8 Tips to Help Preserve the Adriatic Sea

Croatia has recently been dubbed the Ibiza of the Adriatic by several influential travel blogs and news outlets, and it’s hard not to see why: just last year Croatia had a mind-blowing 16.5 million visitors registered between January and October. Quite the comeback for a country which was almost fully unknown just 10 years ago. It’s no longer “Croatia-where?”, but “Croatia-when?!”.

Of course, most if not all of these visitors spent their time on the Adriatic coast of Croatia or on one of the countless islands. It is truly a gorgeous experience and with some of the cleanest waters in the World, something everyone should definitely experience at least once in their life time, but with such mas numbers of tourists, some very valid environmental concerns are raised. Can Croatia, a country of just 4 million people, sustain this huge influx of people in an ecological sense? Will the Adriatic soon lose its prestigious status of cleanliness?

To make sure Croatia keeps its outstanding level of cleanliness and pristine nature, here are 8 tips you should keep in mind and try to practice during your visit. After all, we want you to come back time and time again and be simply blown away every time!

Galesnjak Island in Croatia

1. Arrive to a clean beach – leave a clean beach

Everyone loves a day in the sun, on the towel right next to the Sea, watching the waves lazily caress the land and dipping in for a refreshing cool down here and there. But imagine if you arrived in the early morning and encountered not a beach full of joyous people, but rather something more akin to a landfill. Not pleasant, right?

Make sure to always collect any waste and dispose of it in an appropriate spot later on. Don’t leave remains of food, beverage containers etc. behind. If you are a smoker, please do not throw cigarette butts around and especially not into the water – these are a huge choking hazard for marine life!

Feel like you could be doing more? Why not involve the whole family and make a competition around cleaning up the beach? 1 bag of trash collected = 1 scoop of ice cream!

Beach on Brac island in Croatia

2. Carbon footprint? I only leave mine in the sand!

It’s a fact of life that we as humans leave a carbon footprint in the atmosphere simply by existing, and even more so in the modern era. For better or for worse, we rely on technology in almost every aspect of every day life. Technology requires some type of fuel to run, and creating this fuel, be it oil, electricity, heat etc., does have an effect on the world around us.

Every single ship under the Swallow banner strictly follows ecological guidelines to make sure we disturb the Sea life as minimally as possible, but is there anything you could do while enjoying life with us?

Of course, there is! Turn off the air con while sleeping, be mindful of your electricity consumption, don’t take hour long showers to conserve water, maybe even consider switching that Kindle off and grabbing a real book to relax in the afternoon? Do as much or as little as you wish, but remember – every little thing helps!

Marine life in Adriatic Sea

3. Less plastic – more alternatives!

This one is a no brainier really, and partly a continuation of the last tip.

It is no secret that plastic is the number one cause of concern for the environment in general, nut just sea life. But especially for sea life!

I’m not going to repeat the insanely long numbers of years it takes for plastic to decompose; we are all very familiar with these statistics.

Instead, let’s keep this tip short and sweet! To make sure no marine life in the Adriatic chokes on a lose piece of plastic, if you can use an alternative, use it! Paper straws, cups, reusable bags, cloth diapers and a whole myriad of no plastic solutions exist for decades. And if you really must use plastic, as is sometimes the case, please make sure to dispose of it in proper spots, but never over the railing of the ship!

Scuba diving in Adriati Sea – Vis island

4. Scuba away, but keep to yourself!

Sea life is often times vastly more fragile than it would seem. A tiny coral might have taken hundreds of years to grow, or a shell took decades to arrive to its destination. Regardless of any other factor, each organism calling the sea its home has a purpose, and any disturbance, however small or insignificant it may seem, might have devastating consequences down the line!

While Croatia should definitely be explored with scuba gear equipped, if you do decide to submerge yourself deep into the underwater beauties of the Adriatic, keep mind to not touch or disturb anything you absolutely don’t have to!

Sea shells on the shore of the Croatia island

5. Hey, where are you going with my stuff!

This one goes without saying, but disturbing the sea life also extends to not taking anything with you after a dive! Almost everything found underwater is either alive or is used by a living organism. To avoid disturbing the balance of the sea, make sure to only take pictures with you and nothing else!

Sea food – Mediterranean food in Croatia

6. Sea food, fresh from this morning!

For centuries, every tiny village on the Dalmatian coast and on the islands has had one thing in common: fishing. To this day, there are small villages on secluded islands with only a handful of residents who sustain themselves by doing what they do best, and that is safely, efficiently and as with as little invasiveness as possible catching fresh seafood every single day.

There were several studies done recently, both in Croatia and internationally, which showed that alarmingly often, the fish we get at supermarkets is labelled as once species, but is actually a completely different one, more times than not shipped from massively exploited fishing spots done with industry in mind with little to no care for the impact on the environment.

While in Croatia, why not opt to sit down at a small, family owned restaurant, order a home-cooked traditional dish, as fresh as it can be? The difference will be quite hard to ignore!

7. Set the example

While it would be ideal if every single human being on the planet was living as environmentally conscious and efficient as possible, this is of course a far-fetched desire. Not an impossible dream, but one that will take a lot of time to achieve.

Sure, the actions of an individual may not do much in reversing the damage already done, but it’s an extremely important piece in fighting the good fight. If you have young children, instill in them good eco habits early on, and hopefully they will continue doing the same for their peers and future children. If not children, then make it a mission to get as many friends as you can to be a bit more mindful of their impact on the climate. Involve your local community, run neighborhood clean-up days, recycling weekends, educate and lead in example and slowly but surely we will see the change we helped bring!

8. No time like the present – take action!

The more people learn about our oceans and its inhabitants and how to protect the ocean the more they love being a part of ocean conservation. Issues become more apparent as your passion grows. With this passion comes great responsibility and also the desire to share your knowledge and inspire others.

See plastic on the seabed while diving? Take a picture and share it online. Stumble upon a dirty beach? Clean it up and get as many willing bystanders to help. Have a valid environmental concern? Spread the word, raise awareness and never stop fighting for the only home we have!