November 27, 2021

Diving Mauritius and the Mauritian Scuba Diving Association

By Scubaverse

Mauritius is safe, well disciplined and Coronavirus free. Our lockdown ended on Friday 15 May, and as soon as our border re-opens we welcome you to dive with us on the World’s most Romantic Island.

When I first started diving in Mauritius I checked its safety records and I could not find any reports of diving accidents. This is very unusual as it’s clearly a diving island, with some very deep spectacular tec diving reefs, plenty of strong currents and dramatic deep drop-offs. But no diving accidents?

It took a while to understand because communication is not their strong suit, but its because of the MSDA. The MDSA was started in 1989 to ensure that diving in Mauritius would be professional, safe and standardized under a professional body.

With a dated website and volunteer officials all of whom are busy scuba divers and diving business owners, the MSDA has done the incredible.

Originally established to ensure that diving centres would follow proper scuba diving protocols, MSDA is an Association, and all its officials are volunteers from the diving industry. There is a small office staff that executes the MSDA recommendations. The MSDA also sells insurance indemnity forms that protect both the client and the diving centre. MSDA is affiliated to both CMAS and French Federation, both of which are similar diver training associations.

PADI is of course a commercial diver training and marketing organization so is not affiliated to the MSDA, but most Mauritius diving centres also belong to PADI. In fact there are more PADI diving centres in Mauritius than in South Africa.

French Federation regulations are very strict, and Mauritians are always obedient to licensing and regulations so diving in Mauritius is simply safer. French Federation allows only four divers per dive leader or instructor. Diving centres are checked for hygiene, oxygen, safety, life saving devices and staff training in first aid.

Mauritius is therefore exceptional in its management of diving centres. These can vary from the expensive Resort diving centres to the one man one skipper small boat operators, to the big commercial high- profile diving centres near or on the Public Beaches. They are all licensed by the Tourism Authority, and all are checked by MSDA.

Strangely, Mauritius has not really been promoted as a diving destination. In 2016 it was not even on the PADI website, and a search for diving in Mauritius led to Majorca.

Mauritius offers superb wreck diving from 16 metres to 40 metres, where nobody died in the sinking of the wrecks and many of them are confiscated fishing trawlers. Divers get a lot of satisfaction out of this knowledge.

There is a large and energetic turtle population, where the endangered Hawksbill species may be breeding on one of the outer Islands so we are all looking forward to exploring these remote islands.

Specific species are plentiful, with 11 different Moray eel species to be found on a single reef. Drift diving is possible with strong currents and huge schools of eagle rays.

Fabulous shark diving in washing machine conditions under the Northern Islands, where four different species of shark are regularly seen, and sharks occur naturally.

Macro life that is in some instances un-described, rare and seen only in this Indian Ocean Island on the tip of the Mascarene plateau. Corals are re-growing, and there are many different species of coral, both hard and soft.

The water temperature is below 29 degrees, so there is no threat from global warming in Mauritius, and our corals recover rapidly if there is over-fishing. The upwelling from the Southern Ocean in our June to September winter bring upwellings of plankton, and since the Indian Ocean is also the breeding ground for whales it is a whale sanctuary under the IWF regulations. The 2.3 million square kilometre portion of the Indian Ocean that forms the Oceanographic State of Mauritius’s waters are protected by the EU.

In place is the Europeche contract in exchange for fishing right in its waters. We don’t have the resources or the manpower to protect our marine resources, but Mauritius has solid contracts and good friends who do. It’s a great place to dive – come and see for yourself!

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