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Diving with…Mark Murphy, Oyster Diving: London, Surrey, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Kent, Hertfordshire and Sussex



In this ongoing series, we speak to the people who run dive centres, resorts and liveaboards from around the world about their businesses and the diving they have to offer…

What is your name?

Mark Murphy

What is the name of your business?

Oyster Luxury Travel & Diving Ltd

What is your role within the business?

Managing Director

How long has the business operated for?

12 years

How long have you dived for, and what qualification are you?

I did my first Discover Scuba in the South of France in 1997 and completed my Open Water in 1999. I am currently a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer and have been teaching for 14 years.

What is your favorite type of diving?

Shark diving! There are few things in life that are as exhilarating as diving with sharks. They are amazing creatures that have been around since before the dinosaurs.

If you could tell people one thing about your business (or maybe more!) to make them want to visit you what would it be?

We are a professionally run 5 star PADI dive centre offering courses from beginner to instructor. Incorporated is a fully bonded travel centre which means we can offer holidays around the world as well as UK trips to our customers and club members. We stock the major brands of diving equipment at competitive prices and are proud to be an Aqua Lung partner centre. We have 6 pool locations around the South East to make it as easy as possible for customers to take their first breaths underwater.

What is your favorite dive in your location and why?

I’ve been really fortunately to have been to some truly amazing places including the Med, Red Sea, Mexico, Thailand, Virgin Islands, Barbados, Sudan, UK, Australia and Djibouti but nothing has ever come close to the Galapagos. The shear abundance of marine life, the giant schools of hammerheads and huge whale sharks is unlike anywhere else on earth. It’s very expensive but worth every penny.

What types of diving are available in your location?

We offer dives around the UK and we have regular boat dives off the South Coast close to our offices in Brighton. We also visit some of the inland sites to complete training and allow newer dives to gain additional experience.

What do you find most rewarding about your current role?

Since we’ve become one of the largest dive centres in the UK I find that I am spending less time teaching courses then I used to. So, I’m always really pleased to receive thank you emails from customers that we have taught as it means that all the hard work we put in is paying off and our instructors and Divemasters are doing a great job.

What is your favorite underwater creature?

After sharks I love big schools of fish. Watching hundreds of barracudas swirling round and following each other’s tails is great to watch.  However, I could also just plonk myself on the sand (carefully of course) and spend hours just watch clown fish dancing around their anemone.

Are there any exciting changes / developments coming up in the near future?

We have recently taken delivery of Ocean Reef Full Face masks with underwater comms so we can’t wait for our customers and instructors to give these a whirl. We’ve also just become stockists for Paralenz so it means that the quality of the videos we and our customers produce on our trips will be even better – even our most technophobes can operate them.

As a center what is the biggest problem you face at the moment?

The biggest problem Oyster Diving face in the UK is awareness of the ‘referral system’. Many people in the UK have the idea that diving in the UK is dark and cold and don’t realise that you can complete the theory and pool skills saving on valuable holiday time. If the industry could generate more awareness of the referral system then it would allow our instructors to educate people about ways to keep warm and talk about some of the great dive sites we have in this country. This means they could carry on diving on returning from holiday and continue their new passion instead of just forgetting about it and moving on to the next challenge.

I find that the other challenge in the UK is getting new divers boat diving in the sea. If you look at most of the dive boats these days they have an aging population of men on them who have been diving for years. I believe the one of the reasons for this is that many of the dive boats don’t offer the same level of service that people find on their overseas holiday. So, when people do go for their first UK sea dive they are usually disappointed, feel uncared for or are just scared.

A lot of new divers are understandably anxious when they do their first sea dive. I think it would be great for the industry to have boats that offer proper briefings, an experienced guide that knows the dive site and an option for some decent food (even if it’s sandwiches and hot chocolate) or a few few other luxuries.

We are trying to introduce this level of service to our South Coast boat dives but without owning our own boat it is very difficult.

Is your center involved in any environmental work?

We believe that as divers we are the ambassadors for the underwater world and need to educate people on the impact that our lifestyles are having on the environment. We have set up some corporate dive clubs where we give regular talks on what we can do to help our oceans. We regularly post on our social media and newsletters with the latest news. We have run many ‘Project Shark’ trips with blue o two which have also encouraged many of our customers to spread the word about the plight of many shark species.

How do you see the SCUBA / Freediving / snorkeling industry overall? What changes would you make?

I think in the modern age of cheap and fast travel it gives us a great opportunity to visit destinations that would never have accessible to our parents. I would like to see more schools offering diving and holidays to accompany their usual annual ski trip. Diving offers kids the chance to put many of their subjects they learn such as physics, chemistry, maths, biology and history  in to practice in a fun and rewarding manner. Unlike many school sports you don’t have to be a great sportsperson to be a great diver so everyone can get involved regardless of age and sex.

