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Time to tick one off your bucket list!

How many of you out there have wondered in awe at the marvels seen on the blue planet and similar tv series? How many of you have thought to yourself I would love to have a go at scuba diving so I could get a little closer to the underwater action? How many of you have thought to yourselves ‘’ I’m going to have a go at that one day’’? It has never been easier to have a go………………….so what’s your excuse. I have been diving since I was a young school leaver but had always dreamt of turning it into a profession bút never thought the opportunity would ever crop up. To be honest it never would have all the time I had the mindset of ”I’ll do that one day’’. In the end I just did it and have never looked back since. I love my job and all that it encompasses. So, if I can do it then so can you! All of our Pools are easily accessible either by public transport or by car and we have schedules to suit even the busiest of timetables so it doesn’t matter how busy you are, if it’s on your bucket list, then you need to give us a call. The oceans cover almost 80% of our planet so there is quite literally a whole new world out there waiting to be discovered. Don’t let time slip by with easy fixes on your bucket list. The oceanic world is out there waiting to be enjoyed by everyone and it’s just a simple call or email away. Many also think it’s about the money and it is a very elitest sport. Well you couldn’t be more wrong. There are many affordable ways of learning to scuba dive and it is considerably cheaper than a new set of golf clubs or bicycle and what’s more is that the license then lasts a lifetime. You can, with PADI, literally go anywhere in the world and experience the true beauty that our oceans have to offer. Astronauts use Scuba diving to train to go to the moon and beyond because the weightless feeling you experience whist scuba diving is so similar to the feeling experienced on the space station or face of the moon it allows them the opportunity to practise skills they will need when exploring space. How cool is that? You actually get the chance to feel like a spaceman too! Age is no excuse either, our youngest students are only 8 years old and our eldest club members are almost 80, still diving regularly. In fact they have just returned from an amazing dive trip to Tanzania where they were still able to experience things they had never experienced before! (see earlier blog about their adventures.) So, what are you waiting for? Get that ‘bucket list out’ and tick it off. Call us anytime to book your discover scuba diving experience.

Everything You Need to Know About World Turtle Day

Everything You Need to Know About World Turtle Day The 23rd of May is an important day for divers, environmentalists and animal activists around the world. It’s World Turtle Day! This special day has been created to raise awareness and respect for turtles and tortoises, encouraging people worldwide to take action and care for their environments. World Turtle Day recognises the struggles turtles are experiencing daily and how they are almost on the edge of extinction due to environmental hazards, pollution, and the hunting and harvesting of their eggs. So, what better way to raise awareness of turtles than by celebrating World Turtle Day and reminding ourselves that there is more we could be doing to protect these wonderful creatures. How Do People Celebrate World Turtle Day? World Turtle Day is celebrated globally in many ways. Some people will dress up as turtles, clean beaches, or raise awareness in the classroom through craft projects and education. It is important you do everything you can in your area to promote the protection of turtles. If there are no immediate activities or initiatives being taken in your area, why not coordinate some activities with local aquariums, pet stores or nature groups to raise awareness for turtles and the protection they need? However you celebrate World Turtle Day, make sure you do it in style and you understand why these incredible creatures need our support, protection and care. The Environmental Risks Turtles Face Daily Although many species of turtle are at risk of extinction, none are so acutely in danger as sea turtles. Just as their name suggests, sea turtles live in the sea and spend most of their time cruising around in the water. However, unlike other turtles they cannot retract their heads or legs into their shell, making them more vulnerable. Sea turtles suffer numerous threats, but they aren’t necessarily from other fish. The main threats sea turtles face are from humans! We use their eggs, meat, skin and shells for food and making money. All parts of the sea turtle are valuable and therefore, they are frequently victims of poaching and overfishing. What’s more, their safe havens on our beaches are being destroyed by global warming and these turtles are finding it increasingly difficult to find a safe place to rest and lay their eggs. It is difficult to count just how many turtles have been hit by automobiles in the past few years as they cross roads and beaches to find safe places to nest. Beaches that used to provide them an uninterrupted sanctuary are now heaving with people and are situated close to main roads. Close to Extinction Many species of turtles are in danger of becoming extinct due to their rapidly dwindling numbers, inability to find suitable breeding environments, and lack of pollutant-free spaces. In light of this awful wake-up call, May 23rd has been dedicated as World Turtle Day. Founded in 2000 by the American Tortoise Rescue, World Turtle Day focuses on raising awareness of the daily troubles turtles face. As the American Tortoise Rescue co-founder, Susan Tellem declared: “World Turtle Day was started to increase respect and knowledge for the world’s oldest creatures[…]These gentle animals have been around for about 200 million years, yet they are rapidly disappearing as a result of the exotic food industry, habitat destruction, global warming and the cruel pet trade.” She adds that the ultimate goal of World Turtle Day, “is to stop the illegal trade in turtles and tortoises around the world.” And slowly but surely, by raising awareness and educating people about turtles, we are all playing our part in helping this incredible species thrive and flourish. Find Out More If you would like to find out more about turtles, click here. Alternatively, if you would like to find out how our team at Oyster Diving are doing their bit to save the environment and educate others about turtles, click here. We hope that on the 23rd of May you will remember it’s World Turtle Day and you will do everything you can for turtles around the world! If we all work together, we can make a huge difference. 

