PADI MSDT Maryse Dare continues her Scubaverse blog with part three about family diving…
Children can benefit from diving, but the whole family can too. In some instances there will be children who learn to dive but their parents cannot; in other cases the children are learning because their parents have learned in the past. In this post we are exploring the family as a whole. The benefits of diving together are immeasurable. Diving develops communication skills and builds relationships. It is an opportunity to spend time together where the medium is water and diving creates shared experiences and makes memories.
Where a parent hasn’t dived for a while a refresher is always recommended. We are currently completing two refreshers over the period of a few months. We split the session into two; in one half the child dives with her parents. This has the benefit that they learn about each other as divers. In the other sessions she dives with the other children. By spreading out the refresher the parents are essentially repeating their confined dives of the open water skills, plus a few other skills usually completed in open water. They are also getting to learn more about their daughter’s dive ability to enhance their experiences when diving abroad.
Family Friendly UK Trips
There are lots of trips that children can join in with. Plymouth is an example of a location where there are plenty of shallow dives that children can access. Another example is the Farne Islands. These are two super trips that can incorporate the whole family. There is no reason why you cannot have a usual trip mixing a whole range of children. Sure, adults may have to watch their language and make more appropriate jokes than we otherwise may make on a trip, but the boats are generally big enough to allow a bit of space. There is also the option of chartering a boat and taking it out early with the family in the morning and a few of the club, then coming back and leaving the family to enjoy some other activities whilst you go back out for some deeper sites. The Mountbatten Centre in Plymouth lends itself to this as they offer lots of other water experiences such as kayaking. Gary Kelham is the skipper of Top Gun and is open to working flexibly.
Family Friendly Holidays
There are lots of opportunities for families to dive abroad together too. One example is Lanzarote which has some accessible and shallow dives. There is also lots to do on the surface which always helps too! One aspect we have explored is running a trip where we offer different accommodation so we are meeting on the boat only. We have also looked at offering the option to travel with our instructor to complete courses which is something Aquanauts is already doing successfully.
Where there are younger children in the family then perhaps they can try snorkelling and complete their skin diver certificate? They can develop skills and confidence that will include them in the water during training sessions, and when the family are on holiday.
Where there is a parent in the family who does not yet dive, offering a half price try dive will allow them to see what their child is experiencing. Even if it is a one-off experience it may give them a greater insight, and allow them to discuss their child’s diving in a different way.
There are many ways to welcome families into diving. By including the entire family there may be greater opportunities that they find to dive, and so we keep more divers in the water.