the water and start exploring the underwater world. Nonetheless, divers need to be aware of stones, rocks, corals, and species such as sea urchins, that can be found at the dive sites entrance. To protect our feet, it is highly recommended to wear boots as part of our diving equipment. Trust us, you will not regret this decision.

Buoyancy control

To ensure no coral is damaged, it is necessary to maintain a good level of buoyancy control. This will not only allow for the reef to stay intact, but it also impacts the enjoyment of the dive and increases one’s air consumption. In case you would like to improve your buoyancy control, it is recommended to book the Peak Performance Buoyancy specialty.

Reef-safe sunscreen

While it is important to protect our skin, sunscreen negatively impacts the ocean and the health of the corals. To lower the impact and preserve the corals, it is highly recommended to use reef-safe sunscreen. To check whether sunscreen is reef safe, make sure the bottle does not contain Oxybenzone and Octinoxate. Moreover, other ingredients to look out for are Benzophenone-1, Benzophenone-8, 3-Benzylidene camphor, Octocrylene, and  4-Methylbenzylidene camphor. 

STINAPA

Before entering the waters surrounding Bonaire and Klein Bonaire, it is necessary to purchase the STINAPA nature fee. STINAPA is a non-governmental organization that manages and maintains the two main national parks, which are almost completely funded by the nature fee. The nature fee costs $40 for the calendar year and can be purchased online. Once you have purchased the nature fee, it also allows you to enter Washington Slagbaai Park, which is worth the visit.

Dive site entry/exit

While the entire coastline is covered with beautiful reefs, it is essential to enter the water at official dive sites. Most dive sites are identified by a yellow stone with the dive site’s name on it. Once you are on the dive site, look out for another yellow stone with the words ‘entry/exit’, which indicates the most convenient water entry and exit. In case the yellow rock is missing, instead, you might find several rocks stacked on top of each other that designate the entry and exit points.

No gloves or touching

To protect the reef, it is prohibited to wear gloves in the waters of Bonaire. In case you cannot dive without it, make sure you request a doctor’s declaration and request a permit from the STINAPA headquarters near Oil Slick Leap. In addition to not wearing gloves, it is also not allowed to touch corals, plants, and animals and to collect anything from the Marine Park.

Almost ready for your next diving vacation? Make sure you already book your orientation dive and prepare yourself with the tips written above. If you have any further questions concerning your preparations, simply send us a message and we are more than happy to assist you!