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An Introduction to the PADI Distinctive Specialty B.A.D. (Basic Archaeological Diver)

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There are more shipwrecks off the coast of the UK than any other country on Earth; we have wrecks off our coast dating to the Bronze Age, bearing witness to hundreds, if not thousands of years of trade in cargo, people and ideas – and wars. They and their artefacts can tell stories that even the history books can’t.

Encountering a site for the first time can be puzzling. It is surprisingly hard to recognise a cannon that has lain underwater for over 200 years. How to distinguish it from a rock? Then, once its shape is revealed, how to record it? How to identify what to survey, what to look for? These questions would seem obvious on land. Then of course there is also plenty of time to discuss them. Underwater most sports divers do not carry comms, and often have very little time.

Enter the Maritime Archaeology Sea Trust’s (MAST) B.A.D. course. This PADI Distinctive Specialty course, Basic Archaeological Diver, was created to equip divers with all the rudiments of underwater archaeology, how to record and interpret the thousands of wrecks off the coast of the UK and beyond. (Some readers old enough will spot that MAST pinched the acronym from the original commercial dive course taught at Bovisand, Plymouth called Basic Air Diver. Similarities end there other than geographical location; the course is taught in the same spot.)

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[Photos by David Jones]

 

The course is written and designed by maritime archaeologists with experience in a great variety of underwater sites around the world. It is all part of a cunning plan of course, to recruit a new generation of eyes and ears to become the guardians of our underwater cultural heritage. The only hope we have of preserving our future is by learning from our past, by recording and appreciating our wrecks – these vessels represented society’s most developed or technologically advanced pieces of equipment, comparable to today’s space craft.

Enter the vast amphibian army of adventurous British sports divers. Armed with little more than tape measures and cameras, students learn over two days just how much of a difference they can make in preserving our underwater heritage. They also learn about the relevant heritage legislation, in a state of flux at the moment, and the background to the discipline, the difference between salvage and archaeology. International experts often visit to give talks. Lectures have included news on current projects such as the 17th century Swash Channel wreck excavation off Poole in Dorset or the Bronze Age site off Salcombe in Devon.

The course is currently taught in Plymouth  – though we are now expanding with newly trained instructors in Portsmouth and the north east of England – and since the practical diving sessions take place in Bovisand and New England quarry – no foul weather or badly timed tide can stop us.

Fresh avenues open up to newly qualified BAD divers who are invited to volunteer to work on the Coronation protected wreck of 1685 off Plymouth where more survey is underway. There are otherwise ample opportunities in the UK for divers to get more involved in exploring historic wrecks by contacting the site licensees through English Heritage’s website. Many dive clubs often have their own sites. The BAD course will equip them to study them more effectively. Or for those wishing to launch deeper into the discipline, the Nautical Archaeology Society offers plenty of one or two day courses in speciality areas of the discipline such as dendrochronolgy, the study of dating timbers.

Included is a reduced price voucher to dive the Coronation site, guided by one of the licensees, expert on the site and its history. All the profits from the course contribute to underwater heritage research projects. Thanks to its popularity these proceeds have so far paid for the conservation of two of the 17th century Swash Channel wreck carvings.

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DIVE SHOW SPECIAL: Save up to 40% off your next liveaboard with Oyster Diving Holidays

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red sea liveaboard

Scuba Scene, the leading name in luxury liveaboard dive experiences, is excited to announce an incredible limited-time offer on its Red Sea itineraries. Dive enthusiasts can now embark on the ultimate underwater adventure aboard the Scuba Scene Liveaboard at discounts of up to 40%, making it an unbeatable opportunity to explore the wonders of the Red Sea.

red sea liveaboard

Itineraries for Every Diver:

Shark Weeks:

Immerse yourself in the thrilling world of sharks with specially curated itineraries focused on these majestic creatures. From the awe-inspiring hammerheads to the elusive oceanic whitetips, Shark Weeks with Scuba Scene promise an unforgettable experience for shark enthusiasts.

