On an unremarkable evening in July 2016, Sarah Richard created a Facebook group called “Girls that Scuba,” and then promptly shut her laptop and went to sleep. On waking up to over 100 members she considered her work done; she had one hundred new women to chat about diving with, which was a welcome contrast to the all-male crew she worked alongside on a liveaboard.
If you’d told her then that three-and-a-bit years later the group would have 40,000 members, and that she would be leading groups of ocean-loving women on scuba adventures around the world, she might have been somewhat disbelieving. Yet here they are – those humble beginnings have spawned an incredible community of 40,000 members on Facebook.
As well as developing core groups to include Girls that Scuba, Girls that Freedive, and Girls that Tech Dive, the GTS team has expanded to a network of seventeen groups across numerous platforms! Other groups include Girls that Scuba Together, Mums that Scuba, the GTS Book Club, and so much more.
Sarah’s original vision for the group was a place for women to discuss the specifics of being a female in the diving world, away from the comments (and sometimes criticisms) of on-looking men. With that in mind, the group has become a safe space for female divers to speak openly, and often for difficult topics to be discussed.
With the community flourishing through online connections, more and more GTS members were sharing stories of meeting other Girls that Scuba in all corners of the globe. This was partly in thanks to spotting other women sporting GTS merchandise, which came into existence purely because members asked for it. Yet the demand went deeper than just requesting mask straps and t-shirts – they wanted a more structured way to meet other Girls that Scuba and so came the ever-popular GTS events.
May 2018 saw the first of these more organised GTS events, with the first ever Girls that Scuba Day held on Gili Trawangan, Indonesia. We returned in May 2019 and then headed to Komodo to host the first ever group trip. Since the success of this initial trip GTS now host over ten trips per year; in 2020 they will be journeying to destinations including French Polynesia, Tonga, Cocos Islands, and the Maldives.
There’s no community without YOU!
Without the incredible women of this community, and the empowering, friendly Facebook group which sits at its’ core, GTS wouldn’t be here celebrating the fact that there’s now 40,000 members – and sharing all of the awesome things they’ve done along the way.
Now Girls that Scuba want to know what your highlights have been from the last three years…
“It is the journey some take to become divers. The inspiration this group gives them. The obstacles that they overcome are so inspiring. The many accomplishments we see on a daily basis. The sheer beauty of the many stories we read. The amazing photos and videos we do have the honour to see. None of that would be possible if this group did not exist. Completely humbling.”
Monica Ciobanu via Facebook