On school trips we run we find the students really bond with each other despite being in different year groups and coming from different backgrounds and it makes them much more sociable when they return home as well as having a new passion that can be used in a future career.

What would you say to our visitors to promote the diving you have to offer?

I would say come along to one of drinks nights in London or Brighton and meet some new friends. We have a great crowd with people from all different ages, different levels of dive experience and from different backgrounds from bin men to wealthy stock brokers. By meeting like-minded friendly people opens up the opportunity to join our holidays around the world and have some amazing experiences.

Where can our visitors find out more about your business

We have two websites:

Dive School, Club and Holidays –

Online dive shop

We have a freephone number 0800 699 0243 and people are always welcome to e-mail us at



Emperor Divers reaches halfway in Covid Diver Heroes Initiative with fourth award



Emperor Divers have reached the halfway point with their #coviddiverheroes initiative and are still receiving worthy nominations every day! Here, they recognise their 4th winner, another awesome hero from the diving community with an inspirational story of selflessness through the pandemic. Nominated by David White, Phuong Cao wins a free liveaboard trip in the Maldives when she can finally take some time off, and here is her story:

I, David White, would like to nominate Phuong Cao (36) for her tireless efforts fighting this pandemic. Not satisfied with being a frontline hospitalist in New York she took a second job on the COVID team in Guam to treat patients under even tougher conditions on her weeks off! She continues to commute 7750 miles each way and apply herself to both jobs for three months already and counting. Her energy level has no limits and she’s only happy when those in her care are on the mend. I think she definitely deserves a break! I guess the Maldives would be the best choice for her as I know she has dived with you in the Red Sea already.

Phuong Cao

We have been in touch with Phuong who had this to say: “Wow what a surprise! Thank you for the recognition. Holding my breath until I get back underwater!”

The halfway point is a good chance to remind people that the initiative is still running and the Emperor Divers team would love to hear about more heroes, as there are four more to award in the next 2 months!

Do you know a diver who has been heroic this past year? Emperor know that, worldwide, people have had to step up during this pandemic which has affected so many lives. They want to reward some real heroes with free liveaboard trips in the Red Sea or Maldives.

Luke Atkinson, Emperor’s Red Sea Manager, said: “This initiative is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to all those hundreds of people who have taken a selfless interest in looking after the vulnerable in their community. Examples could include healthworkers, carers or those who have come out of retirement to volunteer locally, but really we know there are many other ways people have been heroic.“

Emperor want to hear from people who know a heroic diver who would love to have a free liveaboard trip to look forward to in the future. People need to nominate a Covid Hero Diver and tell Emperor (in 100 – 200 words) why they deserve a free trip, and whether they would prefer the Red Sea or the Maldives. A multinational panel of Emperor’s most loyal and compassionate staff will judge the entries and pick a winner every 2 weeks for the next 2 months. There are two remaining Red Sea and two more Maldives liveaboards to be earned, so get nominating and give that hero a reward for their amazing work!

Winners will be announced by 14th (Maldives) and 28th (Red Sea) of each month. Final entries for Red Sea by 20th May ‘21 and Maldives 5th June ’21.

Entries, comments and questions should be sent to

Terms & Conditions apply: Please contact for details.

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My Dive Buddies Episode 1: Alejandro Dutto’s Best Wreck Dives! (Watch Video)



My Dive Buddies Episode 1: Alejandro Dutto’s Best Wreck Dives!

The first in a new series, where I invite my local scuba diving buddies into the Dive Locker for a beer and a chat! This week I’m chatting with Alejandro Dutto, Co-Founder of the International Scuba Divers Club and Publisher of the digital scuba magazine ‘Trim.’ I know Alejandro is a man after my own heart. Before covid hit, we dived South Florida wrecks together frequently and I’m looking forward to getting back in the water with him.

But for now, I’m happy to have a beer with him and talk about our top three favourite South Florida Wreck Dives. Alejandro also talks about the challenges of filming at technical diving depths and about his new Spanish language dive magazine.

Please follow Alejandro’s channels here:

Thanks everyone! D.S.D.O James

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Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

Strong currents and deep blue water are the catalysts that bring the pelagic species flocking to these reefs. The reefs themselves provide exquisite homes for a multitude of marine life.  The wafting soft corals are adorned with thousands of colourful fish. The gorgonian fans and hard corals provide magnificent back drops, all being patrolled by the reef’s predatory species.

£1475 per person based on double occupancy.  Soft all inclusive board basis, buffet meals with snacks, tea and coffee always available.  Add a week on at Roots Red Sea Resort before or after the liveaboard for just £725pp.  Flights and transfers are included.  See our brochure linked above for the full itinerary.

This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

Call 020 3515 9955 or email

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