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A LIFE-CHANGING EXPERIENCE FOR ABLE-BODIED AND DIFFERENTLY ABLED PEOPLE ALIKE

By Mia Raghavi, 30 April 2020

Scuba diving is a dynamic and inclusive sport that is enjoyed by everyone. Some perceive it as a safe way to overcome their fear of water. Some dive to experience the extraordinary feeling of breathing underwater if they cannot see, while some dive to observe the marine life up close if they cannot hear. For some others, it is liberating to be temporarily out of their wheelchair and able to do a variety of manoeuvres underwater.

Whatever the reason may be, scuba diving truly is for everyone since it’s a sport that is adapted to the needs of individuals rather than the other way around. With the right motivation from within, you can discover any passion and pursue it with all you have. And if you think that scuba diving could be it, read/listen on to learn how to get started.

WHO CAN DIVE?

Anyone with the curiosity to explore and the will to overcome her/his fears or limitations can dive. Although, as with many other sports, scuba diving too has safety considerations. Firstly, you must go through the medical form to see if you have any conditions that may require you to consult a doctor before diving. For instance, cardiovascular and respiratory ailments predispose you to certain risks with scuba diving, which means you would need a valid written clearance by a doctor declaring you medically fit for scuba diving. The doctor would assess factors like the effects of medications wearing off sooner under pressure, or if you’ve had surgery, whether you’ve had ample time to allow the injuries or stitches to heal before diving.

Generally, divers rely on the feet and finning to propel themselves underwater. However, people with paraplegia can dive using their arms and specialised webbed gloves for the hands. Diving requires the use of at least one hand to control the scuba equipment and to communicate using hand signals. With adequate training, you can master all the skills using only one hand. Not everyone would have the same problems. So, I suggest that you discuss with an instructor at Barefoot Scuba the specific challenges you may have to face and overcome, to understand if diving is something for you.

WHICH DIVING PROGRAMME CAN I SIGN UP FOR?

PADI Discover Scuba Diving is an introductory programme that involves basic training in how to breathe from the scuba equipment and equalise pressure in the body airspaces while underwater. One of our many instructors who are specialised in Adaptive Techniques will be with you and guide you throughout this dive experience.

To become a certified diver and keep diving regularly, you must be able to float and swim, just enough to ensure that you are comfortable and enjoy being in the water. It is not a race, so sheer willpower and some practice are all you need.

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During the PADI Open Water Diver course at Barefoot Scuba, you will learn everything and meet the performance requirements as anyone else would, except that you will be using techniques adapted to your comfort level. Once certified, make sure that you always dive with either a dive professional or a PADI Adaptive Support Diver.

WHO IS A PADI ADAPTIVE SUPPORT DIVER?

Diving is always done in a buddy system and never alone. Any certified diver can do the PADI Adaptive Support Diver course to learn how best to help a buddy with physical or mental challenges while diving. That way, the life-altering experience of scuba diving can be shared with loved ones.

If you wish to know more or dive with a PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialist Instructor at Barefoot Scuba off the beautiful Havelock Island, Andaman, please contact us.