Caribbean Reef Buddy
How the minimum criteria of the responsible travel standard was met...
Caribbean Reef Buddy volunteer programs are designed to contribute to the local economy, as accommodation hired is locally-owned. Breakfast and evening meal is provided by a single locally-owned location, however any volunteer wanting lunch must purchase meals at a different locally-owned location.
Any marine conservation project work carried out by Caribbean Reef Buddy has a local empowerment component, with training and salaries provided to local community members, as well as educational outreach.
Caribbean Reef Buddy works closely in conjunction with the Marine Protected Area Rangers in their efforts to maintain and monitor the location.
All details of Caribbean Reef Buddy’s volunteer program are available paper-free. With the exception of legal diving paperwork requiring hard copies, the entirety of the volunteer registration process is paper-free.
The Caribbean Reef Buddy base of operations collects and utilizes rain water for daily operations, uses solar power whenever possible, and also participates in composting. Caribbean Reef Buddy uses boats which are modified to be lighter and more hydrodynamic for the purposes of increasing fuel efficiency. Each boat also uses small fuel-efficient engines and solar panels as a source of sustainable energy.
Volunteers are encouraged to bring refillable bottles for water, as well as reef safe sunscreen. Caribbean Reef Buddy boats also deliberately avoid anchoring to reduce physical damage to reefs.
Caribbean Reef Buddy volunteers undergo bespoke training to increase buoyancy control and environmentally- friendly diving habits to be carried through the marine conservation program tasks, as well as any future diving-related endeavours.
The volunteer programs share a focus on marine conservation, starting first with a solid base of knowledge through classroom sessions, followed by volunteer hands-on assistance with ongoing marine conservation programs.
The Caribbean Reef Buddy base of operations rents tanks to local fishers, creating opportunities for local community members to lead a traditional fishing-based lifestyle while encouraging eco-friendly and sustainable fishing habits outside the Marine Protected Area.
Caribbean Reef Buddy team members advise volunteers about appropriate behaviour and dress during their stay.
Members of the Caribbean Reef Buddy team work closely with locally-driven marine conservation projects to aid in local empowerment while providing the expertise and experience required to maximise efficiency and success.
Caribbean Reef Buddy also works with local government to promote sustainable, eco-friendly policies, particularly in relation to monitoring and control of invasive species.