9 Ways to Protect Coral Reefs Snorkeling and Scuba Diving

(Last Updated On: February 9, 2019)


Thailand offers some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving in the world, and there are some amazing places near Koh Lanta to go on unforgettable snorkeling and diving trips.  These are hugely popular activities on Koh Lanta, but they can also pose a threat to coral reefs.  Coral reefs are incredibly fragile and easily damaged.  There are though ways to protect coral reefs, and it’s good to be aware of these before you go on a snorkeling or diving trip.


scuba diving at Koh Ha, near Koh Lanta, Thailand
Scuba diving at Koh Ha, near Koh Lanta, Thailand


The world’s coral reefs are under threat from so many things – climate change, coastal development, tourism, ocean pollution, over fishing.  Corals are vital to the health of our oceans, they protect coastal areas from storm damage, provide a home for marine life, and also a livelihood for many people who live in coastal areas.

More than a quarter of the world’s coral reefs have already disappeared, and almost 90% of remaining corals are believed to be in serious danger.

Koh Lanta dive companies work hard to look after the coral reefs here and you can also help Koh Lanta’s coral reefs to remain healthy.  Take a look at these 9 ways to protect coral reefs, so you can avoid damaging them when you go snorkeling or diving.


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9 Ways to Protect Coral Reefs

These are 9 ways you can enjoy the amazing experience of snorkeling or scuba diving around coral reefs without harming them: 

1. Book your snorkeling trip with a professional dive company using certified instructors. 

2. Don’t touch the coral or let your body come into contact with it.

3. Never stand on coral.

4. Secure all your diving gear, so it doesn’t touch the coral.

5. Don’t pollute the water with anything, including sunscreen and other body care products, like shampoo and conditioner. 

You can buy biodegrable, reef safe sunscreen here on Koh Lanta at the Lanta Diver shop and Lanta Mart supermarket, both in Saladan town, and also Scubafish dive shop in Kantiang Bay.

6. Don’t break or take away any pieces of coral.

7. Don’t feed the fish.  (It’s harmful to the fish, people in the water, and the ecosystem).

8. Don’t fish or moor boats near coral reefs.

9. Reduce, reuse and recycle to prevent plastic ending up in the sea.


enjoy scuba diving near Koh Lanta, Thailand, and protect coral reefs


Take a look at these 4 ways you can keep Koh Lanta a paradise, by reducing the amount of trash you leave behind.



There are lots of excellent professional dive companies on Koh Lanta to choose from, and you can also book snorkeling trips with them.  Check out the reviews of Koh Lanta’s dive companies on Tripadvisor to help you choose.


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We’re really proud of the great selection of dive companies we have on Koh Lanta, and hope you have an amazing experience, whichever one you choose.

We hope you enjoy snorkeling and scuba diving on Koh Lanta and have an amazing, low impact trip, now you know the ways to protect coral reefs!

Have you been snorkeling or diving with a professional dive company on Koh Lanta?  Leave a comment below to let us know if you enjoyed it, and which companies you would recommend.

You might also like:

Koh Lanta: Home to Some of The Best Scuba Diving in Thailand



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9 ways to protect coral reefs when you go snorkeling & scuba diving



7 Replies to “9 Ways to Protect Coral Reefs Snorkeling and Scuba Diving”

  1. Being a beach lover, and also living close to the beach, I agree that we need to do whatever we can to protect the coral reefs. I get so upset with tourists who just go out there and grab what they can. Usually kids are taking coral and shells without any regard what so ever. These are all great ideas. Thanks for sharing. The word does need to get out!

  2. I agree that we do need to protect our coral reefs. I am a beach bum myself and get so infuriated with tourists, especially the kids just stomping all thru and taking coral and shells without any regard for the environment. Great information you have provided with a lot of excellent ideas!

    1. It seems that a lot of people just aren’t aware of the damage they’re doing.  That’s why we recommend that people always use professional dive companies, even for snorkeling trips, because the instructors are certified and will make sure the coral isn’t being damaged.  Many of the tour companies here don’t protect the coral in the way the dive companies do, which is really sad and short sighted 🙁

  3. Wow. Is that really true that more than a 1/4 of the world’s reefs have disappeared?? That’s terrible!

    It sounds like, based on the protection methods you mentioned, that breaking the coral is the biggest concern. I thought coral grows back if broken?

    Forgive my ignorance, I just haven’t heard these concerns before, except for the garbage and plastic in the ocean which definitely is a tragedy.

    I’ve used natural sunscreen for a long time now, but that’s just ‘cuz I don’t want to slather myself with chemicals! lol

    1. Yes, the threat to coral reefs is really worrying.  There are many things other than over tourism damaging them – climate change and warming oceans, over fishing, development and water pollution along coastal areas, and plastic pollution.  Tourists damaging them is just one part but something we at least have the power to change.  Koh Lanta has been running a successful coral propagation project for over a year, where they grow coral in a nursery and plant it in areas, such as Koh Ha, to keep the coral healthy and growing.  The Thai government is also acting to protect the marine parks and coral reefs by closing many vulnerable areas during the rainy season.  The famous Maya Bay, where The Beach was filmed, will be closing soon in an effort to protect it from irreparable damage.  Sadly, the coral reefs in that area have been destroyed by the huge volume of tourists visiting them.  It’s good that there are people working to protect the marine environment in Thailand though, so hopefully it will remain as healthy as it can, given the large number of tourists Thailand attracts. 

  4. This is such an important article! I am very glad that you are bringing awareness to the dangers that coral reefs and the marine ecosystems are facing. It is also great to know that we don’t have to completely give up our love of exploring these places – we just need to take precautions to leave the ecosystems in as great a condition as when we found them!

    1. Hi Janani, thanks so much for your comment. People often aren’t aware of how fragile coral reefs are and how they can cause damage to them when they go snorkeling or diving. We hope more people start to understand their importance and how they can help to protect them. 🙂

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