Oyster Diving, the health of our oceans and the environment

Oyster Diving are committed members of PADI (the Professional Association of Diving Instructors), Project Aware, Planet First and a number of other Environmental Associations and with this commitment comes an ongoing dedication to ensure that a message of respect for our oceans and the planet is passed on to each and every student we teach to dive. As part of this drive toward eco-education Oyster Diving use every course and opportunity to introduce our students to ocean awareness, the health risks it faces and what we all need to do to try and right some of the wrongs we have done. We do this by taking scuba diving not only to pools with the general public but also to schools, youth associations, scouts, large corporate clients and summer camps. We also try to demonstrate to people the beauties of the oceans, some of which are not always so obvious. We do this by educating people on the basics of the life and eco systems that exist within our oceans such as the incredible reliance that the oceans have on creatures such as sharks and their place in the food chain, coral and how they and the phytoplankton produce over 85% of the planets Oxygen. When you consider that the amount of phytoplankton has declined by over 40% since 1950 we really need to act now before we run out of Oxygen! Sharks, being at the top of the food chain are absolutely essential in maintaining the equilibrium and balance. If they don’t exist then other predators will overpopulate the oceans depleting smaller fish and sealife to such an extent that the food chain will break down and the larger remaining predators will starve. Without sharks the oceans will die. Currently over 11000 (yes eleven thousand!) sharks PER HOUR (that’s around 100,000,000 per year!) are being killed by humans simply for their fins. This CANNOT be sustained. The Great Barrier reef although over 250,000,000 years old has been absolutely devastated, some say to the point of complete destruction, it is known to be more than 95% dead although reports say that it is in fact now only populated by coral farmed to suit the current conditions, through the process which has been called ‘Bleaching’. Bleaching is caused from rising sea temperatures caused by us through polluting the planet and causing global warming – there is no other way to put it. When you consider this has happened in a period beginning probably not much further back than the late 1700’s. So, in just over 200 years, we have killed 250,000,000 years of evolution (that equates to less than 0.0000008% of the lifespan of the reef itself!). How frightening is this? At Oyster Diving we are passionate about the sport and all that it brings to us. For example did you know that 71% of our planet is covered by water, You are missing out on almost ¾ of the planet if you can’t dive. Of the remaining 29% of the planet only 0.03% of the earths land mass is actually occupied by humans. Sadly we are an egocentric species overstating our own importance. It is time that we recognised that we NEED the planet, the planet certainly DOES NOT need us. By becoming involved in Scuba Diving you will very soon come to realise just how much real beauty there is out there and it doesn’t start with the human race. Many corporate companies are now coming to us as part of their recognition to encompass environmental awareness and to inform their team members of how they can look at changing the way they behave with regard to the use and disposal of plastics both at home and at the workplace. In the end everyone is saving money and the planet is being given half a chance of becoming a healthier one. The recovery of some of the species currently endangered is still possible if we act now. It is sadly too late for many including lonesome George the giant tortoise, the last of his kind who sadly passed away in 2012 aged around 102 years. Scuba Diving is a fun way to discover the beauty that surrounds us and also to understand the beauty of the planet we are borrowing from our future generations. A great, fun and team building way of introducing this into the workplace is by starting up a Scuba Club. Many organisations are doing this with us and for the members there are many benefits we can offer. However for the organisers there are even more! We will help organise the evening events which can be monthly, quarterly or even annually. Obviously the frequency will depend on how much interest you develop but the more often the more likely it is to be received as a positive and proactive event. Oyster Diving are working with many types of business ranging from larger corporate banks, legal practises, property companies etc. We also work with travel and concierge companies and super yacht manufacturers and charter businesses so our coverage is widespread. Please contact us and we will answer any questions you may have. We hope to see you soon.

