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Get ready for DIVE 2015 – the 25th Anniversary of the Birmingham Dive Show



25th_anniversary_roundelSet aside as much of the weekend of 24/25 October as possible, because the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham in the UK will be awash with divers – and you and your friends and family need to be there with them.

DIVE 2015 is the Show of the Year, and it’s an extra-special event because it marks 25 years of successful Shows organised at the NEC by the DIVER Group in that time.

Booking ahead brings significant cash savings but every ticket sale brings with it the chance to win a fortnight’s dive trip for two to the Mexican Pacific worth £8000 in the Grand Prize Draw.



DIVE 2015 speaker Paul Rose

Get your bearings at the New Product Showcase, a snapshot of the diving-equipment market’s latest offerings, and decide which kit you want to look at in more depth around the aisles.

You might even decide to try some of it out in the Technical Pool, especially if it’s one of the new generation of rebreathers.

You don’t have to be a CCR diver to get wet, of course – for beginners the Try-Dive Pool awaits, with Stoney Cove dive school divers standing by to introduce you to the joys a regulator, tank and BC can offer.

As usual, one of the pleasures of the Dive Show is the chance to meet the people who have hosted your dive holidays in the past or who will welcome you on trips in the future.

DIVE 2015 speaker Mark Powell

Whether you’re catching up or looking for information, check out the Asia-Pacific Showcase, Caribbean Village, British Isles Experience and all the other parts of the diving world represented around the hall and find out where your next dive-trip will take you.

Kit ticked, holidays ticked – and the third part of the equation is skills development, with a number of training agencies represented at DIVE 2015.

The PADI VILLAGE and SSI ZONE offer a further swathe of training and travel ideas, while the British sub-aqua club, which is holding its annual conference at the NEC, will be present in force with its branch pods.

Then there is the Photozone, where kit, holidays and training combine in a magnificent outpouring of underwater photographic talent. Take part in judging the British Society of Underwater Photographers’ annual prints competition and get involved in the constant exchange of tips and ideas flowing between speakers, exhibitors and visitors.

DIVE 2015 speaker Monty Halls


DIVE 2015 speaker Louise Trewavas

DIVE 2015 speaker Louise Trewavas

The 25th Dive Show line-up of diving presentations take place on the main DIVER Stage, the Centre Stage and in the two Ocean Theatres, and although it’s early days yet, we can promise you treats in store:

Paul Rose: “What will you be talking about, Paul?” “I’m here at Pond Inlet about to head north to establish camp at the northern tip of Baffin Island – how about ‘Diving the Wild Places’?” Sounds good!

Mark Powell: “Training Doesn’t Work” – some of the problems with current scuba-diving training and what we can do to fix those problems. Controversy alert – not for the first time with this popular Show presenter.

Monty Halls will be back from an exciting top-secret expedition “and doubtless I’ll be blithering on about it at the Dive Shows,” he said in last month’s column, so stand by for hot news! Monty’s custom Land-Rover Defender and Humber RIB will be back too, and with him at the Show. The trip? We hear that sharks may have been involved…


DIVE 2015 speaker Alex Mustard

Louise Trewavas: “The All-Time Top 10 Diving Mistakes – And How To Survive Them.” We’ve all been there – more advice you can’t afford to miss.

Alex Mustard is the man who straightened us all out about the contents of our favourite Red Sea wreck, and he’ll be back with a new twist on “Thistlegorm’s Cargo” which requires you to get involved.

Alex will also be talking in the PhotoZone alongside Martin Edge – and talking of the PhotoZone, drop into the audience at the Centre Stage to see some of the finest double acts since Eric & Ernie, including Saeed Rashid & Nigel Wade, Nick & Caroline Robertson-Brown and Jane Morgan & Gill McDonald.


Win an £8000 trip to the Land of the Giants just by turning up for DIVE 2015!

A landmark show, a landmark prize: By entering the DIVE 2015 Grand Prize Draw, you and a chosen companion have the chance of winning a trip of a lifetime.

Your jumping-off point will be the bustling marina resort of Cabo San Lucas in Mexico. From there you will join a luxury liveaboard to dive in the eastern Pacific. Your trip will take in some of those dive-sites that make even the most experienced divers go weak at the knees – the spectacular Socorro Islands, San Benedicto and Roca Partida.

Expect to dive with the super-friendly giant Pacific manta rays (their wingspan has been known to reach 9m!), dolphins and sharks often in their hundreds, whale sharks, seals and ( from January to April, subject to availability) humpback whales. This area isn’t referred to as “the Mexican Galapagos” for nothing.

The prize, organised by UK tour operator The Scuba Place, comprises flights from London to Cabo San Lucas, one night all-inclusive hotel accommodation in the suite-only Dreams Cabo San Lucas Resort & Spa; nine nights on board either the spectacular Nautilus Belle Amie or Explorer on a full-board basis, and two further nights back in Cabo to get your land-legs back! All airport transfers are included.

