A distinctive specialty is a member authored outline that has been reviewed and approved by PADI.
The purpose of a distinctive specialty is to offer diver training in areas where PADI doesn’t have a standardised course.
Based on this concept, Ocean Diving Center in Abu Dhabi – UAE has received approval to teach the PADI RNLI Diver Sea Survival specialty course.
Here a brief description:
If you’re in danger at sea, knowing what to do can make the difference !
You could be rescued more quickly or may not even need rescuing if you have the right diving survival skills and kit.
The PADI RNLI Diver Sea Survival course specialty will provide you with the skills and knowledge to survive.
During the course ( which includes 2 Open Water Dives) you will learn:
navigation and safety equipment on dive boats
diving in low-visibility conditions
how to deal with out-of-air emergencies
use of surface marker buoys (SMBs)
ways of calling for help
how to deal with an emergency on the surface.
Teaching your own distinctive specialty course has never been so easy!
Check the concept:
send email@example.com a few sentences describing the course you would like to write. This gives us the opportunity to let you know if it is outside the scope of PADI training and guide you in the direction of a course that can be approved.
Take advantage of resources!
See Pros’Site/Training Essentials/Curriculum/Diver Training/Specialties/DistinctiveSpecialty Course Templatesfor detailed information.
At the end of November, a group of PADI Instructors, in the Eastern Region of Saudi Arabia, gathered together and organized a Discover Scuba Diving event for people with special needs.
The aim of the event was to foster participant’s confidence in their abilities as well as providing basic information about diving, the training involved but most important …to share how scuba diving can help those with the most serious of physical injuries!
Twelve adults and two children from different regions of Saudi Arabia attended the event.
Here some testimonials:
Mazen Zahrani, 14 years old: “Thanks to God and with the support of my mother, I was able to overcome these obstacles … it was a successful experience by all means and will allow me to experience other possibilities in life”
Mazen’s mother commented: “It was the dream of my dreams to see Mazen diving; I was very happy when I heard about a diving program for people with special needs: my happiness increased when I saw him in the water and I saw the ecstatic joy bursting out of him’.
Laila Al-Khawaja, mother of 13 years old Rawan Al-Khawaja: “I do not want her to feel different from the rest of her peers. She is capable of doing everything and she will do an amazing job if we encourage her as well as the community …. diving helped to increase her strengths and determination but also contributed to the elimination of fear …which is our first concern “
Khalid al-Aqeel: “What an experience: after the diving experience I felt like movement in my feet”
Muhsin Al-Ismail: “Wonderful and unique, I would like to send a message to all members of society that there is no such thing as impossible: we are able to succeed in any area of service to society and the nation”
Hani Al-Nasser: “I hope that diving will become a recognized sport for the special needs people and give them the opportunity to dive more”.
Abdullah Al Shahrani: “We never expected that those who were not able to walk on their feet would be able to experience diving; I thought that only those with feet and legs are able to dive, I would repeat it whenever I have the opportunity”.
Congratulations to all the partecipants to the event:
1. Mamdouh AlBalawi -KSA- Tabuk. 2. Jafar Al-Hleil -KSA- Qatif. 3. Khalid Al – Aqeel -KSA- Riyadh. 4. Mohammed Al-Assadi -KSA- Riyadh. 5. Abdullah Al-Shahrani -KSA- Riyadh. 6. Mohammed Al-Ghazawi -KSA- Qatif. 7. Bassam Al-Ruwaili -KSA- Arar. 8. Abdullah Al-Qallaf -KSA- Sihat. 9. Amr Dawood -KSA- Riyadh 10. Mazen Mohammed -KSA- Qatif. 11. Yousef Jamea -KSA- Riyadh. 12. Hani Al – Nasser -KSA- Qatif. 13. Rawan AlKhawaja 14. Mazen AlZahrani
And special thanks to all the PADI members involved:
Kasim Saeed – PADI Master Instructor Mohammed Abo-Abdullah – PADI instructor Hussain AlAbbas – PADI instructor Aqeel AlKhamis – PADI instructor Abdullah AlSadiq – PADI instructor Ali AlSalim –PADI Assistant instructor Ali AlBahrani – PADI Divemaster
On the 13th of November, a group of divers from Doha , leaded by PADI MSDT Edison Marinda, were enjoying their holidays in Seychelles.
