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PADI launches new COVID-19 Scuba Diving Status Map to help divers get back in the water

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While life will certainly look a bit different for the foreseeable future, people are still seeking new ways to discover amazing places, both close to home as soon as possible and in far-flung destinations when the times allow. As the effects of COVID-19 spreading and receding from each country evolve, local regulations adapt creating a patchwork of situations making it hard to stay up to date, even for residents in their own community.

PADI has launched its new interactive COVID-19 Scuba Diving Status Map to make it easy for divers to identify in real-time where diving is accessible nearby and anywhere you dream of traveling. This map is a great resource for information on current guidelines, any potential restrictions and special safety precautions in place to help people safely dive in again with their PADI Dive Center or Resort, locally and across the globe.

“As the world continues to struggle with the pandemic, many areas are beginning to cautiously reopen. Depending on the where you are, social distancing and other requirements appropriately remain, but businesses are carefully transitioning back into operation – including dive shops,” said Drew Richardson, President and CEO of PADI in a recent message to the dive community amplifying awareness about the availability of diving. “Although in many areas we’re still waiting to restart, throughout most of the world access to diving is widening. If you’ve not gotten back to your dive shop and the water yet, in most areas you can now or will be able to soon. Thanks to regular updates from the PADI global community, you can see where diving’s open on the PADI COVID-19 Scuba Diving Status Map.

With a simple click or two, divers will gain immediate access to the latest information about diving accessibility and diving restrictions in a particular country, if travel in and out of a country is allowed, if travel within the area is allowed, if PADI Dive Centers and Resorts are open for business and, if so, in what capacity. The map is continually being updated with additional information and current data specific to each country, state/province and dive center worldwide.

The ability to travel may be limited for the time being, but this is no reason to stop people from embarking on new adventures or connecting with the underwater world on World Oceans Day and year-round. Wherever you live, there are waters nearby waiting to be explored – local shores, lakes and quarries shouldn’t be underestimated. Local PADI Dive Centers and Resorts can provide further information on the best local dive sites to explore, special safety precautions they’re taking during these times and how to get involved in local conservation efforts.

Given the fluid nature of restrictions related to this pandemic, the crucial information that drives the PADI COVID-19 Scuba Diving Status Map comes directly from PADI Dive Centers and Resorts. To ensure the information in the map is the most accurate on a local level, PADI is asking its global network of dive centers and resorts to input current data about their business and local dive availability, and regularly update this information to keep divers well informed.

PADI Dive Centers and Resorts: Check your email for a personal link to update information for your area and business. By completing the online form using the unique link and keeping it regularly updated, you will ensure the most accurate information is available to divers and make it easier for them to connect with you.

Check www.padi.com for more!


Source: www.divenewswire.com

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Protecting England’s Wreck Sites: Site Security Protocols Launched

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The security of heritage assets is of the utmost importance; a monetary value cannot be attached to the significance of a site or its associated artefacts. This statement is true for both on land and underwater sites.

The policing of underwater sites however, is often a trickier affair, with out-of-sight often equalling out-of-mind. Unfortunately, a site’s underwater location does not stop thieves from stealing or damaging artefacts.

To aid in the protection of our underwater cultural heritage, a selection of sites of historical, artistic and archaeological importance have been protected by law under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973 (https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/what-is-designation/protected-wreck-sites/). Historic England manage these sites on behalf of the Department of Digital, Culture, Media, Digital and Sport (DCMS), and a team of Licensees, effectively voluntary custodians, play a key role in their ongoing management.

The licensees work tirelessly on the wrecks and have had a special relationship with them since the very first days of the Protection of Wrecks Act. If it wasn’t for them, many of the sites would still be unknown and we would have very little knowledge of many of the existing sites. Their presence on the sites acts as a deterrent to anyone thinking of accessing the sites illegally and their monitoring ensures that the sites are understood and enjoyed by many people.