‘Brothers, Daedalus, and Elphinstone’:

Explore the iconic dive sites of the Red Sea, including the Brothers Islands, Daedalus Reef, and Elphinstone Reef. These itineraries offer a diverse range of marine life, vibrant coral reefs, and the chance to encounter pelagic wonders.

red sea liveaboard

Deep South:

For the more experienced divers seeking a deeper adventure, the Deep South itineraries take you to the lesser-explored regions of the Red Sea. Discover hidden gems, untouched coral formations, and marine life that thrives in the deeper depths.

Scuba Scene is offering up to 40% off on selected Red Sea Liveaboard itineraries, making this the perfect time to turn your diving dreams into reality.

Whether you’re a novice or an experienced diver, Scuba Scene ensures an inclusive and personalized experience for all levels of expertise.

red sea liveaboard

Why Choose Scuba Scene:

  • Luxury Accommodations: Experience unparalleled comfort in well-appointed cabins and communal areas.
  • Experienced Dive Crew: Dive with confidence alongside a team of expert dive masters and instructors.
  • Customizable Itineraries: Tailor your dive experience to match your preferences, ensuring a personalized adventure.

Now is the time to secure your spot on the Scuba Scene Liveaboard and explore the Red Sea like never before. These exclusive discounts are available for a limited time, promising an extraordinary underwater experience at an irresistible price.

Horizon 3 Liveaboard, the epitome of luxury and adventure in the Maldives, invites scuba enthusiasts and travellers alike to experience the enchanting underwater world with unprecedented savings. Embark on an unforgettable journey through the crystal-clear waters of the Maldives aboard Horizon 3, and make the most of exclusive discounts on select itineraries.

red sea liveaboard

Special Offer Itineraries

17th to 31st March 2024 – 14 Night Itinerary:

Original Price: £4,670

Now Only £3,500 (Save 25%)

31st March to 7th April 2024 – 7 Night Itinerary:

Original Price: £2,330

Now Only £1,750 (Save 25%)

14th to 21st April 2024 – 7 Night Itinerary:

Original Price: £2,330

Now Only £1,750 (Save 25%)

These exclusive discounts present an extraordinary opportunity for adventure-seekers to indulge in the luxury and thrill of a Horizon 3 Liveaboard experience at unbeatable prices. Horizon 3 is renowned for its world-class service, top-notch amenities, and expertly curated itineraries that showcase the mesmerizing beauty of the Maldives’ underwater paradise.

To book your adventure and take advantage of the up to 40% off offer, visit Oyster Diving Holidays  or contact their dedicated customer service team at 0800 699 0243.

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Gear News

Get a FREE undersuit when you buy a trilaminate drysuit from Scubapro

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drysuit

IT’S TRILAMINATE TIME!

SCUBAPRO is launching its 2024 drysuit promotion:

With the purchase of a trilaminate drysuit EVERTECH DRY BREATHABLE or DEFINITION DRY, SCUBAPRO gives you the matching K2 EXTREME undersuit (GBP 345) for free.

If that’s not a reason to start drysuit diving, because in our climate it’s drysuit season all year round! So don’t miss out – the promotion is valid until May 31, 2024 at participating SCUBAPRO retailers and in participating regions.

All information at https://scubapro.johnsonoutdoors.com/eu/en-gb/free-k2.

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Experience the Red Sea in May with Bella Eriny Liveaboard! As the weather warms up, there’s no better time to dive into the crystal clear waters of the Red Sea. Join us on Bella Eriny, your premier choice for Red Sea liveaboards, this May for an unforgettable underwater adventure. Explore vibrant marine life and stunning coral reefs Enjoy comfortable accommodation in our spacious cabins Savor delicious meals prepared by our onboard chef Benefit from the expertise of our professional dive guides Visit our website for more information and to secure your spot: www.scubatravel.com/BellaEriny or call 01483 411590 More Less

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