The Different Scuba Diving Courses and Which is Best For You

Types of PADI Scuba Diving Courses

Making Sure You Choose the Right PADI Diving Course For You

  There are dozens of scuba diving courses to choose from, so this article explains the difference between the different course so you can ensure you select the best scuba diving course for you. Some of the options including getting qualified to dive, learning to take underwater photos, learning to dive deeper and even becoming a professional dive instructor.  

Scuba Diver Course

This course is really designed for people who don’t have time to complete the open water course. It teaches you the very basics of diving and once completed you can dive with a PADI Divemaster or Instructor to a maximum depth of the 12m. We don’t tend to offer this course as the way our courses are structured it only takes 1 more day to complete the full open water.

Open Water Diver

This is where your underwater adventures really start. The Junior version that means that anyone above the age of 10 is eligible to dive. The only other prerequisites are that you are in general good health (you can meet the requirements of the PADI medical form), you can swim 200m and float/tread water for 10 minutes. The course consists of 3 parts; theory, confined water dives (such as a pool) and 4 open water dives. On completion you have a life-long qualification that enables you to dive around the world.

Advanced Open Water Diver

To become an Advanced Open Water diver you simply need to have completed your open water course. The main benefits are that you are then qualified to dive to 30m (yes it is worth being able to go that deep), you receive 5 more dives under instruction meaning that you become a much more competent, confident and ultimately and safer diver. The course consists of 5 adventures dives. The Deep and Underwater Navigator are mandatory and then there are a choice of three others which depending on your interests, the local dive site, conditions and your instructor/dive school.

Rescue Diver

Once you’ve qualified as an Advanced Open Water diver you can progress to become a Rescue Diver. This is possibly the most challenging course you will undertake but the most rewarding. You’ll learn how to minimise your chances of an emergency, prevent others having problems and if they do you’ll know how to handle it. As well as being an Advanced Open Water Diver you’ll also need to have completed a valid First Aid course within the last 2 years. Many parents choose to do this course as it means they can be much more responsible when diving with their children.  

Master Scuba Diver

This is often referred to as the ‘Black Belt of Diving’ as it is the highest non-professional rating you can get. To become a Master Scuba Diver you need to have completed the Rescue Diver course, 5 specialty courses and 50 open water dives. With only 2% of all qualified divers achieving this level, you will be regarded as a the pinnacle of the diving world. You can choose all of the 5 specialties which means you can have fun on the way as well as learning new skills that interest you.

Scuba Diving Specialties

Once you’ve learned to dive, you never stop learning and improving your skills. The Specialty Courses are designed to teach you new skills that you are interested in. There are literraly dozens to choose from including:

Deep Diver

Learn to dive to 40m, the deepest you can qualify to go to as a recreational diver. Learn how to deal with Narcosis and what to do if you accidently exceed your no decompression limits.

