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Oyster Diving’s PADI Specialty Of The Month: Boat Diver



I have many fond memories about the goings on the dive boats I’ve used in the last 15 years, and the people I’ve met on them; it’s not all about what’s underwater, it’s the banter and lifestyle that goes on before and after the dive too. I’ve met Caribbean Skippers who are so laid back that they are barely breathing (I’m not sure if there wasn’t some herbal substance involved), dive guides who are reminiscent of a famous Fascist leader and divers from all walks of life who are interesting, fun and witty. Without dive boats I’d have missed out on many of these colourful characters, including ‘Dry Suit Ken’.

I’d say that 90% of all the fun dives I’ve done have been from a boat. To me you can’t beat a Liveaboard where you wake up in the morning and you’re already at the dive site with the added benefit that the ‘day boats’ haven’t even left port yet. Through blurred eyes you don your kit and plunge in to the cool refreshing water – is there any better way to wake yourself up?

Boat diving tends to be much simpler than diving from the shore as you don’t generally have to haul your kit long distances, worry about surge and the boat can drop you off right on top of the dive site. If you’ve ever had to carry a steel tank as well as your dive kit in the midday sun to the Blue Hole in Gozo, then you’ll know what I’m talking about!

There are lots of different types of dive boats too. These go from small inflatables (RIBs), speedboats, and converted trawlers to large luxury Liveaboard boats mentioned above. Each of them has different considerations and dive procedures that can even change from area to area.

The PADI Boat Diver Specialty is ideal for novice divers or those with little or no boat diving experience. The course will increase your knowledge from diving safely from boats and includes boat terminology, procedures for entering and exiting the water, how and where to stow your gear and where the safety equipment is located.

To complete the course there is some basic theory and 2 open water boat dives which can all be completed in as little as a day.

Oyster Diving are running a boat diving day in Shoreham-by-Sea on the 29th August where the course can be completed. Shoreham is located close to Brighton in the UK so is easy to reach from London and other areas in the South East. Their boat for the day, Buccaneer, is a hard bottom boat that can comfortably accommodate 10 divers and their kit. There are many local dive sites close to Brighton which include many wrecks and reefs. The last trip in July had decent 7-10m viz which surprised many of the warm water divers who decided to join the boat for the day. They were also pleasantly surprised by the variety and abundance of marine life.

Oyster Diving are offering £20 off their next PADI Boat Diving specialty course on 29th August. You can find more details on the trip here. To sign up to the course you can BOOK NOW using the code ‘20offboatdiver’.

Having worked as a Dive Instructor in the Virgin Islands, Thailand and Egypt, Mark returned to the UK in 2006 when he founded Oyster Diving. His principle aims for the new diving centre would be to appeal to the more discerning customer by offering the best facilities, having an integrated travel agency so customers can complete their dives abroad as well as in the UK. In 2010 Mark won Sport Diver magazines' 'Best Diving Instructor'. For more information on Oyster Diving, visit


Scubaverse UWP Winners Gallery: Christian Horras



Each month we give the winner of the Scubaverse Underwater Photography competition the opportunity to show off a little more of their work in a gallery. The March winner was Christian Horras and you can see their winning image at the top of this page.

What do you love about diving & underwater photography?

For me it is all about showing the beauty of our world underwater to people that don’t dive and thus can’t see it for themselves. I want to share my own passion for the amazing ecosystem that is so much older than everything we know living on land. As I am from Germany, there are only a few people in my surroundings that have ever seen a coral reef or a shark with their own eyes. It is a big privilege to be able to go diving all over the world and in return it should be our task to arise awareness of this fragile and endangered ecosystem.

What equipment do you use?

I use a Nikon D810 in a Isotta Housing and various lenses, depending on the subject: a Sigma 15mm F2.8 Fisheye, a Nikon 16-35 mm F4 and two Nikon Macro lenses (60mm and 105mm), as well as a WeeFine +13 Diopter. The Fisheye is my main lens, as it allows me to get really close and still cover a big field of view. For lighting I use two Retra Pro Strobes and a Retra Snoot.

Where can our readers see more of your work?


To enter the latest Scubaverse Underwater Photography competition, with a chance to win some great prizes as well as have your own gallery published, head over to the competition page and upload up to 3 images.

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Emperor Divers reaches halfway in Covid Diver Heroes Initiative with fourth award



Emperor Divers have reached the halfway point with their #coviddiverheroes initiative and are still receiving worthy nominations every day! Here, they recognise their 4th winner, another awesome hero from the diving community with an inspirational story of selflessness through the pandemic. Nominated by David White, Phuong Cao wins a free liveaboard trip in the Maldives when she can finally take some time off, and here is her story:

I, David White, would like to nominate Phuong Cao (36) for her tireless efforts fighting this pandemic. Not satisfied with being a frontline hospitalist in New York she took a second job on the COVID team in Guam to treat patients under even tougher conditions on her weeks off! She continues to commute 7750 miles each way and apply herself to both jobs for three months already and counting. Her energy level has no limits and she’s only happy when those in her care are on the mend. I think she definitely deserves a break! I guess the Maldives would be the best choice for her as I know she has dived with you in the Red Sea already.

Phuong Cao

We have been in touch with Phuong who had this to say: “Wow what a surprise! Thank you for the recognition. Holding my breath until I get back underwater!”

The halfway point is a good chance to remind people that the initiative is still running and the Emperor Divers team would love to hear about more heroes, as there are four more to award in the next 2 months!

Do you know a diver who has been heroic this past year? Emperor know that, worldwide, people have had to step up during this pandemic which has affected so many lives. They want to reward some real heroes with free liveaboard trips in the Red Sea or Maldives.

Luke Atkinson, Emperor’s Red Sea Manager, said: “This initiative is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to all those hundreds of people who have taken a selfless interest in looking after the vulnerable in their community. Examples could include healthworkers, carers or those who have come out of retirement to volunteer locally, but really we know there are many other ways people have been heroic.“

Emperor want to hear from people who know a heroic diver who would love to have a free liveaboard trip to look forward to in the future. People need to nominate a Covid Hero Diver and tell Emperor (in 100 – 200 words) why they deserve a free trip, and whether they would prefer the Red Sea or the Maldives. A multinational panel of Emperor’s most loyal and compassionate staff will judge the entries and pick a winner every 2 weeks for the next 2 months. There are two remaining Red Sea and two more Maldives liveaboards to be earned, so get nominating and give that hero a reward for their amazing work!

Winners will be announced by 14th (Maldives) and 28th (Red Sea) of each month. Final entries for Red Sea by 20th May ‘21 and Maldives 5th June ’21.

Entries, comments and questions should be sent to

Terms & Conditions apply: Please contact for details.

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Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

Strong currents and deep blue water are the catalysts that bring the pelagic species flocking to these reefs. The reefs themselves provide exquisite homes for a multitude of marine life.  The wafting soft corals are adorned with thousands of colourful fish. The gorgonian fans and hard corals provide magnificent back drops, all being patrolled by the reef’s predatory species.

£1475 per person based on double occupancy.  Soft all inclusive board basis, buffet meals with snacks, tea and coffee always available.  Add a week on at Roots Red Sea Resort before or after the liveaboard for just £725pp.  Flights and transfers are included.  See our brochure linked above for the full itinerary.

This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

Call 020 3515 9955 or email

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