Tenerife: The Growth of Illegal Diving Centers and the Threats to the Marine Environment

Tenerife, famous for its breathtaking beaches, cliffs and crystal-clear waters, attracts thousands of tourists every year eager to explore the wonders of its marine environment. 

However, behind the charm of these waters lies a growing problem: the proliferation of illegal and improvised diving centers.

These unauthorized operations, run by unlicensed and unregulated operators, pose a number of risks to both visitors and the local marine ecosystem. The emergence of these illegal activities has become a topic of great concern for local authorities and environmentalists, as it threatens the safety of tourists and damages sensitive marine habitats.

The expansion of Illegal Diving Centers

The growing popularity of diving activities has led to the opening of numerous legitimate diving centers in Tenerife. However, this demand has also created an attractive market for illegal operations.

These illegal diving centers operate easily using the internet, hotel facilities, hostels and excursion outlets who do not care about the service being offered to tourists, just to earn extra commissions, attracting tourists looking for diving experiences at affordable prices.

Without the necessary licenses and appropriate safety checks, these centers put divers’ lives at risk. Furthermore, unfair competition with legal diving centers creates a negative cycle that damages the entire diving tourism industry on the island.

Risks to Safety and the Environment

Illegal diving centers often neglect fundamental safety standards, such as having contracts with the Hyperbaric chamber, or having oxygen kits for underwater emergencies, do not carry out the mandatory annual checks or do not use disinfectant products to clean the equipment.

The use of obsolete or malfunctioning equipment and the lack of trained personnel increase the risk of serious diving accidents, putting the lives of the divers themselves and their instructors at risk.

Furthermore, the environmental impact of these illegal activities is significant. The marine areas around Tenerife are home to a rich biodiversity, including stingrays, tropically colored fish and sea turtles. It is often possible to see some diving centers giving food to the fish or turtles to ensure that they always remain in the same diving area.

Indiscriminate and unregulated access to these habitats can cause irreparable damage to marine ecosystems, compromising their long-term health.

The importance of Regulation and Supervision

Tackling the problem of illegal diving centers requires a concerted effort from local authorities, government agencies and environmental organizations. It is essential to strengthen existing controls and regulations to minimize the presence of illegal operators.

Furthermore, educating tourists on the importance of choosing licensed and environmentally friendly diving centers can help reduce demand for illegal activities. Information campaigns on practices safe and sustainable diving can help raise visitor awareness of the negative consequences of abusing such unregulated services.

How to find legal diving centers?

To find legal diving centers in Tenerife, you can follow these steps:

  • Online search: Use search engines like Google to search for diving centers in Tenerife. You can use keywords like “diving center Tenerife”, “scuba diving Tenerife”, or “diving centers in Tenerife”,
  • Specialized websites: There are specialized websites that list hundreds of diving centers around the world. Check the official diving centers on the website www.padi.com and those that need to be renewed for the current year. You can filter your search by entering the desired location, in this case Tenerife.
  • Online Reviews: Once you find some potential dive centers, check out the online reviews. Platforms like Google Maps, Instagram or Facebook can provide you with real feedback from people who have used the services offered by these centers. Read the Reviews thoroughly to understand if they are 100% real.
  • License verification: Make sure the diving center is legal and has all the necessary licenses and certifications. Diving centers must be authorized by local authorities and must have published on their website the license number issued by the Government of Canarias in our case TA-4-0026314.04 and can be affiliated with international diving organizations such as PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors), SSI (Scuba Schools International), or CMAS
  • Contact directly: You can directly contact diving centers that seem interesting to obtain further information on their services, rates, available equipment, and any special offers. Do not trust the centers that meet you directly at the dive sites or in the car parks, as they most likely do not have a structure or a real diving centre.
  • Ask for recommendations: If you know people who have visited Tenerife and gone diving, ask them for recommendations on quality, reliable diving centers.

Always make sure you choose a dive center that puts safety first and offers a pleasant and professional diving experience.


The proliferation of illegal diving centers represents a threat to the safety of divers and the health of Tenerife’s marine ecosystems. Addressing this problem requires a multilateral approach involving the relevant authorities, the tourism industry and the local community. 

Only through cooperation and concerted action will it be possible to protect Tenerife’s waters and preserve the beauty and diversity of its marine environment for future generations.

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