Fish Identification

Where every you decide to go you’ll always come across interesting and local species. One of the most common questions dive guides receive is ‘what was that’. The Fish ID course teaches you about local species and how to interact with them.

Night Diver

Many species come out at night and many others go to sleep. So diving at night gives you a totally different experience. Having a decent torch can light up the dive site and many divers love night diving just as much as diving during the day. This course teaches how to dive at night safely as well as navigating around the site.

Enriched Air Nitrox

This course teaches you to breath a different blend of air to reduce the amount of Nitrogen going in to your system. This ultimately means you can stay down longer and you have more no decompression time. The course teaches you how to avoid possible complications to having too much Oxygen, how to plan your dive and how to analyse your air.

Wreck Diver

There are hundreds of historical wrecks around the world, as well as amazing museum pieces they act as manmade reef systems that can attract corals and marine life. Wreck Diving isn’t without it’s risks so you’ll learn how to navigate around a wreck and exit safely.

Professional Scuba Diving Qualifications

Divemaster

This is the entry level for the professional diver rating. You’ll need to be a Rescue Diver with 40 dives by the time you start the course and 60 dives by the time you finish. For those who wish to be the best diver they can be, or for those who wish to work as a Divemaster or progress to become an instructor then this is the course to take. As a qualified Divemaster you’ll be able guide dives, teach refresher courses and if you also do the DSD leader you can teach Discover Scuba experiences.

Open Water Scuba Instructor

To become a dive instructor you need to be a Divemaster with a minimum of 100 dives. The course is normally completed over a few weeks or several weekends. At the end of it is a 2-day open water instructor exam. Once you’ve qualified as an instructor you can work anywhere around the world – subject to local employment laws! You’ll get paid teaching the thing you love doing most, not many professions can offer that!   You can find out more on our PADI courses at www.oysterdiving.com    

Who are PADI and what does it stand for?

What is PADI and what does it mean?

