The Mesoamerican barrier reef system that surrounds the island offers incredible snorkeling and scuba diving. Barefoot Divers is committed to preserving the crystal clear Caribbean waters, thriving coral reef and abundant marine life found in Roatan through the support of various marine conservation efforts, including the following:
Roatan Marine Park
The Roatan Marine Park includes the west side of the island (the area from Sandy Bay to West Bay) as well as the south side, which includes all the dive sites visited by Barefoot Divers. Each diver or snorkeler who comes to Roatan to visit our beautiful reef is asked to pay a marine park fee, which is $5 for a day or $10 for the year. These fees help offset the costs of the following efforts of the marine park:
• Regular boat patrols to enforce the environmental laws of Roatan
• Installation and upkeep of mooring buoys for all dive sites, to eliminate anchor drops which damage the reef
• Education in schools and communities about reef conservation
• Working with local restaurants and informing islanders and tourists alike about sustainable seafood choices
• Organizing beach and underwater clean-ups
• Instituting recycling bins
Divers and snorkelers in Roatan must adhere to the following guidelines in order to help protect our underwater world:
• Gloves cannot be worn while diving or snorkeling
• Care should be taken to make sure that coral is not kicked, touched or stood on at any time – divers should maintain good buoyancy and snorkelers should return to the boat to rest if they get tired, rather than standing upon delicate coral
• The removal of any aquatic life, whether living or dead, including shells, coral, conch, lobster, and seafans, is strictly prohibited
• Spearfishing is prohibited, except by Roatan Marine Park permit for the invasive lionfish
Our dive staff is trained in Roatan Marine Park and local & national environmental laws to ensure that all our diving and snorkeling guests adhere to these important rules and regulations. Remember – take only pictures, leave only bubbles!
Barefoot Cay Resort and Barefoot Divers strongly support all of the Roatan Marine Park’s initiatives, and have provided them with office space, moorage and storage on-site.
Bay Islands Coastal Cleanup
Barefoot Cay staff and Barefoot Divers staff and divemaster interns participate in regular volunteer Bay Island Coastal Cleanups, where communities around all three Bay Islands (Roatan, Utila and Guanaja) come together several times a year and remove trash from shorelines and underwater. Barefoot Cay also provides our dump truck and barges for cleanups.
Shark Legacy Project
The Shark Legacy Project on Roatan has a mission to protect sharks as part of our marine inheritance, and is supported by Barefoot Divers. Our divemaster interns have a chance to participate in this project during their training. With the support of the Shark Legacy Project, in 2010 the President of Honduras officially enacted a permanent moratorium on shark fishing and all commercialization – a huge victory for the project, divers and the sharks!
Through onsite data collection, the Shark Legacy Project staff prepare non-economic valuation studies of shark populations to an areas tourism industry. These studies support enacting shark protection laws as a valuable resource to a community’s tourism industry, the longterm financial welfare of both its citizens and marine ecosystem. They also collaborate with local communities to show and create the social, economical and ecological value of sharks so they can protect their legacy. The Shark Legacy Project works with shark encounter diving services to collect data and educate recreational divers about sharks.