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Jump into… Mental Health and Diving

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So, despite this being the longest blog post in the series, this is a subject that has been on my mind to write about for a while, and there was never going to be a ‘perfect time’, so here goes… 

Having considered doing this for a while, my main concern was at first the ‘embarrassment’, and then my personal feelings of not making my personal life public. The more I thought about it though, how will things ever change if we are too afraid to talk and make others aware that they are not alone? 

Having been in the dive industry for a number of years now, like many others I have been faced with the relentless disparaging comments, and bullying from some individuals. Entering the industry as a young, 21 year old female – what could I possibly have to offer in the industry? ‘No life experience’ and could not possibly have a ‘grown up attitude’ at that age. The fact is, we never know the past history of anyone. 

At 15, my dad passed away. He ‘committed’ suicide; I have always hated that term as it seems as though an offence has been made. At the time, I was embarrassed about what had happened. Mental health was not as spoken of, and when asked what happened, I would just say he was in an accident. Over the years I realised that I had no reason to be embarrassed, and it was completely ridiculous and offensive to his memory that I was doing this. At this age, I quickly grew up. I learnt that nothing was to be taken for granted. By the age of 21, I had already been in the Fire Service for 3 years, a disciplined service, being faced with life or death decisions on a regular basis and at the same time, had been teaching for 2 years as an instructor, I then started Duttons Divers. At the age of 21, I already had a fair bit of ‘life experience’. 

The reason for the brief backstory, and trust me, it is very brief, is that following this came the bullying in the industry. Up to this point I could manage what had been thrown at me. When I made the decision to take on Vivian Quarry, I was met with day to day comments of ‘what do you know, you won’t last 2 seconds in the industry’…. Mocking messages about courses that I had ran, comments made to my customers saying that I didn’t know what I was doing and that they should come to them, and relentless comments of how poor I was at conducting myself in the industry. These comments started to drive me down. I began to focus on every small negative, that I forgot everything that I had achieved: Becoming a Course Director, having a successful business, a career outside of diving that at the time I enjoyed, the house and car I wanted, but none of that seemed to matter. 

Those comments at the time were my breaking point, and I began to feel like there was no way forward. I had no drive to get myself out of the dark hole that had been created by these people – some that I didn’t even know. It took me a while to come to realise that the people who I was letting do this had literally no bearing on what I was doing. Nothing had changed; the business was still successful and growing; I did not need them. I found it easier to ignore the comments (still a mistake); I contacted a local mental health charity for support, which as the time I was highly embarrassed about, but now could not care less. It took me 4 years to get to a point where I felt strong enough and in the right mind set to challenge the behaviour and take action. 

So I know that this very brief post isn’t exactly the happiest that I have ever written. But it is a period in my life that I think it is more than necessary to talk about. The amount of messages that I have received from others now speaking out about their own personal experiences of bullying in the industry… all because of one post. I could have spoken about this years ago, and I have no doubt that others in the industry have their own stories to tell… so tell them. There’s no reason to hide them away, and it could mean the world of difference to someone else and help us to put an end to this type of behaviour in the industry. Those that are ignorant to other’s past experiences, and make judgement that they know better, have no idea what any person has gone through.

It’s clear that as an industry we have tolerated bullying, whether this be on social media, the “inter-agency banter” or between dive centres and clubs. The fact is that none of it is acceptable and it will only be made unacceptable if it is challenged. The fact that someone is from another agency doesn’t mean that it is acceptable to call them names. When someone wears their equipment in a way different to yours, it doesn’t warrant a comment that what they are doing is wrong and highlighting it to use it for your own personal gain all over social media. No negative comments are necessary. These types of situations don’t make derogatory responses acceptable.

In diving we are in an amazing industry that allows us to dive with people from all walks of life, people that we would probably never be in the same room together with if it wasn’t for diving… and it doesn’t matter what someones background is, who they dive with, what equipment or brand that they use; it has no impact on your life what they do and bullying anyone is in no way acceptable. So my advice is that as a whole we challenge this behaviour, report those responsible and we can all work together to show that this type of behaviour will no longer be tolerated.

Remember – You are always welcome to call into either of my centres for a brew, chat or dive!


Clare began Duttons Divers at just 19 years old and a short while later became one of the world’s youngest PADI Course Directors. Find out more at www.duttonsdivers.com

Clare Dutton, is a PADI Course Director and Director of Duttons Divers and Vivian Dive Centre. At the age of 25, Clare was one of the youngest to be accepted on the PADI Course Director course. Her work in the industry has involved promoting cold water diving, putting sites such as the Menai on the map for divers, and assisting others to chase their ambition as a PADI Pro. Get in touch with Clare at www.duttonsdivers.com

Blogs

Diving Redefined: Introducing NovoScuba

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novoscubaAttention all underwater enthusiasts, mermaids, and those who just really enjoy wearing fins! Brace yourselves for the splashiest news in the industry: NovoScuba has burst onto the scuba diving scene like a seal on a beach ball!

