What Criteria Do We Use For the GreenList?

We’re glad you asked!

To be on the Manta Ray GreenList, each tour operator must adhere to these standards:

1. DO NO HARM to the Mantas by following & enforcing guidelines for safe, passive human interactions with the Manta Rays

2. PRIORITIZE SAFETY by having medical first responders on scene, an emergency plan & equipment on hand to manage a medical emergency independently

3. DO NO HARM to the aquatic environment (coral reef) by not anchoring or otherwise damaging this crucial ecosystem

4. FOLLOW established Operator Standards as to what is the safest way to conduct the activity

5. EDUCATE their visitors as to appropriate passive interaction with ocean life

Our GreenListed activity providers voluntarily commit to operating their businesses with these standards in place at all times .

If an activity provider operates outside these criteria, they are removed from the GreenList.

We publish an updated GreenList of Activity Providers regularly.

The following is a detailed list of the six major criteria activity providers must follow to be GreenListed.

Criteria #1

No Touching. Manta Rays have delicate protective coatings on their bodies that are removed/ damaged by contact. To be considered for the GreenList, activity providers must enforce a strict “No Touching” policy among their guests and staff at all times.


Criteria #2

To be GreenListed, operators must disallow free-diving during their tours.

Criteria #3

GreenListed operators do not use hull lighting on their boats.

Hull lighting is lighting near boat hardware like lines, rudders, ladders, and engines.

Lighting near these features greatly increases the likelihood that the Manta Rays will suffer from collision injuries.

Hull Lighting is the most disturbing element of many dive tours- yet it is the one easiest to solve. A simple switch from “ON to “OFF” protects the Rays.



Criteria #4

Sometimes smaller vessels and those with viewing windows do not secure to a mooring or anchor. This is called “live-boating”.

Live boating creates the potential for propeller strikes to both human visitors and Manta Rays.

Because of the high potential for serious injury, live boats are ineligible for the GreenList.


Criteria #5

The local community of dive and snorkeling tour operators functioned in cooperation from the early 90’s until 2012. The activity was centralized in one location so that no single group missed out on seeing the Manta Rays (called the “campfire method”).

Then, some operators decided to ignore these long-established, Manta friendly practices. They changed the dynamics of the Manta encounter experience by attracting Rays to their specific boats and over the coral- away from sandy areas. This “fragmented” the Manta Ray experience for everyone involved.

GreenListed operators practice the campfire method, by taking guests to the main viewing area.

Criteria #6

Large numbers of operators in the same area at the same time sometimes requires that tour vessels must anchor on site.

GreenListed activity providers anchor on sand and not coral, to protect the reefs.