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Good Advice on "Reef-Safe" Sunscreens

Dive_Snork Coral reef near St. George's Caye

Chances are you've heard about "reef-safe sunscreens" and the importance of using sunblock that doesn't contain harmful chemicals.

But which chemicals are harmful?  What does that even mean?

In May of this year, Hawaii passed a bill that prevents the sale of sunscreen containing UV-filtering ingredients, like oxybenzone (the most common compound found in nearly 3,500 sunscreens worldwide), octinoxate (even more toxic that oxybenzone, but usually found in lower concentrations), and octocrylene.  These are the dangerous chemicals have been linked to coral bleaching.

A good rule of thumb:  the simpler the formula, the better.  A great alternative to using sunscreen when diving or snorkeling is to wear a long-sleeved sun shirt or rash guard with a UPF (UV-protective fabric) of 50-plus.  It should have a crew neck and ideally will have a thumbhole to hold the sleeve over the top portion of your hands.  More coverage, less sunblock.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo of the Belize Barrier Reef

WHAT DOES OXYBENZONE DO TO THE REEF?

According to Craig  Downs, Ph.D., a forensic ecotoxicologist in Virginia and Executive Director of Haereticus Environmental Laboratory, oxybenzone can damage coral DNA and might lead to what Downs calls "reef zombies" or corals and other reef organisms that look "healthy, but are actually sterile and dead - so they cannot reproduce."  Such UV-absorbing compounds can also contribute to coral bleaching, which occurs when the life-sustaining algae that normally lives on coral vanishes, due to changes in ocean temps, stress or pollution.  With these chemicals in the sea water, viruses can thrive, putting corals at risk of catching an infection and possibly lead to bleaching and death.

So, with information in hand, we'd like to give our some advise on buying a reef-safe sunscreen before you visit us at St. George's.  We care about your skin as well as our reef - so here's how you can help protect both!

1.  Find a sunscreen that does not have oxybenzone and octinoxiate listed in the ingredients

2.  Look for a mineral based sunscreen with the ingredients zinc oxide and titanium dioxide (mineral based sunscreens sit at the top of the skin and block the UV rays and are less likely to wear off)

3.  Ingredients that are "non-nano" (particles are below 100 nanometers so they cannot be ingested by corals)

4.  Reef-safe labels (be sure to double check the ingredients!)

Just in case you didn't have time to go shopping, or forgot your reef-safe sunscreen at home, we have them available in our gift shop!

You can learn more about shopping for reef-safe sunscreens online, but here's a great article for reference by Travel and Leisure Magazine.  Of course, you can always call or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. us with any questions you have!

 

 

 

 
 
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Divers Keeping the Barrier Reef Healthy: Lionfish Tournament in October

Divers Keeping the Barrier Reef Healthy: Lionfish Tournament in October

Lionfish are an invasive species in the Caribbean and they are voracious eaters, potentially devastating to the health of coral reefs. The dive team at St. George's Caye Resort is doing our part to rid the reef of these fast-breeding fish – and many guests who are experienced divers join our dive masters and "spear hunt" underwater! It's exciting and a fun way to control the lionfish population and a unique diving experience you can't find just anywhere. Learn more about Lionfish Dive Safari. 

 

SIGN UP NOW FOR "SAVE THE REEF" LIONFISH TOURNAMENT 

To step up our efforts to control the lionfish population, we are hosting a one-week Lionfish Tournament on October 8-15, 2016. To encourage participation, all tournament dives are half-price!

Divers can bring their own team, or join a team when they arrive. There will be fun prizes for the largest lionfish, smallest lionfish, and the most caught in one day. Come join the fun, help the reef, and maybe win a prize!

 

TOP TEN REASONS TO PARTICIPATE IN THE ST. GEORGE’S CAYE RESORT LIONFISH TOURNAMENT:

10. You need a break from your normal routine

9. You want to help keep the coral reef healthy

8. You want to learn a new skill (our guides will teach you proper techniques for using the spear gun and how to catch these venomous fish safely!)

7. You're planning a last-minute dive trip to Belize and want some adventure in your life

6. You've wanted to try eating this excellent-tasting fish (our kitchen will prepare some of the day's catch!)

5. You are a competitor and you want to win prizes

4. You love to SCUBA dive – any time, any place!

3. Flights to Belize are the most affordable we've seen them. Some guests are getting round-trip tickets from connecting cities for only US$400!

2. This:

 

 

1. You need to be here!

Get in Touch to Plan Your Dive Trip to Belize

Limited space available. Contact Cap’n Ron at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.to reserve your spot in the Lionfish Tournament October 8-15, 2016. Remember, you get 50% off all dives for the tournament!

If you can't join us in October, find another time to come down and our guides will take you on a Lionfish Dive Safari!

View Dive Packages 

 

 

 

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