Move over, PADI, SSI, SDI, NAUI, RAID, and whoever else is lurking in the depths, because there’s a new fish in town!

But seriously, what gives? Why does NovoScuba think they can swim with the big fish? Are they secretly training dolphins? Are their wetsuits made of magic? Stay tuned as we uncover the mysteries of this underwater revolution!

The team at NovoScuba isn’t just your average squad – we’re a crew of dive store owners, managers, trainers, and pros. We’ve danced with the sharks and wrestled with the currents, so when it comes to the diving industry’s pain points, we’re definitely no strangers. But let’s be real: while existing agencies are stuck in the stone age, we’re here to embrace the 21st century. In a world where even fish have Instagram accounts, the diving industry needs to catch up or sink like a lead weight!

It’s time to challenge a change. Leveraging technology and introducing a breakthrough business model, and digitally native platform, NovoScuba aims to become the most innovative training agency to date.

novoscuba

Here’s a snapshot of what NovoScuba has up their sleeve for dive pros, managers/owners and students alike.

Owners 

  • Pay as you certify system
  • Fully developed digital course materials in multiple languages
  • No stock required
  • Monthly or annual membership fees
  • Business support and advice FOC
  • 24/7 support. Feedback orientated. Fast response and fast adapting
  • ISO Certified
  • Pain free and low cost transition to NovoScuba
  • Your business, your choice. No exclusivity expected or required
  • Pay in your local currency
  • Our automated system keeps your admin to a minimum. Less time on paperwork cuts costs and gives you more time to focus on your business
  • Co-marketing, advertising and support

novoscuba

Pros

  • Monthly membership fees
  • Intelligent online log book that automatically updates student records
  • One click certifications
  • Flexible training – student-centric/instructor trusted
  • Easy and inexpensive crossover
  • Pause your membership when you’re not teaching
  • Pro insurance / legal support
  • Job vacancy board

novoscuba

Students

  • Modern, relevant course materials
  • Fully developed and interactive digital learning
  • Accessible across any digital platform
  • Instant community and support
  • Monthly subscription granting access to all course materials
  • Digital log book for life
  • Streamlined subscription process – minimum admin

novoscuba

What else symbolises the NovoScuba dedication to excellence?

In an era where every other company boasts about being as green as a broccoli smoothie, it’s easy to tune out the noise of eco-friendly claims. But hold your seahorses! NovoScuba isn’t just another fish in the sea of greenwashing. We’re not just dipping our toes in the sustainability pool – we’ve cannonballed straight into it! B-Corp pending, we’re not just talking the talk; we’re doing the fins-on-the-ground work. With a net zero impact that even Captain Planet would applaud, our conservation efforts aren’t some distant pipe dream. Nope, we’re getting our hands wet right in our own diving communities, because let’s face it, saving the planet is a whole lot easier when you can do it in your own backyard – or in this case, your own coral reef!

It’s time to dive into the 21st century and embrace a new, innovative and intelligent training agency. One that fully understands that your success is needed in order for us to succeed. One that is 100% committed to your needs and will grow and adapt in order to keep meeting the challenges of the industry. Welcome to the new age of training. Welcome to NovoScuba – Diving Redefined.

For more information, email info@novoscuba.com or visit www.novoscuba.com.

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Blogs

A new idea in freediving from RAID

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freediving course

In the past few months, the team at RAID has been able to launch several new programs and each of them has been exciting to work on and release to you. But this is something we are delighted and extremely eager to tell you about. It tops everything.

Freediving Pool Instructor offers ALL RAID Scuba Instructors a convenient pathway to becoming certified pool freediving instructors, and that’s the sort of innovative idea we think the dive industry needs right now. This is a new adventure and it starts right here.

The word, unique, gets used a lot whether or not its deserved, but we think this course is truly unique and deserves taking a good look at because it was specifically created to leverage the expertise scuba instructors have developed while teaching scuba students.

And because of that, we feel there’s a natural fit for them to introduce their customers (old and new) to the freedom and fun of freediving.

And just in case you are wondering what’s so special about freediving and how does ‘one breath’ diving without a tank relate to any other form of diving, here’s a piece of shocking news. The skills taught in a basic freediving class, including but not limited to how the calm one’s mind and control the breathing cycle, we believe are fundamental to diver comfort and safety.

There is a groundswell of opinion that learning to freedive is perhaps as important as learning to swim for any one who’s truly interested in becoming a balanced and relaxed diver… on scuba, a rebreather, or anywhere in between.

If you agree, or are interested to find out if you agree, and you’re a RAID instructor, we’d like to suggest you get in touch. If you’re a RAID diver, we strongly suggest contacting your RAID instructor or dive centre.

Pool Instructors will be qualified to teach in confined water four excellent programs that promise to be best-sellers:

  1. Try Freediving
  2. Surf Survival
  3. Static Apnea Specialty
  4. Dynamic Apnea Specialty

Contact your local RAID office for details and standards.

www.diveraid.com

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