Socorro is one of the hottest dive destinations on the market, so don’t miss this or any opportunity to dive it! All this could be yours and a buddy’s – just buy a DIVE 2015 ticket! Terms & conditions apply.

Buy tickets to DIVE 2015 here.

Marine Life & Conservation

Exhibition: Protecting UNESCO Marine World Heritage through scientific research



From now until 30 October, the photo exhibition “Protecting UNESCO Marine World Heritage through scientific research” features 21 photographs at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, as well as a digital edition.

Exceptional photographs highlight how innovative marine experts and scientists take the pulse of the ocean by exploring ecosystems, studying the movement of species, or revealing the hidden biodiversity of coral reefs. Scientific discoveries are more important than ever for the protection and sustainable conservation of our Marine World Heritage. This memorable exhibition comes ahead of the launch, in 2021, of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (“Ocean Decade”). The exhibition was jointly developed by UNESCO and the Principality of Monaco.

The 50 marine sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, distributed across 37 countries, include a wide variety of habitats as well as rare marine life still largely unknown. Renowned for their unmatched beauty and emblematic biodiversity, these exceptional ecosystems play a leading role in the field of marine conservation. Through scientific field research and innovation, concrete actions to foster global preservation of the ocean are being implemented locally in these unique natural sites all over the world. They are true symbols of hope in a changing ocean.

Since 2017, the Principality of Monaco supports UNESCO to strengthen conservation and scientific understanding of the marine sites inscribed on the World Heritage List. This strategic partnership allows local management teams to benefit from the results obtained during the scientific missions of Monaco Explorations. The partnership also draws international attention to the conservation challenges facing the world’s most iconic ocean sites.

The exhibition invites viewers to take a passionate dive into the heart of the scientific missions led by Monaco Explorations in four marine World Heritage sites: Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park (Philippines), Malpelo Fauna and Flora Sanctuary (Colombia), Rock Islands Southern Lagoon (Palau), and the Lagoons of New Caledonia: Reef Diversity and Associated Ecosystems (France). It is also an opportunity to discover the work of a megafauna census; the study of the resilience of coral reefs and their adaptation in a changing climate; the exploration of the deep sea; and the monitoring of large marine predators through satellite data.

To visit the Digital Exhibition click here.

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Dive Training Blogs

Deptherapy returns to its Roots – Part 7



Join Richard Cullen from Deptherapy for the final part of his Blog about the charity’s recent expedition to Roots Red Sea, El Quseir, Egypt.

Deptherapy expeditions do not just magically happen, they need planning and they need funding.  This expedition was funded by our long-term partners the Veterans’ Foundation.  The funding is part of a grant they awarded us for programmes this year, which were then put on hold because of COVID.

All charities in the Armed Forces’ Sector are struggling for funds. Deptherapy desperately needs support going forward and every penny counts.

We know what we do works and at the end of this blog you will find details of the research studies into Deptherapy’s programmes and how they impact on the lives of our beneficiaries.  This includes details that are hot off the press about the latest study that reports that what we offer through scuba diving and 24/7 support has benefits beyond those found in other sporting rehabilitation programmes.

Well tomorrow we fly home, late in the evening with the journey home for some of the guys who live up North taking around 15 hours after leaving Roots.

We want to make the most of today but with the tide running we are not going to be able to dive until later this morning which means only two dives today.

Oatsie and Swars about to start their sidemount dives

Things, however are really busy over at the dive centre with Swars and Oatsie putting their sidemount kit together for their training dives with Steve Rattle leading to their RAID sidemount qualification.  It has been nice to be able to offer the guys this extra training, given the amount of work they have put in this week.  They have needed to get through their theory quickly but given the RADI online learning system this has not been too arduous.

Steve came diving with us yesterday to get some more photos and was really amazed at the progress that Corey had made. He was quite open in his praise, as in his view Corey has gone from a non-diver to being a very competent OW diver capable of diving, unsupervised, with a buddy.  Praise indeed.

Other than the sidemount course we are diving as a group today: Corey, Keiron, Michael, Moudi and me. Corey has been given some tasks – SMB deployment on both dives and the afternoon dive will be a ‘naturalist dive’.  Guy Henderson has set Corey a task: ‘to identify three species of fish and record the time into the dive and the depth at which each one was spotted’.  Guy runs Marine Biology courses on the reef and knows where the fish are to be found, how long into the dive, and at what time.

The two Toms are getting put through their paces. They have walked their cylinders down to the entry point, but Steve sends them back to the dive centre to collect other kit they should have brought with them.

Our general dive goes well and the sidemount guys appear from their sidemount dive some 90 minutes after dipping their heads under the water.

