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Miss Scuba UK on Bridging the Gender Gap in Commercial & Recreational Diving 



Miss Scuba UK

Having worked in the offshore industry alongside commercial divers for over a decade, Hayley Adlam dived into the world of Miss Scuba UK after seeing a noticeable gender gap not only within the recreational diving world (only 39% of registered PADI divers are women (2021)) but more notably, within the commercial dive sector where a minute proportion of women are represented.

Hayley, as a part of this year’s Miss Scuba UK team duo, aims to inspire other women to not only try scuba diving, but also show that there are plenty of opportunities within the commercial diving sector for all genders through sharing her knowledge and experience of the offshore world.

Miss Scuba UK

“During my time operating on offshore wind farm construction and subsea telecommunications vessels, there was a noticeable lack of women in the commercial dive teams working on our projects. I was inspired by the ethos of the Miss Scuba UK foundation whereby one of the primary aims is to encourage other women to take the plunge beneath the waves”.

Miss Scuba UK

As such, Hayley, a qualified BSAC & more recently SSI diver, reached out to the organisation in 2019 and has been actively involved in supporting the UK dive industry whilst encouraging other women to try scuba diving ever since.

As an advocate for women’s opportunities within the offshore sector, Hayley’s volunteer work as an active Mentor and supporter of the US organisation ‘Women Offshore’, helps to bridge the gender gap within the offshore industry too. Specifically for maritime, marine science and offshore construction, on an international basis, having mentored women in both Nigeria and Pakistan, both of whom are now actively engaged within the offshore industry.

Miss Scuba UK

“Through Miss Scuba UK, I now have the opportunity to combine three of my primary passions in life – scuba diving, marine conservation and marine engineering. I hope to inspire women to not only try SCUBA diving but also to see that there is a whole world of opportunity to explore through delving deeper into their dive practice and perhaps even taking the plunge into the world of offshore construction or marine science as a commercial diver.”

Director Jill Faulkner highlights the importance of the organisation: “Several of the women who have been involved within Miss Scuba UK who hadn’t dived in the past are now qualified divers, with some enjoying their diving experience so much that they have forged a new career path due to the qualifications acquired through Miss Scuba UK.”

Miss Scuba UK

Miss Scuba UK has close ties with British owned resort Roots Red Sea in Egypt and Deep Blue Diving in Fuerteventura, where many training and recreational dives have taken place with the organisation, in collaboration with Doncaster based SSI centre Bespoke Diving Adventures.

However, the organisation also undertakes several UK based dive trips each year allowing individuals to complete dry suit, wreck diving and nitrox diver qualifications, to name a few. Another goal during Hayley’s year in this role is to help to raise the profile of British diving; “We have some fantastic dive sites around the UK, including the opportunity to get up close and personal with some of our most charismatic UK pinnipeds, the grey seals of both Lundy and the Farne isles, to the infamous wrecks of the Orkney Isles, in addition to numerous beautiful coastal dive sites. I would love to showcase the UK underwater world for the fascinating and diverse dive opportunities it possesses”.

Miss Scuba UK

Miss Scuba UK aims to create a safe space for women to explore the opportunities that learning to SCUBA dive has to offer and as an organisation, and has well and truly fulfilled this mission over the past 8 years. After a four year break due to COVID-19 it is now a case of continuing this work and engaging more women to take the plunge.

Hayley will represent the UK at Miss Scuba International in November 2023 at the Smart Resort, Mabul Island and Sipidan Island in Malaysia. Miss Scuba International is a two week long international meeting of like-minded individuals with a passion for our oceans. The programme includes a series of marine conservation projects, educational outreach programmes, climate change conferences, brand sponsored photoshoots and plenty of SCUBA diving in the beautiful waters of Malaysia.

