The Humble Reef Saver

Ocean First   Jul 01, 2022

At Ocean First, we were inspired to add the reef saver to our retail offerings after seeing them used in Thailand years ago. Unable to find wholesale manufacturers that were up to par, our very own Mark Duvall researched and developed the sticks you can see on display by our front counter.

It's a simple device - a metal rod with a wrist strap, easy enough to bring on your dive without being cumbersome. We offer two types of Reef Savers, a budget-friendly version made from stainless steel and a more robust version made from a high-quality titanium. Both materials were selected based on their strength and resistance to corrosion. Like duct tape, its humble design masks the sheer number of uses it can provide.

Prevent damage to coral:

Instead of cringing as fins meet fragile coral, beginner divers who are still perfecting their buoyancy can gently nudge themselves away from the reef by pressing away from a piece of exposed rock.

A handy underwater photography tool:

Underwater photographers, especially the ones on the hunt for a shot of an elusive macro critter, are able to steady themselves above the reef with the reef saver, allowing them to use more focus on the frame. Anyone who has watched a new diver try to use a GoPro knows that cameras are the ultimate distraction and a quick way to lose all control of your buoyancy if you aren’t careful

Point out critters:

Trying to show your dive buddy where in the crevice the nudibranch is hiding? The reef saver allows for some distance between you and the topography while offering a precise pointer. It sounds trivial until you are underwater and relying only on hand signals...every bit helps!

Get your buddy’s attention:

In addition to its reef-saving abilities, this stick also makes a fabulous tank banger! Get your buddy’s attention, whether they are wandering too far from the group or are about to miss the passing eagle ray.

Pairs well with the Rogue or Outlaw BCD:

It also has applications above the water. Have you met the new Aqualung Rogue or Outlaw? These modular BCDs are a new favorite in the shop, especially for travelers trying to reduce suitcase bulk. They are able to pack down so well because every piece snaps together - imagine a full BCD that can fit into a regulator bag! These are no chintzy toys; the snap closures are strong, meaning you have to use the right type of device to open them up. A pen works in a pinch, but can you guess what we reach for? Yep, the reef saver.

Don’t use it to replace common sense:

An Ocean First colleague recently traveled to Thailand, where these were first inspired, and reported that these sticks have a bad reputation among some dive professionals in the area. Probably for the reasons stated above, the stick has become a ubiquitous tool amongst poorly trained or inconsiderate dive guests who use it to roughly poke and bounce their way across reefs, stabbing coral and whatever else is in their path.

At Ocean First, we believe in not only teaching people how to dive; we create safe, confident, and conscientious divers. That means that we want to arm our divers with the tools they need to safely explore and protect the reef. The difference between an Ocean First diver and the divers that professionals love to hate is that we know to prioritize the health of the reef with proper equipment and training.

Purchase yours for your next dive adventure!