While sailing South East of Mahe, the crew noticed a huge splash in the distance; curious about it, the skipper steered the boat towards it and suddenly a baby-whale broke the surface and slapped the fins on the water while another whale – bigger in size – from below the surface kept on spraying form her blowhole.
Here below Edison words ….
<<It looked like the baby-whale was alerting us that her mother was in trouble; everybody on the boat started shouting “whale – whale” … we grabbed our freediving gear and cameras and we all jumped in the water, leaded by the local dive guide. As soon as we approached the whales we could see the tragedy that was taking place: the whale was entangled in a massive fishing net, more than 50 meters long, filled with dead fish …including a juvenile shark. I felt sad and angry in seeing a gigantic 16-meter humpback whale, together with her calf, hovering powerless!>>
The team immediately headed back to the boat: in few minutes a rescue plan was in place, everybody knew what to do and they all jumped back in the water equipped with scuba gear and knives.
It was an hard mission that lasted more than one hour, as the distressed whale kept on swimming and diving to depth carrying the group of divers, who were holding on to the net, to 30 meters. At first, the rescue team was able to cut the net surrounding the mouth but there was still more entangled on the caudal and pectoral fins. It seemed that they couldn’t do any more than that and, due to dive profile and air consumption, the divers surfaced and went back to the boat. Few moments later the whale surfaced again, the team went back to the water and they were finally able to remove the remaining net and set the animal free!
<<It was an amazing feeling and experience to unleash this mighty creature. Thinking back, it was a highly dangerous mission: the whole team and I risked our own safety to save a life. This is a life lesson and an eye-opener to the world: a fishing net can endanger or even worst can kill sea creatures. We all have to be more responsible for how we act>> (Edison Marinda).
When it comes to dive center ownership, location is everything. You need access to good diving, good transport links for customers to reach you and a demand for diving that will sustain your operation. Salalah, the capital city of Dhofar province in the Southern region of Oman, provides these qualities for PADI Dive Centers.
What can you expect from owning a dive center on Oman’s Southern coast?
Like most places on Earth, dive store owners here can expect seasonal variance. In real terms, June to September is considered the low-season due to the Indian Ocean climate change. Although monsoon rain settling over the mountains turn the typical Arabian landscape into lush green scenic views, the diving grinds to a halt. Heavy rains wash out many dive sites and turn the underwater flora from vibrant coral fields into dense kelp forests. The strong winds and limited visibility make diving opportunities in Salalah difficult in this Khareef (autumn) season.
To learn more about the unique nature of Oman’s diving, visit the PADI Blog.
Once the Khareef is over, the diving starts! As to be expected from a Gulf country, everything goes back to normal sunny days during September. The green mountains fade for another year, giving way to the beautiful wild and white beaches. Temperatures average 30 degrees and are twinned with a pleasant constant ocean breeze. The water warms up and divers are ready once more.
Where to dive and what to expect?
Mirbat – Beach Diving and shallow waters. PADI Dive Centers can conduct all of the PADI Entry Level Courses in Mirbat.
Mirbat is approximately a 45-minute drive from Salalah. It is reached by 4X4: halfway on a scenic highway, paved alongside the Dhofar’s mountains, and the remaining part of the journey is an off-road drive above sandy dunes. All the dive sites in Mirbat are characterized by easy access directly from the shore. Underwater, the abundance of sunlight and limited depth provide the perfect conditions for corals to flourish. Mirbat’s diving environment not only offers stunning coral gardens, but also a great range of fish: from the tiniest Nudibranches, Flat Worms, Shrimp and other crustaceans to Clownfish, Octopus, Morays, Stonefish …and if you keep an eye on the blue, it is not unusual to spot different Rays, Turtles and Barracudas.
Main diving spots are: Eagle Bay, China Wreck and Aquarium.