Miss Scuba UK

If you would be interested in taking part in Miss Scuba UK in 2024 or if you would like to collaborate with or sponsor the programme, please get in touch via email (, Facebook @Miss Scuba United Kingdom, or Instagram @missscuba_uk or @hydro_hayles.


Dive into Festive Fun With PADI



dive into christmas

Marina Scuba School’s Santa Splash Discover Scuba Experience

Join the festive fun at Marina Scuba School’s Santa Splash on the 16th of December in Crosby. While the real Santa may be busy, Marina Scuba School’s staff members will be dressed up in festive attire for a 2-hour DSD with a Christmas twist.

Open to adults, families, and children over the age of 8, this festive dive is jam-packed with Christmas treats.

The festive fun begins at Marina Scuba School, where you’ll be greeted with a warm welcome and some delicious Santa snacks. During the 2-hour Discover Scuba Diving session, you’ll have the chance to learn essential skills required for scuba diving, all while searching for some Christmas goodies hidden beneath the surface.

This holly jolly dive experience takes place on the 16th of December in Crosby and only costs £40 per participant.

To book this exciting dive contact the dive centre by email:

Vobster Quay

Vobster Quay in Bristol is thrilled to announce the return of the Vobster Santas, a spectacular yuletide diving event that promises to make waves for a cause. This festive fun is open to all levels of divers and invites participants to don their Santa gear and dive into the holiday season in style.

Scheduled for the 10th of December, the gates to Vobster Quay will open at 7:30 am, with a comprehensive dive brief at 09:30 am, leading up to a mass dive at 10:00 am. The goal? To surpass the previous record of 185 Santa divers in the water simultaneously, promising a visually spectacular and undoubtedly jolly spectacle.

Vobster Santas isn’t just about the joy of diving; it’s a mission with heart. The event serves as a vital fundraising opportunity for two esteemed charities, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and Help for Heroes. Both hold special significance for Vobster Quay, and participants are encouraged to secure sponsorships through JustGiving to support these worthy causes.

Since its inception, Vobster Santas has successfully raised over £40,000 for these charities. This year, the bar is set higher, and Vobster Quay is committed to leading the charge. To kick off the fundraising efforts, Vobster Quay has generously donated £1000 to each charity, igniting the holiday spirit of giving.

For more information, sponsorship opportunities, and to download the event poster, visit: Vobster Quay – VOBSTER SANTAS 2023

Photos: Jason Brown

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Diving into the World’s Fastest Tidal Rapids



In the mystical waters just north of Vancouver, Canada lies a narrow channel called the Skookumchuck Narrows, or simply “The Skook.” It’s a hidden gem in the Salish Sea that boasts a unique spectacle – a tumultuous dance of tides and currents that draws adventurers and spectators from far and wide.

The beautiful British Columbia coastline

Imagine this: a channel so narrow and shallow that a single tide can unleash an astonishing 200 billion gallons of water, creating a tumultuous display of standing waves, whirlpools, and currents surging at 16 knots (18 mph or 30 kph). Such speeds may seem mild when driving a car, but the erratic water is a different ballgame. Skookumchuck Narrows is a contender for the title of the world’s fastest tidal rapids, rivaled only by Nakwakto Rapids further up the British Columbia coast.

All photos were captured with a Nikon Z6 in an Ikelite underwater housing with Sea & Sea YS-D3 Mark II strobes.

But there’s a twist – this aquatic battleground isn’t just for adrenaline seekers; The Skook is an oasis for life beneath the waves. April 2023 marked a rare convergence of perfect conditions: a celestial alignment allowing divers to witness The Skook in all its glory. And who better to guide this daring expedition than Porpoise Bay Charters, a family-run venture led by the seasoned Kal Helyar and Ann Beardsell?

Diving with Porpoise Bay Charters

Raging currents = an abundance of life

The allure lies not in the danger but in the vibrant marine ecosystem fueled by the relentless currents. Ocean currents act as nature’s turbochargers, transporting nutrients that transform places like Skookumchuck Narrows into underwater havens with colorful life thriving amidst the rocky terrain.

