“Breaking Barriers with Bubbles!”
On Thursday last week the club hosted a talk from Duncan Brown, a Trustee and one of the founding members of Dive Ability.
Since 2012 Dive Ability have been taking folk with all manner of disabilities into the water to give them the chance to dive that they perhaps never though possible. Whether they be quadriplegic, paraplegic, MS sufferers, amputees, blind or a myriad of other problems they are all welcomed.
Duncan showed videos of the work the charity does, with monthly training courses and trial dives at Lord Wandsworth College, to dive trips to the Red Sea.
Duncan spoke about how working as a team of 5 support divers and a specially designed harness to help a quadriplegic diver maintain stabilisation, propulsion and equalising of the ears during diving in the red sea. (One diver swimming backwards in front of the disabled diver for equalising and eye contact, two on either side to prevent role, one on the feet to keep them together and one above the tank to provide the propulsion…if you were wondering!)
Although working closely with BSAC and PADI as well as other recognised diving organisations Dive Ability courses are certified through the HSA (Handicapped Scuba Association) of America, including the instructor courses.
The instructors learn more about how to handle the different disabilities during a dive, rather than dive theory again. The hardest part of their training is when they have to don a black out mask, or when they have their feet tied together or their arms or both arms and feet to experience what it is like for the trainees and divers they will be training and supporting. It’s only then that instructors come to the realisation on how much courage these disabled divers have and the trust they put into the team around them.
Truly inspirational to hear about the disabled divers helped by Dive Ability.