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kauai reef etiquette
Crystal clear water, pristine beaches and marine life bring over one million visitors to Kauai annually. It is important  for the preservation of the reefs and marine life to follow Kauai reef etiquette. Corals and marine life are delicate and it is important to enjoy them responsibly. Help keep our reefs and ocean resources healthy by following the list of tips below:

  • Do not stand on, touch, or take any coral; this activity can damage and destroy the living reefs.
  • Do not feed the fish; this activity can upset the natural balance on the reef. Fish cannot digest some human foods like peas and corn and bread, chips and other human snacks contain oils that coat their eggs and can interfere with reproduction. View them in their natural state.
  • Pack your trash. This may sound simple, but look around before you leave, the trade winds can blow candy wrappers, plastic bags, bandages and cigarette butts far from their source.
  • Apply your sunscreen 15-20 minutes before entering the water and if possible use an environmentally friendly brand; environmentally friendly means that they contain no chemical sunscreens. Look for sunscreens that contain only zinc and titanium dioxides in the active ingredients.
  • View turtles, dolphins and monk seals from a distance. These animals are protected and it is unlawful to harass them.
  • Never anchor directly onto reefs; anchor in sand or on moorings. If you choose a snorkel tour, ask them what their policy is. Most of the tours on Kauai follow the laws and help people protect the reef.
  • Report dumping, poaching or other illegal activities, as well as stranding or marine life that appears to be in distress.

Please help keep our reefs clean and healthy by sharing these tips on Reef Etiquette.

For reporting or assistance you may contact DLNR (808)643-DLNR or NOAA Fisheries Enforcement Hotline: (800)853-1964.