This is a question we are frequently asked. PADI stands for the ‘Professional Association of Diving Instructors’. PADI are the world’s largest diving membership and scuba diving training organisation. They were founded in 1966 by John Cronin and Ralph Erickson. They decided to have a diver training course that allowed divers to get in the water as soon as safely possible and to break it down in to several modules. PADI offer scuba courses from beginners to professional level. The PADI Open Water course is the world’s most recognised diving certification. By March 2017 over 25 million people had learn ’t to dive under the PADI centre. There are over 6,300 PADI dive centres worldwide and there are over 136,000 members, most of whom are instructors and divemasters. Certification Levels Children:
  • PADI Seal Team (Age 8 and above)
  • PADI Bubble Maker (Age 8 and above)
  • Skin Diver (Snorkelling)
  • Junior Scuba Diver (Age 10 to 14)
  • Scuba Diver – subset of the PADI Open Water Diver course, must dive under the direct supervision of a PADI Professional
  • Junior Open Water Diver (Age 10 to 14)
Adults (aged 15+)
  • Open Water Diver
  • Adventure Diver – exposure to three elective scuba experiences
  • Advanced Open Water Diver – expanded scuba skills through “adventure” dive experience: a “deep” dive (18–30m), an underwater navigation dive and three electives from a large choice
  • Rescue Diver – Basic skills in stress management, self-rescue and buddy rescue for recreational diving.
  • Master Scuba Diver – recognition of selected set of certifications and experience: Advanced Open Water Diver, Rescue Diver, 5 elective specialties and 50 logged dives.
Recreational specialty courses   AWARE Coral Reef Conservation [23]
  • AWARE Fish Identification
  • Boat Diver – Boat terminology, boat diving procedures and etiquette, boat entries and exits, and basic boating safety.
  • Cavern Diver
  • Deep Diver – open water diving to maximum depth of 40 metres (130 ft)
  • Digital Underwater Photographer
  • Diver Propulsion Vehicle (underwater scooter)
  • Drift Diver
  • Dry Suit Diver – introduction to dry suit diving
  • Emergency Oxygen Provider Course
  • Enriched Air Diver – Recreational open circuit diving with Nitrox
  • Equipment Specialist – Routine care and maintenance procedures and scuba equipment storage. Basic repairs and adjustments.
  • Ice Diver
  • Multilevel Diver – plan and execute a multi-level dives.
  • National Geographic Diver
  • Night Diver – buoyancy control by feel, low light communication and buddy skills, entries, exits and navigation in the dark, and handling a dive light.
  • Peak Performance Buoyancy – trim correctly and maintain neutral buoyancy in mid-water.
  • Project AWARE
  • Search and Recovery
  • Rebreather (Semiclosed)
  • Advanced Rebreather
  • Self-Reliant Diver
  • Underwater Naturalist
  • Underwater Navigator – navigation using natural clues and by following compass headings
  • Underwater Photographer
  • Underwater Videographer
  • Wreck Diver
  • Professional certifications
  • Divemaster
  • Assistant Instructor
  • Open Water Scuba Instructor (OWSI)
  • Specialty Instructor
  • Master Scuba Diver Trainer (MSDT)
  • IDC Staff Instructor
  • Master Instructor
  • PADI Course Director
  • Technical diving
PADI have developed courses for those divers wishing to dive beyond 40 metres (130 feet), use stage decompression, dive in an overhead environment beyond 40 linear metres (130 linear feet), use accelerated decompression or use variable gas mixtures during a dive.   Open circuit scuba
  • Discover Tec (non-certification) – a short confined water experience that allows the diver to try out technical diving equipment under supervision.
  • Tec 40 – limited decompression dives to 40 metres (130 feet) using backmount or sidemount cylinders.
  • Tec 45 – diving using air or Nitrox to 45 metres (145 feet) with repetitive accelerated decompression dives using a single decompression cylinder using either backmount or sidemount.
  • Tec 50 – diving using air or Nitrox to 50 metres (165 feet) with accelerated decompression using up to two gases, using backmount or sidemount with up to two decompression cylinders.
  • Tec Trimix 65 – diving using trimix to maximum depth of 65 metres (210 feet) with accelerated decompression using two gases, using backmount or sidemount and two decompression cylinders.
  • Tec Trimix Diver – diving using trimix to 90 metres (300 feet) during training (no limit specified after training) using backmount or sidemount, and more than two cylinders with decompression gas
  Closed circuit rebreather  
  • Tec 40 CCR – no stop or limited decompression dives using a Type T CCR (PADI approved technical CCR) to a maximum depth of 40 metres (130 feet)[51]
  • Tec 60 CCR
  • Tec 100 CCR
  • Tec CCR Qualifier
  • Tec CCR Refresher
Specialities  
  • Tec Gas Blender speciality – blend nitrox and helium-blend breathing gases using one or more blending methods.[52]
  • Tec Sidemount speciality – dive with four sidemount cylinders.[53]
  • Professional certifications [54]
Professional
  • Tec Instructor
  • Tec Deep Instructor
  • Tec Gas Blender Instructor
  • Tec Trimix Instructor
  • Tec Sidemount Instructor
  • Tec 40 CCR Instructor
  • Tec 60 CCR Instructor
  • Tec 100 CCR Instructor
  • Freediving
  • PADI Basic Freediver
  • PADI Freediver
  • PADI Advanced Freediver
  • PADI Master Freediver
At Oyster Diving we offer a full range of PADI courses where local sites and conditions allow us. If you would like to learn to dive or carry on with your underwater adventures please give us a call 0800 699 0243.  

PADI SCUBA DIVING AND HOLIDAY CENTRE

0800 699 0243
01273 420790
  07920 516006
info@oysterdiving.com

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Oyster Luxury Travel and Diving: S.E. London & Kent, Soho Central London, Brighton & Hove, Surrey & Berkshire and Oxfordshire. Our main facility is at Marshall Street Leisure Centre, 15 Marshall St, Soho, London W1F 7EL

PADI Trained and Certified