Eco Friendly

Roatan’s Coral Restoration Certification Program

All around the world coral reefs are suffering due to coral diseases, climate change, over-fishing, land-based pollution and other stressors!

Our time and effort are crucial to preserving and restoring Roatan and now there is a way you can help…

Introducing Roatan’s Coral Restoration Certification Program!

A program designed to empower divers to engage in coral conservation and provide a hands-on opportunity to grow, monitor, and outplant corals.

This program has been created by the Roatan Marine Park – an internationally recognized not-for-profit organization founded in 2005. Since then, they have protected Roatan’s marine ecosystems and worked with the community to spread knowledge and reduce hazards to the environment.

Cleaning some coral! Photo by Patric Ocean

Why the need for this program?

For many years, the Roatan Marine Park has been working hard to protect the reef from multiple stressors. Now they are also engaged in rebuilding the reef through active coral restoration and created a certification course to get YOU involved.

“This project is an important part of our strategy to protect our marine ecosystems and empower people to engage in coral conservation. We hope you enjoy learning about our coral restoration program and use your knowledge and experience to help educate others about the importance of coral reefs” – Francis Lean, Executive Director, Roatan Marine Park

a group of people standing around a table
Constructing a nursery!

Give me the coral details

Currently, the program is focused on growing Staghorn and Elkhorn corals. Each a crucial species as they provide the three-dimensional framework vital for healthy reefs. The bad news- up to 98% of these crucial species have been lost due to the White Band Disease epidemic of the 1970′ and 80’s.

The good news- Roatan still has many resilient Elkhorn and Staghorn coral colonies, that have survived the disease epidemics and the other stressors! Even better news- these species grow FAST and the program works to preserve the genetic diversity of the survivors by growing them in coral nurseries and outplanting the coral back on the reef!

So what’s a Coral Nursery?

This is a tree like structure built to house and grow the coral and it looks like this…

Look at all those nurseries! Photo by Patric Ocean

The Roatan Marine Park has partnered with local leading dive shops (like us at Coconut Tree Divers!) to build a community supported coral nursery near the SeaQuest Deep dive site.

By collecting viable coral fragments, or small cuttings from healthy colonies, we are able to stock the nursery and grow the fragments over 6-9 months into large enough pieces to ‘re plant’ back on the reef. Our work does not end there though, we make sure to monitor the growth and health of the outplanted coral to evaluate and improve our process.

The Roatan Marine Park Coral Restoration Program has successfully installed 20 coral nursery trees growing a total of 910 corals and COUNTING!! Every little piece helps to save our coral reef ecosystem!

A volunteer at work! Photo by Patric Ocean

How YOU can get directly involved – Roatan’s Coral Restoration Certification

For those passionate and interested in learning how to maintain the nurseries and plant corals back on the reef… this certification course is for you!

FIRST – Roatan’s Coral Restoration Certification course will start with a four hour classroom session where divers are provided a background on coral ecology, coral stressors, the and the procedures used in maintaining coral trees, and outplanting and monitoring coral.

a group of people sitting in front of a store
Coconut Tree Instructor Rachael Teaching the crew about the program at our dive shop!

NEXT – you will complete two open water dives.

First dive will be to maintain the coral nursery and the basics of how to clean coral trees. With the second dive to either outplant coral, monitor coral health, or install coral trees depending on the needs of that time!

FINALLY – Once successfully completed, you will be issued your RMP Coral Restoration card and be certified to continue with any volunteer efforts you wish. Just visiting? That is fantastic and we so encourage you to get involved in the program and experience hands-on coral restoration to inspire you to continue to engage in ocean conservation and awareness.

Photo by Patric Ocean

And you never know what type of critters you will spot during your time under water! Check out this squid squad that decided drop by the nursery.;.

SO COOL! Photo by Patric Ocean

How do I Sign Up?

The RMP Coral Restoration Certification class is offered by us here at Coconut Tree Divers! Part of the certification course goes directly to the Roatan Marine Park to protect and restore Roatan’s coral reefs.

Please contact us at Coconut Tree Divers for a list of available dates and prices! We cannot wait to work with you!

*Please note you must first have your open water certification

For further information check out RMP’s Coral Restoration page here.

Eagle Ray spotting!

A Plastic Free Roatan


Plastic is widely used in every day life. It is cheap, diverse, and very useful.

SO.. what is the problem with plastic?

The problem with plastic is that most of it isn’t biodegradable. Unlike paper or food, plastic never rots. Once thrown out, it can remain on earth for hundreds of years.

