The Department of Tourism (DOT) announced on Wednesday dive establishments in Batangas Province — which is still under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) — are now allowed to accept guests for recreational scuba diving.
Before to this resolution, travel between areas under GCQ and modified GCQ for purposes of recreational diving was not permitted.
“We express our support to the diving community in Batangas, one of the premier diving destinations in the country. We remain optimistic yet cautious of its reopening to recreational diving,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.
Here are some do’s and don’ts you should be aware of before going scuba diving under GCQ.
DO: Bring your own gear
Instead of renting the dive shop’s gear and equipment, guests are now required to bring their own set of scuba gear and equipment box (with cover), which can be used as rinse and storage bins.
DON’T: Use saliva as a defogger.
Many divers spit on their mask to prevent fogging, but this is now prohibited. Dive establishments are now required to provide defog solutions (using soap or shampoo) for guests to use instead.
DO: Use face masks in dive boats.
When guests and crew are not in the water, they are required to wear face masks and observe physical distancing. Divers should also be reminded to use disinfect their hands throughout the day. Dive boats should also be disinfected before and after use.
DON’T: Go diving if you have comorbidities.
Guest of all ages from GCQ and modified GCQ areas are welcome to go diving recreationally. However, pregnant women and those with comorbidities are not permitted to dive.
DO: Take dive classes remotely.
The DOT and Philippine Commission on Sports Scuba Diving (PCSSD) encourage e-learning or distance learning to teach the theory part of the dive course. In cases when physical training is necessary, classrooms should be set up according to physical distancing requirements. Smaller classes with a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio is recommended.
DON’T: Dive with establishments without proper accreditation.
Based on PCSSD Administrative Order No. 2020–001 (Guidelines on the Operations on Dive Establishments Under a Community Quarantine), only dive establishments with a valid DOT and/or PCSSD Accreditation will be permitted to operate. These establishments should operate at 50% capacity.
These accreditations were designed to ensure that dive establishments are following the minimum health and safety guidelines.
DO: Test before travel.
Guests are required to present a negative RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) test result not earlier than 48 hours before arrival in the dive establishment.
Will you be going scuba diving in GCQ areas any time soon?