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Irish Marine Science student wins European Scuba Diving Scholarship

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“Swimming with seals through a kelp forest was when she fell in love with the underwater world…”

Hannah Douglas, 23, from Co. Wicklow has been awarded the 2022 European Our World Underwater Scholarship®, one of three global SCUBA diving awards funded by Rolex each year.

The objective of the Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society®, set up over 50 years ago in the USA, is to help to develop the careers of young people who are talented, passionate divers with a strong academic record and a deep-seated desire to build a career in our industry.  Three scholarships are awarded each year, one in the USA, one in Australasia, and one in the EU.  The scholarship can sound too good to be true as each individual spends a year on the road, diving and working with, and most importantly learning from and contributing to the work of leading divers, academics and conservationists around the world.

Hannah’s love of diving began during her Transition Year, when she completed an Open Water Diver course with Ocean Divers in Dunlaoghaire, at the end of which she experienced her first boat dive off Dalkey Island. It was on that dive, swimming with seals through a kelp forest that she fell in love with the underwater world and decided to study Marine Science at NUI Galway.

During her undergraduate studies she continued her SCUBA training, and under the guidance of kelp research specialist Kathyrn Scheonrock, became a NAUI-certified Scientific Diver. Subsequently, she worked on multiple scientific field research projects. Including her own final year thesis, focused on Pachycerianthus multiplicatus (Firework anemones) on the West coast of Ireland with the help of Seasearch Ireland, a citizen science diving organisation.

A passion for sharing the underwater world with others led her to complete her PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor qualification in Water World, Co. Kerry in 2021. In Summer of that year, as part of their bursary programme, she worked as a Communications Content Creator for the Marine Institute, Ireland’s state body for marine research and development.

In the long run, Hannah Douglas aims to continue studying life in the ocean while broadening her knowledge of economics and politics by delving into the world of resource management and legislation.  Alongside many other marine scientists, she fervently believes that ‘you can only love what you know’ and a global awakening to the beauty of our oceans is what is needed to drive the protection of marine biodiversity.

The ultimate objective of the Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society®, is to keep talented young people in the underwater industry to drive it forwards, and it works. Scholars who graduate from this unique program go on to become underwater filmmakers, eminent underwater archaeologists, highly successful diving educators, hardware designers, leading conservationists, leading marine biologists and policymakers and explorers, all in our underwater world.

The organisation is run exclusively by volunteers including a healthy number of previous recipients of the scholarship who want to give something back to the Society which has supported their career development in such a meaningful way. The diving scholarship is supported by Rolex and is the watch brand’s longest continuous running involvement with any sport.

Hannah Douglas will attend the OWUSS award ceremony in New York in June and after that she will begin her scholarship studying underwater videography with Saeed Rashid in Northern Indonesia. During the year she will be tasked to produce articles and publications about her experiences, culminating with an end of year short film.

You can follow Hannah’s journey via the OWUSS EU Scholar Blog or on Instagram @subsea_rose and find out more about the OWUSS Scholarship at www.owuscholarship.org, and on Instagram @owuss_.


Header Image by Nadya Helmer

Gear News

Fourth Element X Sea Shepherd

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This year on Black Friday, fourth element announced their new partnership with Sea Shepherd, encouraging people to move away from mindless purchasing and to opt-in to supporting something powerful.

For 40 years Sea Shepherd, a leading non-profit organisation, has been patrolling the high seas with the sole mission to protect and conserve the world’s oceans and marine wildlife. They work to defend all marine wildlife, from whales and dolphins, to sharks and rays, to fish and krill, without exception.

Inspired by Sea Shepherd’s mission, fourth element have created a collection of fourth element X Sea Shepherd limited edition products for ocean lovers and protectors, with 15% of every sale going to the Sea Shepherd fund to help continue to drive conservation efforts globally.

“Working with Sea Shepherd gives fourth element the opportunity to join forces with one of the largest active conservation organisations in the world to try to catalyse change in people’s attitudes and behaviour. Fourth Element’s products are designed, developed and packaged with the intention of minimising our impact on the ocean environment, and with this partnership, we will be supporting the work of Sea Shepherd, in particular in their work on dealing with the twin threats of Ghost fishing nets and plastic pollution.”

Jim Standing fourth element co-founder

Read fourth element’s Sea Shepherd Opinion Piece HERE

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Dive entrepreneur Clare Dutton voted one to watch!

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Director of Duttons Divers, Clare Dutton, has been voted as one of the top 100 female entrepreneurs to watch in the UK, a huge achievement, emphasising her dedication and commitment to the dive industry and growth of the business. 

Clare started diving at the age of 18 and, once qualified as an instructor, decided to start her own business. Having no funds to do so, she took out a business loan to purchase three sets of equipment and a trailer to travel the UK and teach. With a garden shed as a storage unit and her bathroom as a drying room, Duttons Divers was born!

Since then, Clare became the youngest PADI Course Director at the time, and has developed the business into a well established and renowned UK dive chain. With two dive centres, Vivian Quarry, Llanberis and Hafan Marina, Pwllheli, and two dive boats, Little Viv and Sea Quest, the business offers high quality equipment and facilities to offer bespoke training and guided dives.

Clare says: “I am extremely honoured to be selected as 1 of 100 female entrepreneurs in the UK. I have devoted a lot of time to develop the business since starting, and have always striven to ensure that it is at the highest level it can be, whether that be acquiring top quality equipment, having our own facilities or to just showcase North Wales and the amazing diving that we have here. It’s great for this to be recognised and fuel the passion to develop this even further.

“Its definitely not been easy, and I am sure it never will be because I will always want it to develop and not just settle. The ridiculously late finishing, finding out who your ‘friends’ are, working out accounts, marketing, and every other element of a business is massively stressful at times… but then stepping back and seeing what it has all achieved makes it worthwhile. I am very excited for the future of the business and where it is headed.”

To read the full article and the 100 entrepreneurs to watch, go to: https://tgr.ph/partofthe100

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