Salalah – Boat Diving and depths of 30m offer a wide range of diving opportunities for a PADI Dive Center
Differently from Mirbat, diving in Salalah is operated by boat – departing from the fisherman’s port, which is easily reachable with a short drive from any accommodation in town. Dive sites are all located West of the port and along the cliff’s faces. Bottom’s depth in this area averages from 7 to 30 mt. therefore dive sites vary in topography each with something unique to offer; depending from your certification level, you can choose the better depth range that fits your needs. Given the location, marine life here changes with the season, constantly offering something new to admire: there is a large variety of Morays, Crocodile fish, Cuttlefish, Frogfish, the occasional huge Turtle and gigantic – up to 2mt.-Stingrays. During the dives, it is a good habit to monitor the surface as there is always a chance to find yourself caught in a school of Sardines being hunted by Trevally or even Mantas searching for Plankton.
Main diving spots are: Port wall, Raysut point and Donkeys Head east/west
What are you waiting for? For more information on diving in Oman, contact PADI Regional Manager Teo Brambilla
During September a few PADI Dive Centers in the Middle East started exploring alternative ways to promote the diving industry to increase diver acquisition.
The idea behind that is really simple yet very effective: attending non-diving related events / trade shows with the aim of attracting enthusiastic people interested in:
Increasing emotional well being
Visiting paradisiacal places
Connecting with nature
Building long lasting friendships
Increasing confidence and self esteem
There are several similar events regularly taking place in your region, just think about this: where could I meet people matching the characteristics above? …that’s the place where you want to exhibit, share your passion and attract new souls in discovering the beauty of the underwater world!
Here below some successful examples:
Dive Holics – Jeddah – Saudi Arabia
attending one of the several events scheduled for The National Day
Nautilus Diving – Kuwait City – Kuwait
attending the Outdoor Sports and Safari Show
Gulf Marine – Abu Dhabi – United Arab Emirates
attending the International Hunting and Equestrian exhibition
PADI member since 1994, Khaled started diving in Sharm El Sheikh – Red Sea, at the end of the 80’s, learning – as he says – by some of the industry’s world-class diving professional at that period of time.
After a successful career as PADI Instructor in the Red Sea, Khaled moved to Qatar – where he still lives – in the late 90’s: here he expanded his professional abilities by specializing in underwater photography, film making and rebreather diving, without – of course – quitting his passion for teaching by training thousands of PADI divers (and becoming PADI Master Instructor) !
After winning several prizes as photographer and film maker and having some of his photos selected to promote Qatar worldwide …he has now a mission:
<<Working as a professional UW photographer & film maker gave me the opportunity to dive more often and travel around the world …this made me understand how scuba diving could have a positive impact on the environmental and economic state of different countries >>.
Khaled, now involved in several Environmental projects, has a clear strategy: <<I like to use my knowledge and skills in photography and filming to attract new souls into the underwater world and make them ambassadors of the environment>>
That’s exactly what he does: Khaled regularly runs Photography workshops for non-divers, he constantly appears on TV shows/programs and magazines where he talks about diving and the positive impact and huge contribution that a certified diver can provide to the environment.
In April 2017 he was invited at the Underwater Life Conference (sponsored by UNESCO) in Salalah – Oman, as a guest of honour to talk about scuba diving and the positive effects of scuba diving on economy and environment.
On behalf of PADI, thanks Khaled for your continuous support and contribution to the diving industry’s growth in Qatar !
Successful turnout at Freestyle Divers – in Dibba – to celebrate the 2018 edition of PADI Women’s Dive Day.
More than 30 divers joined Freestyle’s Team diving in different locations of the East Coast, like Dibba Rock and Inchcape, for a total of over 100 dives throughout the day.
Guest Star, PADI Ambassadiver Slava Noor, was active part of the event: not only by joining the diving trips but also by giving a speech on how she became a diver and her journey to become PADI AmbassaDiver, highlighting how it helped her to become a better and more confident person. Slava took also the opportunity to talk about Ocean pollution and which measures can be taken, as divers, to reduce our footprint.
The day was quite inspiring for some of the participants and, as a result, 5 people joined the PADI Discover Scuba Diving program organized during the day, 6 ladies subscribed for the PADI Open Water Course starting next month, one registration for a PADI Advanced Open Water Course and …the icing on the cake, 4 ladies who decided to pursue the professional career and join October’s PADI Instructor Development Course!