The prolific life underwater in The Skook.

It’s important to debunk the myth that this is a reckless plunge into chaos. Diving The Skook is not about courting danger but choosing the right moment: at slack when the tide turns, the water experiences minimal movement, and the currents are a mere 4-5 knots. Picture this – a scuba diver slipping gracefully between tidal changes, maneuvering with precision as the water changes its course and gradually picks up speed. Timing is everything, and finding the rare dates when daylight piercing through the emerald-green water coincides with navigable water conditions is critical. April 2023 granted us a mere handful of these golden days of nature’s alignment for the first time in four years.

Painted anemones designed to grip the rocks and collect food flowing with the rapid currents.

Entering the abyss

As our vessel, under the watchful eye of Captain Kal, approached the infamous Skookumchuck rapids, a tangible excitement filled the air. These cold-water adrenaline-filled dives are the scuba diving equivalent to scaling Everest. The unpredictability of The Skook, where currents can whisk you in any direction, demanded respectful caution from our experienced salty crew.

Gearing up in the snow to enter the Skookumchuck Narrows

With a reassuring smile, Captain Kal dismissed the notion of a toilet bowl experience, where divers are pulled in a circular direction by the currents as if flushed down a toilet. He emphasized that they only dived during an easy drift in the current, which was hard to fathom possible in such treacherous waters. Approaching the narrowest section of the channel, where the current was fastest, Kal’s experienced eyes scanned for the telltale signs of slack tide. Tidal ripples slowed, and we entered the water in the few precious minutes within the next year when it was possible to witness Skookumchuck in all its sunny glory.

The most impressive patch of painted anemones and metridiums in The Skook

As we descended into the underwater world, a mysterious algal bloom cast a dark green haze, unveiling a breathtaking palette of colors below. Bright red and pink anemones, neon orange encrusting sponges, and deep purple ochre sea stars adorned the rocky canvas, showcasing nature’s artistic prowess.

Patches of vibrant life adorn the rocky surfaces

Surrendering to the sea

Descending further, we felt the force of the tide, like a river yet to subside. Gripping onto rock holds and kicking into the current, we felt like underwater rock climbers. Adjusting our underwater camera settings and getting comfortable with the flow of the water, we marveled at the transformation of the underwater landscape. Slabs of rock, once pounded by the current, now hosted a vibrant community of marine life.

When the current picks up, you can only shine a light and watch the life as you drift by

After a mesmerizing twenty minutes of relatively gentle water, the current intensified, signaling the roller coaster drop ahead. We surrendered to neutrality, letting the current guide us along the wall. Boulders and back eddies added a touch of unpredictability; with trust in our abilities and Captain Kal’s promise of a safe pickup, the thrill was exhilarating rather than menacing.

A beautiful Puget Sound king crab

A group of invertebrates are protected from the fast current by a crevice; the rest of the rocks sandblasted clean by the fast water.

As the current ebbed, we found ourselves in a tranquil cove adorned with green sea urchins, marking the end of our underwater odyssey. The Skook had shown us its splendor: a delicate balance of chaos and life beneath the surface – leaving us with memories as vivid as the colors we witnessed.

About the Author

Nirupam Nigam is a dedicated underwater photographer and fisheries scientist. While growing up in Los Angeles, he fell in love with the ocean and pursued underwater photography in the local Channel Islands. He received degrees in Aquatic and Fisheries Science and General Biology, as well as a minor in Arctic Studies, at the University of Washington. After working as a fisheries observer on boats in the Bering Sea and North Pacific, Nirupam became the Editor-in-Chief of the Underwater Photography Guide and the President of Bluewater Photo – the world’s top underwater photo & video retailer. Check out more of his photography at!

US-based divers: explore more close-by dive destinations with Bluewater Dive Travel here.

All photos: Nirupam Nigam

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