Corey enjoying being a RAID OW20 Diver

Lots of bubbly chat at lunchtime, a group of really happy divers. Corey really has benefited from the week and over lunch thanked the team for making him a diver. He has very quickly become part of the family and after returning home he published an amazing post on Facebook about his experience.  Corey really gets Deptherapy and had soon realised that we see past mental and physical injuries and see the person inside and work with that person.  He also realised that we want beneficiaries to see their fellow beneficiaries in the same light.  He knows he now has another ‘family’ – a family of brothers in arms who have two things in common, they served their country and they have suffered life changing injuries or illnesses.

Back into the water for the afternoon dive and Corey identifies the fish and records the details on a slate.  The two Tom’s complete their second dive and qualify as RAID Sidemount Divers. Great!

Kit packed away and it is time to return to the camp for a few well-earned last night drinks.

I am often asked why we use Roots as our exclusive base for diving. I have mentioned before that it offers us an ideal retreat, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. We are secluded and there are no distractions such as late-night bars etc.

Roots Accessible Room

The second reason is the amazing welcome we receive from Steve, Clare, Moudi and the team.  We have been going to Roots since 2014 and many of the staff have become good friends, they understand our needs and are the friendliest people you could ever wish to meet.

The third reason is the huge investment Steve and Clare have made in making the resort and dive centre accessible for those with physical injuries including those who need to use wheelchairs.  All our beneficiaries can enjoy Roots and, in fact, love it here.  The reef is perfect for us and in non-COVID times we can travel to the Salem Express and other dive sites to enjoy more of the Red Sea experience.

Accessible toilet on the Roots beach

After discussions with the team I was very proud to be able to tell Corey that his progress had been such that we were inviting him on the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust sponsored two-week Marine Biology Course at Roots in June 2021. There is lots of homework to undertake under the guidance of Dr Debbie McNeill of Open Oceans and Corey will be sent the Red Sea Guide which is the basis for study.

While on that programme, Corey with fellow beneficiary Dale Mallin, will complete his RAID Advanced 35 course.  This all builds to a 10-day Red Sea liveaboard in 2022, onboard Roots’ new boat Big Blue where 18 beneficiaries will compare the coral and aquatic life on the wrecks of the SS Thistlegorm and the less known SS Turkia that is to be found in the Gulf of Suez and is rarely dived.

Paul Rose, our Vice President, is supporting the programme and is seeking the support of the UN and the Royal Geographical Society. A comprehensive report will be submitted to our partners in the project and to the Egyptian Authorities.

Last night and chill

What we do works:

In recent years there have been three academic studies into our work:

2018 – A study by a team from the University of Sheffield Medical School.

2019 – A study by The Centre of Trauma at Nottingham University.

Both these studies reported very positively on Deptherapy’s work both underwater but also in terms of the provision of 24/7 support.

The following is from our press release which was issued on 26th October:

‘A new study into Scuba Diving Rehabilitation Charity Deptherapy’s approach to supporting Armed Forces veterans with psychological injuries such as Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) through the medium of scuba diving has been carried out by Petra Walker in conjunction with Hanna Kampman of the Posttraumatic Growth Research Unit at the University of East London.

This study, which used Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), demonstrates that scuba diving has rehabilitation benefits beyond those found in other forms of sporting rehabilitation exercise. IPA is a qualitative methodology that examines the experiences of participants and has been used in previous studies of Posttraumatic Growth (PTG) in para-athletes.

Petra is an experienced diver herself and was exploring the wellbeing aspects of scuba diving as part of her Masters in Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology when she came across a previous study on Deptherapy. Past studies have mainly focused on the medical aspects of diving, so the opportunity to examine the mental health side of rehabilitative scuba diving was impossible to ignore. The full study is currently embargoed until it is published at a future date in an academic journal, but it follows similar academic research into the work of Deptherapy by the University of Sheffield Medical School (2018) and the University of Nottingham (2019).’

This is amazing news and sets us apart from other sporting rehabilitation programmes.

We are currently working with our VP Richard Castle who is a Consultant Psychologist and our Dive Medicine Advisor Mark Downs to identify further areas of psychological and physical dive related research.

We end the week on a happy note.  A young man who has learned to dive properly with a RAID OW 20 certification, a new RAID Master Rescue Diver, two new RAID Sidemount Divers, 5 new RAID O2 Providers, many assessments for our DMs but most of all a week of learning, of making new friendships, renewing old friendships, and building on our family ethos.

Until we meet again…

For us, Deptherapy is a journey, a journey that continues to push boundaries in the use of scuba diving in the rehabilitation of those suffering life changing mental and/or physical challenges.  On our journey we want to change the way the scuba diving industry views diving for those with disabilities.

In the new year, we will be launching, with our diver training agency partners RAID, a new and exciting adaptive teaching programme that will offer diving to the disabled community. We can’t wait to share it with you!

Find out more about the work of Deptherapy and Deptherapy Education at

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