Congratulations Freestyle Divers for the successful event: keep up the good work!
My story begins back in 2008 in Manchester, UK, when I was completing my undergraduate degree in Tourism. Wanting a break to seek out the sun and sand, I headed to Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt. It was here that I first encountered the underwater world by way of a PADI Discover Scuba Diving experience, which was truly life changing. I went back in 2009 where I completed the PADI Open Water course. Going on to complete my PADI Divemaster course rating in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in 2011 I then spent a full 12 months working as a Divemaster and underwater photographer back in Sharm.
Passion, fun, education, life changing, community, adventure and family.
What does it mean to you to be a female diver?
To me, being a female diver means the world. Becoming a diver in a conservative society, where all sports are dominated by men, was a huge challenge for me. Many females reject this incredible sport because it involves men teaching them how to dive.
I built a female training group specifically to train and educate women about the importance of the sea and the environment. When you dive you see how many different types of creatures are living together in a uniquely balanced ecosystem. We must not spoil it. Diving empowers me and heightens my sense of responsibility towards the environment in general. I have trained many female divers, and there are more on the waiting list. They are happy to see a female instructor that teaches them about the importance of the sea and why we should dive.
What is your favourite dive site?
Shark & Yolanda Reef in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt!
What’s your dream dive?
A dive full of sharks in the Galapagos!
What do you feel are the most important challenges and opportunities facing women in diving?
The scuba diving sector is growing, especially with the current movement of woman empowerment around the world. However, the major challenge is fear of the ocean, which we are working on by increasing awareness about the beauty of underwater world and sharing experiences with other females through word of mouth and social media.
How can we get more women in the water and involved in the dive community?
I believe diving is a meditation sport, it can heal the souls, and many from our community of females diver’s agree with this. Once you are underwater you disconnect from the busy world by diving into the blue and connecting with nature. Females need to understand the magical and breath-taking experience that wasn’t easily available before. With the growing number of empowered females who are looking for new adventures and activities, it’s our duty to take part of this change and motivate them to join the underwater world.
Tips to women thinking about a career in diving?
Choosing a diving career means that you do what you love and love what you do! The more dives you make with different instructors and the more skills and experiences you gain. Sadly, many movies have shown the negative side of the sea, making sharks the ultimate enemy underwater. We must show the positive side of the sea to newbies by becoming ocean ambassadors, so they can appreciate the underwater environment more.
Michela Colella – PADI Course Director and Operations Manager at Divers Down in UAE – tells us about her ‘School Project’:
“As a PADI Instructor, I know teaching scuba diving is not solely about introducing people to a sport and a lifestyle I love. Divers love to dive and divers learn to love the environment. By teaching young people to dive, it is possible to engender in them a passion for the seas and a determination to ensure the reefs and sea-life we treasure survive for generations to come.
Warming oceans, overfishing, and chemical and plastic pollution are placing pressures and challenges on the environment unprecedented in human history. One estimate suggests by 2050 there will be, by weight, more plastic in the sea than fish.
Living in the UAE and being part of the team at Divers Down, I have had the great opportunity to introduce young people to scuba diving and also to educate them about the value of conservation.
At Divers Down, I have led a programme to introduce young people to scuba diving. As part of the programme, we also raised important issues relating to the risks posed by human activity to the environment.
We have been running weekly Discover Scuba Diving sessions in school swimming pools across Dubai. This great opportunity also gave us the chance to raise awareness of the some of the most pressing environmental challenges to young minds.
Me and the team teach children ways to care for oceans and how to reduce human pollution. We lead children in discussions and then show them evidence – the detritus of modern life that litters the beaches and reefs, not just in the UAE but around the world.
It is hugely rewarding to be with a young student as they take their first breaths underwater. It is equally rewarding to encourage in them the right attitude to create a sustainable world – that is the goal of the schools’ project.
Like all PADI Instructors, we hope to change the direction of our students’ lives for the better.
Introducing children to the natural world can instil in them a lifelong love of the natural world and can help them protect delicate ecosystems for generations to come. The reaction from the students, and their teachers and parents – awe, respect and wonder — was beyond our expectations.
