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Dive Gloves, On or Off? Exploring the Effectiveness of Prohibiting Scuba Gloves

“I wear dive gloves because I want to and because they protect me,” said the diver who was arguing with the Dive instructor.

“Yes, sir,” replied the young man, “But here, in this marine park, dive gloves are not allowed. They are prohibited by law. We could all be fined, including you and the dive shop.”

Does this conversation sound familiar to you? Have you ever been forbidden to wear dive gloves under the excuse that they are prohibited? If you have already encountered the “Dive gloves are not allowed” warning and don’t know why such a prohibition exists or if it serves any purpose, stay tuned and we’ll explain.

Believe it or not, there are tropical dive sites such as Cozumel, Bonaire and Red Sea where the use of dive gloves is prohibited. Critics of this measure argue that it only leaves divers unprotected. Some experts even contend that scuba diving gloves create a false sense of security that ultimately leads to more damage to the reef. They believe that the real solution lies in divers improving their scuba skills and overall underwater proficiency.

This article navigates the dive glove controversy, shedding light on the ongoing debate and the prohibition of gloves for diving in select dive destinations.

By providing a balanced perspective, it aims to equip divers with the necessary information to make informed decisions regarding the use of dive gloves while ensuring the preservation of marine ecosystems.

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1. What Are Dive Gloves Used For?

Diving gloves are underwater tools that serve a purpose beyond just looking cool on your hands.

First and foremost, diving gloves are like cozy thermal blankets for your hands. In cold waters, they keep you warm and fend off hypothermia, allowing you to enjoy your dive without turning into an icicle. Goodbye, chilly hands; hello, warmth beneath the waves!

Of course, in tropical waters, this isn’t their main purpose. So, what is it?

Diving gloves also protect your hands from all sorts of hazards. Scrapes? Forgotten! Cuts and scratches? No problem! Diving gloves act as armor for your hands, shielding them from any harm they might encounter in the underwater world.

In summary, diving gloves are your aquatic allies. Whether you’re exploring a sunken ship or gliding among jellyfish, diving gloves offer protection to divers. So, why are there places where they are prohibited?


2. Why Are Dive Gloves Prohibited in Some Diving Locations?

It turns out that diving gloves are being banned in many places for a very important reason: coral reef conservation. Yes, corals are super sensitive and can suffer serious damage if divers touch them! The problem is that this law assumes that simply wearing gloves predisposes the diver to touch the corals.

But wait a moment, does that mean all divers are guilty until proven otherwise? Well, some argue that’s the case. Opponents of diving gloves say that if divers wear them, they might handle marine life more roughly and cause harm to delicate underwater ecosystems. Oops!

On the other hand, we have the defenders of diving gloves, who claim to be true nature lovers and deeply respect the sea and its inhabitants. They don’t understand why they are labeled as irresponsible just for wanting to protect their hands from the cold or scratches. They just want to enjoy their dive without feeling like a white-gloved criminal!

There are more reasons behind this prohibition of diving gloves. It turns out that gloves can also be a hazard to divers’ ability to handle their equipment precisely. In case of an emergency, manipulating buoyancy devices or underwater navigation systems could be more challenging.

Furthermore, some places prohibit gloves to handle knives and prevent unintended accidents. We definitely don’t want to cut things we shouldn’t under the water!

So, in summary, the idea behind banning diving gloves is for divers to be more cautious in their diving performance and avoid touching the reefs.

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3. Not Wearing Scuba Dive Gloves Pros and Cons

Let’s set emotions aside and analyze things with a cool head.

Here are the pros and cons of diving without gloves.

Let’s start with the advantages!

  • Hands-free for action! By ditching dive gloves, divers have complete freedom of movement with their hands to handle their equipment and tools.
  • Avoid touching the marine environment! By fearing damage from contact with the marine environment, divers avoid contact.
  • No marine litter! When you do away with scuba gloves, you don’t have to worry about losing one in the sea and adding to the accumulation of trash.

Cons of not using diving gloves

  • Risk of unpleasant encounters! Without dive gloves, your hands are exposed to unpleasant and potentially harmful things. We don’t want you to have an unpleasant surprise underwater, right?
  • Cold hands! In cold waters, your hands can suffer from the cold without scuba diving gloves.
  • Lack of grip! In case of slips or situations where you need to regain control, the absence of scuba dive gloves can result in poor grip.


4. Wearing Diving Gloves Pros and Cons

Advantages of using diving gloves

Dive gloves were invented for a reason, and we mentioned it a few lines ago.

  • They protect your hands from potentially dangerous elements and unpleasant things to touch, such as algae, trash, and lionfish spines.
  • They help keep your hands warm.
  • They can assist you in gripping if you slip.



Now let’s talk about their corrupting influence.

  • Scuba diving gloves can lead you down a dangerous path for both yourself and the environment, tempting you to touch surfaces and things you definitely shouldn’t.
  • On the other hand, there’s a saying in Spanish that goes, “A cat with gloves doesn’t catch mice.” It means that you don’t have the dexterity and fine motor skills of bare hands. Have you ever tried taking photos or adjusting your equipment wearing scuba gloves? Well, there you go.
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5. Is It Effective to Prohibit Dive Gloves?

While the goal of preserving coral reefs is commendable, the effectiveness of this strategy is questionable.

I have dived all over the world and encountered scuba divers of all kinds. There’s one thing I can tell you for sure: in general, divers are not bad because of ill intentions or a desire to harm nature. They are bad divers because of poor scuba practices.

This leads us to question: What should we address—the problem or the use of scuba gloves? Is banning diving gloves the optimal approach to safeguarding the reefs?


6. Diving Gloves Vs Diving Training

The majority of damage caused by divers to reefs stems from occasional mistakes, often related to a loss of buoyancy control. When divers lose control, they may unintentionally grab onto or collide with reefs.

Another contributing factor is over-weighting. In such cases, scuba divers need to constantly use their fins to elevate their legs and maintain a horizontal position. The downward flutter resulting from excess weight can damage the seabed and corals.

During a drift diving, divers sometimes feel the need to slow down their progress and resort to using their hands to hold onto reefs. In none of these scenarios does the ban on dive gloves prevent damage to the reefs. Instead, dive gloves may serve to enable divers’ poor habits.

So, what is the solution? Undoubtedly, the answer lies in comprehensive training. By enhancing buoyancy control, improving weighting techniques, and receiving proper instruction on drift diving, divers can minimize their impact on coral reefs.

Ultimately, better training as divers can effectively safeguard coral reefs.

The diving community finds itself at a crossroads – are dive gloves a risk to reefs, or is it a risk for divers not to wear them? We invite you to share your thoughts and comments on this topic on Facebook.