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RAID Release Whale Shark Specialty Course



RAID logo 2RAID in partnership with Sharklife has announced the release of the RAID Whale Shark Specialty program, which the training agency says “is a very innovative way of looking at shark species”.

Traditionally most training agencies focus on sharks in general; Sharklife and RAID however will release individual shark specialities that identify each species’ unique characteristics.

Another unique feature is that this Specialty can be taken by certified divers, accomplished snorkelers and freedivers alike; it is a courses for all people.

The aim of the Whale Shark Specialty

This course is designed to introduce divers & snorkelers to the whale shark species by helping people develop an understanding and knowledge of whale shark biology and behaviour. Students will learn techniques for diving with whale sharks which is an important environmental aspect of diving with these animals.

The course also includes a conservation section which focuses on the threats facing whale sharks and their conservation status.

What are the academic sections?

The courses have two manuals to cover the academic and practical open water section of training.

  • Whale Shark Speciality
  • Whale shark taxonomy and classification
  • Whale shark distribution and habitats
  • Whale shark biology
  • Whale shark behaviour
  • Threats to whale sharks

Open Water:  Practical components included

  • Estimating size
  • Verify sex
  • Whale Shark behaviour and swimming patterns

Who may teach this speciality?

A RAID Shark Speciality Instructor

What are the links with other programs?

There are no direct links to other programs, however this specialty is associated with the Sharklife & RAID Ragged Tooth Sand Tiger Shark Specialty. Both build awareness and educate people about sharks.

Can we credit dives if done as electives?

It will be up to the Whale Shark Specialty Instructor whether to credit dives or not. In some cases, the Instructor may want to complete all dives for practice and to provide a full program. This is recommended by RAID as the practical in water experience after completing the academic knowledge development will be fully appreciated.

Dive stores could decide to run the Whale Shark Specialty in conjunction with Explorer 30 or Advanced 35. Remember that RAID has requirement for mastery rather than simply completion of dives.

Run your Whale Shark program with an organised trip

As a dive centre you may want to organise a trip to a known area for sighting of whale sharks and combine this with the training. Generally, the operators of these areas will be well versed in operations around the animals and will appreciate divers who have taken the time to learn more. This can be rewarding for the students and financially better for the dive centre.

Instructor ratings for Whale Shark Specialty explained

Sharklife and RAID have identified that RAID Divemasters and level 4 divers as well as RAID Instructors may apply to become a RAID Shark Speciality Instructor.

Sharklife and RAID have not (to date) identified any other agency who may have a similar RAID Shark Speciality Instructor rating other than present Sharklife Shark Instructors. Any persons who have a Shark Instructor certification through Sharklife may cross over without any up-date.

How does a RAID Divemaster or Instructor become a Shark Speciality Instructor?

The Process:

  • Obtain the Sharklife /RAID Shark Instructor course.
  • Complete all theory, questions and exam.
  • Contact regional office for sign off.

You will be required to prove (documentation) that you have experience diving or leading dives/groups with sharks and/ or provide a certification of a similar nature. The intent is to confirm that as a Shark Speciality Instructor you have the relevant experience/expertise to lead persons in a safe environment in conditions which you are accustom to.

It is not the intent that this certification (Shark Speciality Instructor) will provide you the license to lead persons into any environment for which one is not experienced, as described or included in the respective guide lines in the respective Shark Speciality courses. It does not cover the feeding of any Sharks and is not intended to certify any person (Instructor or student) to be in the water / environment where there is any shark feeding.

Once certified as a RAID Shark Speciality Instructor, you will be qualified to teach any of RAID’s Shark Speciality programs automatically, as and when the training agency launches them. Presently they are

  • Ragged Tooth Sand Tiger Shark Speciality
  • Whale Shark Speciality

Contact your RAID Regional Office now to upgrade to Shark Specialty Instructor.

Photo by Tam Warner Minton


Frontline workers honoured with free dive trip to Yap



The remote island of Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia is among the few places in the world that remains free of Covid-19 thanks to its ocean border and a strict travel ban that has kept its residents safe.

