“Saving the ocean” can seem like a daunting task. We’ve compiled a list of ten things you can do today that will actually help coral reefs and marine species. From your friends at Turtle Island Restoration Network!

1. Wear sun protection over sunscreen.


Wear sun protection like rash guards, wetsuits and hats. When you do have to apply sunscreen make sure it doesn’t contain chemicals like oxybenzone and octinoxate (these harm the reef).

2. Stand on the sand.


When you’re in the ocean… If you have to stand, stand on the sand (not the reefs). Coral reefs are alive and full of creatures that don’t want to be stepped on.

3. Keep your distance.


When snorkeling or scuba diving, show respect for the reef ecosystem by keeping a 10-foot (or more) distance from all of the animals. It’s illegal to approach humpback whales closer than 100 yards.

4. Pick up trash.


If you see any trash, please put it in the proper recycling or trash bins so it’s not mistaken as food by animals of all sizes.

5. Report injured wildlife.


Please report any injured wildlife (marine mammals and sea turtles) to Hawai’i’s statewide stranding number: 1-888-256-9840.

6. Speak softly.


If you’re lucky enough to see a Hawaiian monk seal or sea turtle on land (this is quite normal in Hawai’i), you are welcome to observe them. They need their rest just like we do, so speak softly and take photographs (without flash) from over 15 feet away.

7. Be a responsible eco-tourist.


Only go on tours with responsible tour operators who never promote the harassment of animals (no chasing, touching or feeding).

8. Fish responsibly.

monk seal hook

If you fish, please learn the best techniques to prevent catching a turtle, monk seal or shark, and be prepared to know what to do if that does happen. And, take all hooks and line home with you so they don’t further harm animals in your absence. (Photo: NOAA)

9. Take action!


Support legislative actions that help the environment, no matter where you are.

10. Learn all you can.


Learn all about these beautiful and amazing coastal environments, and volunteer with us to help protect them! To volunteer, please e-mail us at info@seaturtles.org. Please consider donating to support our work for sea turtles, dolphins and marine wildlife around the globe!