At Divecrew we try not to teach divers as a homogenous group. Everyone is different. So how did we get to the this point? Well first thing is we challenge some agencies as they tend to turn our “sheep” instructors. Instructors being professional should use a range of skills and techniques so that every diver student can be taught in comfort and safety. Working with Deptherapy and injured troops heightened our senses to the individual needs of the divers. The “sheep” mentality is challenged as to what is a technique and what is a standard. For example many instructors talk of a giant stride as a deep water entry. So what is the best entry for a student? The easiest! Simple. The standards state a deep water entry not a giant stride.

When working with the troops, some of whom have missing limbs, it is seen so often that instructors know best. Normally the instructors do not have limbs missing. Therefore, one cannot put themselves in that students place. Sometimes the instructor has to state the output and ask the student how they think they can best achieve it.

Divecrew have been fortunate to work with an autistic group. Many wrote the group off stating scuba was just too much for them. Wrong! The students completed their open water but a miraculous change happened. At the beginning the students were withdrawn. We struggled to get them to participate. Eventually the barriers went down. By the end of the training, the students were laughing and joking with the team. Their confidence went through the roof.

So do we deploy different tactics. Yes we do. Divecrew are multi-agency and believe no one agency has it completely right. PADI, SSI, RAID and BSAC. So what our senior instructors do is work with the agencies standards then add value to the course by supplementing skills and training techniques. Our speciality courses are enhanced giving any diver more value, more skills, more understanding. Once the senior team agree on a skill, the skill and technique is cascaded down through professional master classes. These free classes for Divecrew professionals teach skills, techniques and control. We discuss the psychology of scuba and students. Everything possible is undertaken to ensure our students re well trained and at all times feel safe. We undertake our own Quality Assurance through the senior professionals. So regardless of the course being taught, a Master Instructors may show up to observe. When we have new instructors, they must go through an internship. Unfortunately too many instructors believe once they have the ticket they have the right to teach. Some lapse into bad habits. Some become complacent. Some out of date and out of touch. Unlike some other sports, scuba instructors do not have to have annual assessments to ensure they are up to date and technically correct.

Divecrew believe agencies should do more to teach instructors adaptive methods and how to treat divers as individuals. The psychology of scuba should be a pivotal component in the instructor candidates development. Blindly following a set powerpoint and or a slate, is not conducive to teaching professionally. It makes a mockery of being “Professional Educators”.

So our advice. If your chosen dive centre do not treat you with respect and as an individual, find another dive centre.

So what is this Gold Star? Divecrew is the UK’s only Gold Star Dive Centre. This was awarded to Divecrew for the work they do in Adaptive Teaching. Divecrew works with veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq that have suffered life changing injuries. PTSD, missing limbs, broken back etc. Using scuba diving as a means of helping rehabilitate, adaptive is about finding ways to certify divers regardless of their physical or mental challenge. Previously PADI, now RAID, different techniques are used to ensure the diver meets all the requirements.

Divecrew Master Instructor Martin has worked with a number of triple amputees and was the instructor using adaptive teaching to certify the worlds first PADI Rescue Diver – triple amputee.

Divecrew have taken years of adaptive teaching experience and also used these skills in the local community. A pilot study of seven Autistic young adults took place despite lots of ‘they cannot do that’ and the usual risk management and health and safety.  Out of the seven students six passed their full open water completing their deep dives right here in the UK.

Divecrew have taught partially sighted, profoundly deaf, MS sufferers, non weight bearing, paraplegic and students with learning challenges.

Martin said, ‘Never under estimate these challenged divers. Instructors do not know best, ask the diver how they think they can achieve mastery of a skill. I worked with one guy who had a through the shoulder amputation. He was strong as an ox. He could tie his shoe laces and his tie one handed. Above all, think outside the box! Most of our pro team are adaptive. Our senior instructors are very experienced in working with challenged divers. It is not some tick box exercise. Our training and techniques makes any instructor much better. This is not about some role play tick in the box’.