To further aid in the physical protection of these significant sites, Historic England funded a partnership project between the Protected Wreck Association (PWA https://protectedwrecks.org.uk/) and MSDS Marine (https://msdsmarine.com/). This national-level project has seen the development of Site Security Plans for protected wreck sites. The model developed is based on the highly successful model developed by Ron Howell and the SWMAG team who are Licensees for the Salcombe Cannon and Moor Sands protected wreck sites.

A Site Security Plan is the end result of a process which assesses how secure a site is from illegal access. By completing two very easy to use but highly specialised forms, the site is given:

  • Its own Site Security Champion
  • Its own Heritage Crime Officer in the Police
  • A level of risk of heritage crime occurring to enable appropriate response to be put in place and to allow targeting of resources
  • Quick win opportunities to decrease its level of risk
  • A protocol for the licensees to follow every time they access the site
  • Specialist guidelines to enable crime reporting to enforcement authorities
  • A toolkit consisting of: A High Vis vest, to help identify the Site Security Champion to the public / authorities and pocket-sized card, summarising guidance on reporting crimes.

The project team will be supporting Licensees and their teams in completing a Site Security Plan and Risk Assessment for each Protected Wreck Site. MSDS Marine will be contacting Licensees inviting them to book a slot to work through the process. Individual Licensees and teams can also follow the guidance to complete the documents on their own with MSDS Marine on hand to support as required.

The Site Security Forms are accessible on the Protected Wreck Association website, in the members only area https://protectedwrecks.org.uk/members-area/site-security/ . If you are not a member and would like to join, this is an excellent time, as its free!

Assessing the security of a wreck site will inform Historic England of any sites which are at a high risk of heritage crime, and aid them in the future management of these sites. It will assist Licensees in highlighting areas for concern and in turn offer positive actions that can be taken to reduce the threat. It is hoped that the scheme will help put practical measures in place to ensure that the sites are protected from illegal activity in future.

Alison James, Project Manager at MSDS Marine said: “I spent ten years working at Historic England managing England’s protected wreck sites and at times was incredibly frustrated by being unable to ‘police’ the sites. The model we have developed is based on the highly successful model developed by SWMAG which has been shown to work on a number of occasions. We hope this will make a real difference to the sites and the teams that work on them.”

Professor Mike Williams, Chair of the Protected Wreck Association said: “We are delighted and grateful that Historic England has funded this project. It will enable us to undertake valuable work to support our members, who are dedicated volunteers protecting our maritime heritage.”

Hefin Meara, Marine Archaeologist at Historic England said: “We are pleased to support this important project and recognise the enormous contribution that licensed volunteer divers are making to help protect England’s fascinating marine historic environment.”

For more information please visit www.ProtectedWrecks.org.uk , www.MSDSMarine.co.uk, and www.historicengland.org.uk.

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Marine Life & Conservation Blogs

Take an immersive dive below the waves off the Welsh coast using 360 VR: Seagrass Meadows (Watch Video)

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A week-long series from Jake Davies…

Below the waves off the Welsh coast, there are a range of species and habitats that can be seen. However, you don’t have to venture too far from the shore to see them or don’t have to leave the comfort of your home. Using 360 videos provides an immersive feeling of being below the water and encountering many species and habitats from diving one of the most important habitats and species that aren’t often seen whilst diving. For more of an experience of being below the waves, the VR videos can be viewed using a VR headset.

Take a calming VR dive at one of the largest and densest seagrass meadow found along the Welsh coast, located at Porthdinllaen in North West Wales.

Seagrass meadows are important habitats as they provide a range of ecosystem services from carbon sequestration, production of Oxygen, coastal protection and act as a nursery area for many commercial fish species such as plaice and cod. Seagrass also help to improve water quality within the region as seagrass blades (leaves) help to trap particles within the water column, often making them great sites to dive in at due to increased visibility.


Follow Jake aka JD Scuba on the YouTube channel @Don’t Think Just Blog.

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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 john@thescubaplace.co.uk

www.thescubaplace.co.uk

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