Nonetheless, Yap has been affected, too. As one of the world’s premier, award-winning destinations for divers, this paradisiacal location in the western Pacific Ocean has had no outside visitors to its rich shores and reef for nearly a year. But while there may be no virus, the island hasn’t been cut off from the economic impact experienced around the globe.

Manta Ray Bay Resort and Yap Divers by A. Tareg

That didn’t stop Bill Acker, CEO and founder of the Manta Ray Bay Resort and Yap Divers, from doing something, though.

Last March, soon after the island went into lockdown, Bill began to realize the effect of the virus on daily life beyond the island. “Yes, we are closed, have no divers, had to send our employees home and prepare for difficult times,” he said. “But we’re lucky in that we have, for the most part, avoided the human suffering and death this pandemic has caused.”

Thinking about the problems faced by his family business, they paled when he compared them to those endured by the healthcare workers who have been fighting selflessly around the clock for months on end for the well-being and lives of others.

“One evening, while checking the news online, I saw pictures of frontline workers who were tending to desperately ill and dying people when families and friends could not be with their loved ones. It was heartbreaking,” he added.

The next day, a meeting was held with the resort’s staff and Bill invited suggestions for ways they could do something to honor healthcare workers. The result was the idea to award twenty divers who are working on the frontline to save other’s lives during this pandemic while risking their own, with a free week at the resort.

Manta ray, Manta birostris, gliding over a cleaning station in M’il Channel, Yap, Micronesia by David Fleetham

Divers around the world who had been guests at Manta Ray Bay in the past were invited to submit the names of candidates for the award by December 31, 2020. “We received nominations for 126 individuals from as far away as Germany, the U.S., Australia and Canada,” he said. “It was not easy choosing the winners but our committee of staff members took on the job and selected the 20 finalists.”

“While trying to choose the people to reward for their hard work during this Covid-19 crisis,” Bill added, “by reading the nominations we saw that every one of the nominees was doing things above and beyond the call of duty. Sadly, we don’t have the finances to offer over 100 free weeks in Yap, but we do want to recognize the contributions all of them are making to our world. So, we are offering the rest of the nominees a free week of diving in Yap which includes room, hotel tax, airport transfers, breakfast, diving and Wi-Fi.  The only requirement is that they travel with at least three other people and stay in two rooms or more.”

“We do not yet know when Yap will open its borders,” said Bill, “but when it does, we will welcome these important guests to Yap to relax and dive with the manta rays and the other beautiful denizens of the ocean surrounding our island home. They are the true heroes of this devastating, historic time and we look forward to honoring them with a well-deserved dive vacation.”

Watch out for our exclusive trip report from a healthcare worker from the UK who is one of the 20 to have been awarded this amazing dive trip!

For more information on Manta Ray Bay and Yap Divers visit their website by clicking here.

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Dream Dive Locker Build Out. Part I: Demolition (Watch Video)



It’s finally here! Time to start building the greatest dive locker the world has ever seen! Part I: Demolition! #dreamdivelocker

This is the first of a series of videos showing the evolution of building out my dream dive locker. My dream dive locker needs to be dive gear drying and storage, dry storage, workshop, office, editing suite, You Tube studio and classroom. That’s a lot of functions for a small space!

The first step is planning out the space and demolishing the laminate flooring. Then I taped up the walls to get a feel for the space. We have a lot of work to do!

But finally we will have a purpose built space to house all of our dive equipment! Subscribe to our channel to follow our progress! 

Thanks for watching, Team!


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This is the perfect start to your 2021 diving season… and at an incredible lead-in price of just £885 per person.

Jump on board the latest addition to the Emperor fleet and enjoy diving the famous sites of the Red Sea with this fantastic special offer. This itinerary takes in the wonderful South & St Johns from 26 February – 05 March 2021.  

Subject to availability – limited flight seats at this price so don't delay!

Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email to book your spot!

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