When we all learnt our PADI Open Water course, we were taught the rules and regulations of diving to ensure that we dive safe and comfortable. Being safe and comfortable on our dives results in greater enjoyment and it is for this enjoyment that we dive. Just like the rules and regulations of diving, the dive sites around Lembongan also have rules and regulations to ensure everyone that dives here is safe and comfortable. These rules were created by the Lembongan Marine Association (LMA).
This association is made up of all the main dive centres on the islands of Lembongan and Ceningan. The regulations created by this association are based upon 15 + years of knowledge of diving in these waters. These rules also apply to any dive centre from Bali that is diving the area.
Dive Site Safety:
The main idea of the regulations, is safety. Most of the rules apply to when and when not to dive some dive sites in the area. As we talked about in our ‘Diving the Channel‘ blog, there are only certain tides that it is possible to dive the channel sites. This information was collected by the Lembongan Marine Association (LMA) from many dives at these sites, recording the conditions, the tides and the time of day that the site was dived. With all this information, the ‘best’ time to dive sites was created. This information is used by all the dive centres to ensure safe dives at these sites.
Another very important rule that was brought in, was the universal radio channel to be used at Lembongan and Penida dive sites. This channel is 74 on the radio. Making sure all the dive boats in the area are on the same channel is very important for safety. Before the Lembongan Marine Association (LMA), this was not the case, some boats would be on channel 16 but most were on another channel that they used to communicate with the dive centre on land. If all boats are on different channels, communication out on the water is very difficult.
Now that all boats in the area are on the same channel, communication between captains has bloomed. It is not just emergency information running over the radio, it is often information to help other captains as well as information for dive sites.
Some of the information broadcast over the radio during any give day is:
- How many manta rays are at manta point / bay
- What’s the current like at a dive site
- How are the waves in the south
- Some divers from another boat have surfaced
- If a special creature has been spotted at a dive site
- What other captains are having for lunch
Connection Between Land and Sea:
Not only do all the LMA dive boats have radios, but so do the dive centres. This connection between land and sea creates a large amount of fast assistance. If a dive boat is having issues with the conditions, the boat or divers, the issue can be sent over the radio and assistance can be organised. This assistance could be anything from another dive boat coming over to provide tools, or to helping look for drifting divers or if in a diver emergency, dive centres on land can prepare for a diver coming back to land, needing help.
An island wide emergency action plan was also created by the LMA. On this action plan, there is a list of resources that dive centres can provide, eg. boats to Bali, AED, large supplies of oxygen, etc. this action plan also contains information for a meeting point and a space for emergency plans, for the current situation, to be created.
The regulations from the LMA also cover very general information that is given for a dive centre, (information you would not think about in the west but ignored by some centres here in Indonesia.)
- Every boat needs oxygen
- All dive guides need to be at least Divemaster
- 4 certified divers to 1 guide
- Every boat diving in the area must have a radio
- Every guide should have / use an SMB
- Max depth limit for diving in the area
Lembongan Marine Association and Other Island Issues:
The LMA is not only about the rules and regulations. The dive centre members meet once a month to talk about ongoing issues, plans for the future and any new issues that a dive centre has witnessed.
The current issues that are in talks with the LMA members recently are; the health of the reefs, mooring maintenance and illegal fishing. To help with data and information that is presented to the Indonesian government through the Coral Triangle Centre from the LMA, Lembongan’s resident manta researchers, Marine Megafauna are also a member of the LMA.
Twin Island Dive is apart of the LMA and follow all rules and regulations to ensure all our divers are safe and comfortable.