Written by Kerrie Eade of Ocean Turtle Diving
One of the most rewarding aspects of running a dive centre and being a diving instructor is introducing new people to the underwater world that we all love. At Ocean Turtle Diving we are lucky to have a wide range, and diverse group, of customers that get as hooked on this sport as we do and continue on from their PADI Open Water Diver course to complete a range of continuing education courses.
It is important for us to get people fully engaged as soon as possible which is why, over the last 12 months, we have started reaching out to a range of schools and youth groups to start educating and training them in the world of scuba diving. We are also proud to have been among the first ever PADI® Approved Youth Training Facility and we have a full range of child sized dive kit so they are comfortable and safe.
There have been a range of successes from this initiative including the following highlights;
We were invited to talk to a local college about ProjectAWARE and highlight the effects of plastic on the oceans. We also used this session to show them the award winning film A Plastic Ocean to really help drive the message home and educate and encourage the students to start making changes that will help improve the health of the oceans.
Another really enjoyable session was with a group of deaf children who came to us to complete a Discover Scuba® Diving. Both staff and students alike really enjoyed their time underwater although we did often find it difficult to keep their attention and stop them talking – they definitely had an advantage when it came to underwater communications!
It is also useful to forge partnerships with local schools, where students can complete PADI Open Water Diver courses ready for the summer holidays! But don’t think it’s just summer time when students are interested in diving – we’ve just started a course taking a group of students through their training over the autumn term. Training groups of students is a great way of introducing conservation messages to a younger generation but also their enthusiasm is so infectious that it makes each and every training session as enjoyable for the instructional team as it is for the students.
The final initiative that we have started and really hope to build on is visiting local infant and junior schools to introduce them to scuba diving. We take in the equipment for them to learn about and to try and show them a range of videos and photographs of the huge range of things that we see underwater to start getting them interested in this amazing world. We also make sure we start to introduce the conservation and environmental messages of the issues that we are currently facing as this is the generation that can really start to make a difference.
Through educating a range of young people by teaching them to dive and by going into schools and colleges to highlight the issues that the oceans are facing, we really hope that we can help the next generation of divers have conservation at the forefront of their minds to really help improve the health of our oceans.