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Lad Akins and Leslie Leaney to Receive DEMA’s 2016 Reaching Out Award

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Reaching Out Award

Association LogoThe Diving Equipment and Marketing Association has announced that Lad Akins and Leslie Leaney are the 2016 recipients of DEMA’s Reaching Out Award.

The Dive Industry will boogie down 70’s style at the 28th annual presentation of the prestigious Reaching Out Awards on November 18, 2016, where the industry will celebrate at this year’s Disco-inspired evening in honor of these two outstanding members of the diving community. The newest inductees to DEMA’s Hall of Fame will be honored at this year’s DEMA Awards Party, taking place at The Joint at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas, NV. First presented in 1989, DEMA’s Reaching Out Award honors leaders in the diving community whose significant contributions to the sport have elevated the industry on all levels. This year’s recipients will be joining an extraordinary list of distinguished past Honorees.

Reaching Out AwardLad Akins is widely recognized as a ground-breaking marine conservationist for his leadership and vision in forming Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF), an organization that is the lynch-pin connecting the dive community with opportunities to contribute to scientific research and conservation through “citizen science.” He is most recently known for his work spearheading the battle against the lionfish invasion across the Atlantic and introducing school-aged children to conservation and the aquatic world.

Akin’s contributions to research and public education on the impacts of the invasive lionfish have garnered major media attention. His work has been featured in many major media outlets including ABC, CNN, NBC, the Food Network, and the Discovery Channel. His work has also been featured in more than 100 printed articles. He has authored or co-authored 30 scientific publications and authored other publications including “Invasive Lionfish: A Guide to Control and Management” and “The Lionfish Cookbook: The Caribbean’s New Delicacy.”

Akins currently sits on a number of state, regional and international committees, and working groups devoted to lionfish control and management strategies. His work has been instrumental in bringing the world of fish identification, citizen science, and marine conservation to numerous marine enthusiasts around the globe. He has made the concept of diving with a purpose a reality for tens of thousands in the USA and worldwide.

Reaching Out AwardLeslie Leaney is well-known for his dedication to the preservation and sharing of the dive industry’s history. Leaney started diving in 1969 around the island of Singapore and progressed through the BSAC system becoming a scuba instructor, club Expedition Director, and eventually Diving Officer for BSAC Special Branch in Singapore. In 1980, Leaney relocated to Malibu, California where he began to purse his interest in diving history. Throughout the 1980’s, he compiled an extensive diving library and a collection of historical antique equipment. His archives currently provide reference research material for diving historians and items from his collection are on display at various museums.

In 1992, this interest in history led Leaney to co-found the Historical Diving Society-USA (HDS-USA) with Skip Dunham. The inaugural meeting featured a mix of recreational, military, and commercial divers. The Society continues to provide an educational forum for these separate, but connected, groups to learn about their joint history. Initially formed as a chapter of the British HDS, the Society evolved into an American non-profit corporation. During its more than 20 year existence, Leaney has served as Chairman, President, and Executive Director and helped establish and develop an international Advisory Board of divers, which has continued to grow in stature along with the Society. Under his guidance, the Society grew from a few dozen members to over 2,700 in 44 countries and is internationally affiliated with similar organizations.

In 1993, Leaney founded Historical Diver Magazine (later renamed The Journal of Diving History), America’s first and only publication devoted to all aspects of diving history. Through his research, Leaney has written numerous articles that have appeared in several international publications. He has lectured on the subject of diving history at seminars in France, Canada, Mexico, England and America. Leaney’s research is referenced by numerous authors and he has acted as a consultant for The History Channel, The BBC, The Discovery Channel, United States Navy, and other organizations. Leaney has dedicated much of his career to the preservation and education of the industry’s history, which will continue to benefit the industry as a whole for years to come.

Further details about the 2016 DEMA Awards Party are available on the DEMA Show website where interested parties can purchase individual tickets from the DEMA Show registration system.  Unique sponsorship opportunities and VIP reserved seating for tables of 8 are also available by contacting Colleen Vasquez at cvasquez@dema.org or (858) 616-6408 x106.

The annual DEMA Show, the largest trade-only event in the world for companies doing business in the scuba diving, ocean water sports and adventure/dive travel industries, attracts hundreds of Exhibitors and thousands of dive and travel industry professionals from around the world. In addition to providing an arena in which to conduct business and network, DEMA Show offers participants the most extensive education curriculum in the industry including DEMA-Sponsored Seminars and Exhibitor-Sponsored Seminars from participating manufacturers, travel destinations and dive certification organizations. DEMA Show is produced by DEMA, The Diving Equipment & Marketing Association. DEMA Show 2016 will take place November 16-19 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV. For more information visit www.DEMAShow.com, the official DEMA Show Facebook page, and follow DEMA Show on Twitter.

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New academic study to confirm rehabilitative benefits of Scuba Diving

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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).

Richard Cullen, Chairman of Deptherapy commented: “This evidence-based study demonstrates yet again the value of scuba diving and, in particular, the support provided by Deptherapy to severely traumatised people within the Armed Forces community. We await the publication of the detailed findings which we anticipate will be of considerable interest to all organisations who seek to assist in the rehabilitation of veterans through sporting activity, as well as the Scuba Diving world.”