We know children learn better while having fun. Introducing them to the natural world – exploring delicate aquatic ecosystem – is one of the best ways young people can learn about the threats to the oceans (without them actually realising it).
I am certain that if all children were lucky enough to learn about diving and to fall in love with it and the environment, our world would be a better place.
A big thank you to those Schools who gave me this great opportunity and to an amazing educational system that was open to allowing its students to learn to scuba divr, as well as encouraging practical ways to protect our environment.”
On behalf of PADI, congratulations to the students who enrolled in the project!
…. and special thanks Michela and Divers Down’s Team : keep up the good work!
The East Coast of the UAE is mainly known, among divers, for the beauty of its recreational dives, however, for those certified as PADI TecRec Divers, there are a number of hidden wrecks worth a visit!
Normally classified as a recreational dive, this is also a great wreck for honing your Tec skills and/or ‘warming up’ when arriving on holiday or after a period of inactivity. Inchcape 1 is a tug boat that sits at 30m depth, just off the coast of Al Aqah.
During the dive you will be pleased to encounter different sea creatures including, seahorses, frogfish and pufferfish. For Tec purposes, it is recommended not to dive during peak hours on a Friday and Saturday due to the high volume of divers.
The Ines was anchored 8 miles off Fujairah when an explosion and consequent fire occurred. The ship later sank on 9th August 1999 and now sits upside-down at 72m on a sandy bottom.
The propeller at 54m is the first part of the wreck you encounter during the dive and it is often rich in marine life such as jacks, tuna, rays, guitar sharks, hamour and – if you are lucky -sun fish and whale sharks.
The wreck offers numerous penetration opportunities in the holds, engine room and accommodation decks. The wreck can be extremely silty inside and the use of a line is a must for divers during any penetration.
This site is quite popular among the technical diving community in the UAE, therefore proper planning and coordination with other Tec divers is highly recommended.
Additionally, when planning the dives, consider diving at slack tides as the currents can be very strong. The wreck can be classified as a dive for experienced Tec Divers as it requires the use of mixed gases and decompression stops.
Approximately 12 miles from Fujairah, the Anita’s wreck sits upright on a sandy seabed at 90m depth with the bridge, at the shallowest part, at 82m .The Anita sank in 1997 after striking a mine. The explosion occurred behind the bow and below the bridge causing the bridge to bend forward at about 30 degrees.
The Anita was an oil field service vessel and, as such, has a very large and flat deck behind the bridge running all the way to the stern. Engine exhausts can be seen on each side of the deck about 2/3m from the bridge.
Penetration with diving equipment is limited to the bridge, no attempt (as far as we are aware) has been made to access the engine room due to the small access hatch and the extreme depth of this dive.
The wreck can be classified as a dive for experienced Tec Divers as it requires the use of mixed gases and decompression stops. On top of that the complexity of the dive can easily increase due to hard to predict currents found in the Arabian Sea below 80 metres.
The U-533 was sunk on 16th October, 1943 during its second patrol in the Arabian Gulf. The submarine spent approximately 10 days in the gulf and after passing Oman it was destroyed as a result of a surprise attack by a Royal British aircraft which dropped depth-charges on the U-Boat as it crashed-dived. Only two members of the crew succeeded in leaving the boat, and one of these, the First Lieutenant, did not survive.
The U boat lies at 112m at approximately 25 nautical miles from the east coast of Fujairah. Due to its depth, logistics required and possible strong currents, this dive is only recommended to very experienced Tec Divers.
On top of the wrecks listed above, there are also some great reefs (between 40 and 50m) which deserve to be explored. For example, Cauliflower Garden: a sandy bottom surrounded by large teddy bear Cauliflower corals and populated by marine species such as: razor fish, sole flat fish, crocodile fish and for those macro lovers, there are white crabs to see.
If you are a PADI TecRec Diver willing to dive these wrecks or you are a recreational diver willing to venture into Tec Diving, get in contact with one of the PADI TecRec Centers in the area. You can find a Dive Shop using the PADI Dive Shop Locator. Enter the location/ click on ‘show search filters’ / select ‘Tec Center’.