Which totally sucks because every year 400 million tons of plastic is created and 40% of that is one time use only. AKA: we ditch it into the world after using it once.

Unfortunately most of this plastic ends up in the ocean. There are five enormous patches of plastic in our worlds oceans. The one between California and Hawaii is the size of the state of TEXAS. About 8 million metric tons of plastic are thrown into the ocean annually.

A giant plastic ‘island’ in the middle of the ocean formed due to currents.

Plastic and marine life.

When plastic is entered into the ocean it does harm in more ways that one.

Many marine life animals cannot distinguish plastic items with food.

One in three sea turtles, and around 90% of seabirds, have eaten plastic. Often times plastic is covered in algae and mistaken as food, or tiny pieces of plastic are accidentally consumed due to size or placement. Animals cannot digest plastic so their stomachs become blocked or full, leaving no room for actual food and starving them to death. If fish are consuming plastic, and you are consuming fish then…

The litter leaves this Manta Ray with no choice but to consume all this plastic.
Animals do not have to consume plastic for it to be harmful.

Larger pieces of plastic, such as carrier bags or food packaging, can trap, strangle and endanger animals. Manta rays, whales, sharks and turtles all suffer big time from this.

Coral reefs are called home by 25% of the oceans critters. A coral is more likely to die by 85% after coming into contact with plastic causing damage or infection. WOW.

By 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than there are fish (by weight)… think about that.

Poor turtle has plastic caught around his mouth.

So what do we do?

Solving this plastic problem is not going to happen overnight. I do not know about you… but the thought of this plastic catastrophe is overwhelming. It is loud, it is real, and of great magnitude, but we all have to start at home to make a difference. Our home is the Coconut Tree Dive shop located in Roatan, Honduras. Here are things we do (that you can too) in an effort to reduce the amount of plastic our beautiful Caribbean waters see.

Carbon footprint

We reduced our carbon footprint by eradicating all styrofoam, straws, plastic plates, bags, cups and utensils from our shop. Instead, we provide our staff and customers with real plates, silverware, coffee mugs and reusable cups and straws. It is such an easy fix to simply not use plastic items.

Beach and ocean clean ups

Our staff, dive masters and even customers participate in our frequent beach and underwater clean ups. Picking up trash from the beach front not only makes the beach more inviting but prevents those rubbish items from making their way into the ocean! The real fun can come from our diving clean ups though. We gear up with one mission in mind: gather as much trash and plastic as you can. Take a look as this…

All of this plastic and trash found from one dive!


Here on Roatan, all trash goes to the ‘dump.’ An above ground land fill, that is often so massive it can overflow into the ocean. It is so important here to dispose of waste properly so that we can minimize what goes to the dump. We make sure the waste from our shop gets properly recycled and disposed.


Cleaning up the trash and recycling is essential. But we like to do what we can to help restore as well. In an attempt to even slightly offset the amount of coral we lose to plastic and stress, we do our part to help create and maintain coral nurseries. To grow more coral to add back to the reef!

Building coral nurseries on our dive shop deck!


We can do our individual parts all we want, but if you ask us the biggest tool at our disposal to help create a plastic free Roatan we would say: Education. Teaching and spreading the facts about plastic. Passing on this knowledge so that others are inspired to take the same measures we are! First and foremost, we teach all of our students and customers how to become sustainable divers. Second, we offer a few specialty courses at our shop to help engage and educate more divers in the mission of creating a plastic free environment. Our Turtle & Shark conservation specialty courses aim to educate you about the causes of declining shark or turtle populations, to build an understanding of what is missing in our worlds efforts to prevent this. Our Eco Dive program specialty course ‘Dive against debris‘ from Project AWARE empowers scuba divers to remove marine debris from the ocean and report data on the types, quantities and locations of materials collected.

Become a turtle educated diver with us at Coconut Tree Divers Roatan

Coconut Tree Divers also looks forward to working with and participating in annual awareness events and activities organized by the Roatan Marine Park each year!

Plastic is a problem that is not going to go away without a lot of people’s help. Please do your part on the path to a plastic free planet. 

Thanks for reading =)

Together, we can keep our world this beautiful! Roatan, Honduras

We would love to have you come dive with us!
For more info on Coconut Tree Divers, schedules, courses, and pricing head to our homepage HERE!
To make a reservation head to our online reservation page HERE!
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Photo credit: 1, 2, 3

We would love to have you come dive with us!
For more info on Coconut Tree Divers, schedules, courses, and pricing head to our homepage HERE!
To make a reservation head to our online reservation page HERE!