Team Deptherapy returned to the UK last week from their first training expedition since the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic. A small group of six veterans travelled with the Deptherapy Instructor Team to the charity’s international base at Roots Red Sea to undertake practical Scuba Diving training in the clear, warm waters of the Red Sea.

Joining Team Deptherapy for the first time was 20 year old paraplegic Corey Goodson who had this to say: “I have been made aware of a new academic study about the benefits of Deptherapy. Last week I learned to scuba dive properly with Deptherapy, a huge achievement for someone with paraplegia. Deptherapy doesn’t judge your injury, whether that be physical or psychological; it looks beyond, and it sees the person inside. That person is who they work with, and the Deptherapy programme encourages you to see your fellow beneficiaries in the same light. More important than the sense of achievement during the training, was the support, care, encouragement and love the team showed me. I have found a new family in Deptherapy. I am home now but the support, friendship and banter continue; it is motivating and empowering, it gives me a deep sense of wellness and worth. I look forward to continuing my rehabilitative journey with Deptherapy.”

For more information about the work of Deptherapy and Deptherapy Education visit www.deptherapy.co.uk.

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Dive Training Blogs

Deptherapy returns to its Roots – Part 6

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Join Richard Cullen from Deptherapy for part 6 of his Blog about the charity’s recent expedition to Roots Red Sea, El Quseir, Egypt.

Thursday has dawned and it is down to the House Reef with an outgoing tide that is approaching slack so we can get in the water straight away.   Lots of chat about last night’s RAID O2 Provider session with Moudi.  Oatsie is talking about sidemounts and marine biology, Swars is looking forward to his first sidemount session this afternoon.

Moudi is supported by Oatsie this morning and doing some more skill work with Keiron.

Moudi running the guys through the RAID O2 Administrator Course

Corey was asking last night about what it is like at 30 metres, so I have decided that with Michael and Swars we will take him to 30 metres.  We are going to run a narcosis exercise so out comes the slate with the numbers 1 – 25 randomly placed in squares.  Corey’s task, in the dive centre, is as quickly as possible to touch each number in sequence.  He does it pretty quickly and Michael briefs him that he will need to do the same exercise at 30 metres.

Michael briefs the dive and we set off down the beach.  Corey has improved beyond measure and he is becoming a pleasure to dive with.  So we are off to follow the South reef to 30 metres where we will complete the second part of the exercise.

At 30 metres Michael hands Corey the slate; there is a considerable difference in the time to complete the exercise at the surface and at 30 metres.  There are lots of mitigating factors in how quickly you can identify the numbers and explaining a slower time at 30 metres than at the surface does not mean an individual is suffering from narcosis.  Identifying random numbers, if you run the exercise at the surface, several times with an individual over a number of hours can result in wide variations in the time taken to complete the exercise.

We finish the dive with Corey smiling from ear to ear and we have a discussion about depth and air consumption.  The second dive of the morning is a fun dive, then it is lunch in the beach restaurant.  After the burgers I am sure we will need to look at our weighting before the afternoon’s dive.

We will need to look at weighting after this lunch!

Corey and Keiron have got into the habit of recording their dives online using the RAID online log book which is a tremendous facility and as the instructor I can access that data.

Moudi and Keiron are going for a fun dive as are Corey, Oatsie, Michael and myself. Swars is getting kitted up for the first experience of sidemount with Guy Henderson.

Swars getting to grips with his sidemount cylinders

People often look at the relationships that exist between the dive team and our beneficiaries and try to extrapolate a similar relationship to disabled students they might have.  Our relationships are built up over a period of time, in some cases over many years.  We also provide 24/7 support and have chat groups etc on social media; we also meet up socially when we can.  It is somewhat different than a individual coming in to a dive centre and saying ‘I want to dive’. Your relationship is likely to be the same as any other student, you will teach them, they might stay with the dive centre or like many that will go on holiday to do some diving, you might never see them again.

Our main aim is to create a family atmosphere for our programme members, one where they feel secure and they are able to discuss freely with the team and fellow beneficiaries their feelings and needs.

Few dive centres are charities, and owners might want to consider costs of running a course for someone with a disability that might take more than the standard four pool sessions etc.  You may find the number of sessions and the staffing levels have to increase.  Many dive centres, because of their size and turnover are exempt from providing accessibility.  How will this affect someone who is a wheelchair user?  Can they gain access to the dive centre, the classroom, the toilet?  What are the changing facilities, can they get wheelchair access to the pool?

Lots of things to think about.

Roots’ beautiful reef

The reef is beautiful, so much aquatic life and the corals look splendid, especially the pinnacles.

A good day’s diving, Swars has really enjoyed his sidemount.

Lovely way to relax in the evening with the Roots BBQ, a fitting end to a great day.

Last day tomorrow and our final blog!


Find out more about the work of Deptherapy and Deptherapy Education at www.deptherapy.co.uk

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