waters are filled with life! A variety of unique habitats
are waiting to be explored, each harboring a spectacular array
of plants and animals. Discover the thrill of diving lush
kelp forests, rocky reefs, shale beds or sandy seafloors.
National marine sanctuaries are special places--coastal and
undersea counterparts to our national parks that are protected
for their biological diversity or cultural significance. The
largest and deepest of the nation's 13 marine sanctuaries,
Bay National Marine Sanctuary spans 5,322 square miles of
ocean, stretching along 300 miles of coastline. At its deepest
point, the sanctuary reaches more than two miles below the
surface in the Monterey Canyon.
primary role of a marine sanctuary is to protect its natural
and cultural features while allowing people to use and enjoy
the ocean in a sustainable way. To protect its natural wonders,
activities that could harm the health of the sanctuary, like
oil drilling or ocean dumping, are prohibited. The sanctuary
also facilitates many uses, such as fishing, diving and boating.
Protect the Sanctuary
make your dives more enjoyable and safe, and to help protect this
national treasure, please:
your skills. Master
the basic skills of diving (particularly buoyancy) well enough to
be completely at ease. You'll be safer and enjoy more of what you're
your dive well. Diving
these waters is challenging. You may want to hire a local divemaster
or instructor to accompany you on your first dives. Know the unique
characteristics of a dive site in advance, so that you don't become
disoriented or lost. Before you dive, designate entry and exit points
as well as contingency exit points in case conditions change unexpectedly.
For specific dive site information, consult dive stores, charts
or local divers.
your buoyancy. Mastering
buoyancy control means your dives will be safer and less strenuous.
your equipment. Keeping
gear close to your body reduces drag and the chances of entanglement.
It is also helpful to tape down your fin straps. Sea life is everywhere
and can be harmed by the kick of a fin, bump of a tank, or knock
of the hand.
the proper techniques for diving in kelp. Always
swim below the surface (kelp canopy) and navigate with your compass.
If you must swim over the canopy, carefully push the kelp down and
slowly dog paddle across. Don't panic or thrash around if entangled
in kelp. Slowly remove the kelp, or have your buddy gently untangle
it for you.
a safe distance from marine mammals. To
prevent disturbing harbor seals, California sea lions, sea otters
or other marine mammals, stay 50 to 100 yards away from them. If they
look in your direction and fidget, it's time to back away.
touching or taking anything. Your
slightest touch can disturb marine life. Removing rock or shell
for the sake of a souvenir can disrupt this fragile system.
are privileged to witness the diversity and abundance of marine
life in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Share the wonder
and promote responsible ocean stewardship by getting involved in
some of these activities:
Join a dive club or conservation group that promotes education and
Try your hand at photography or videography, and use your undersea
images to inspire others to learn more about the ocean.
yourself informed about ocean issues. Be an advocate for responsible
ocean management by making your voice known to management authorities
or elected officials.
Take part in fish counts or underwater surveys that can help scientists
and fisheries managers better understand changes in the marine ecosystem.
Participate in beach or underwater clean-ups.